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Villa thriller for Academy

Posted on 21 February 2009  - 12:00

Ryan Mason struck in the final seconds to secure a 4-4 draw for our Under-18s in a key game against Aston Villa on Saturday - just 20 hours after seven of the team landed back in the UK from our UEFA Cup tie in Ukraine.

Villa thriller for Academy

Ryan Mason struck in the final seconds to secure a 4-4 draw for our Under-18s in a key game against Aston Villa on Saturday - just 20 hours after seven of the team landed back in the UK from our UEFA Cup tie in Ukraine.

Eight members of the Academy travelled to Shakhtar Donetsk for Thursday night's last 32, first leg with Dean Parrett making a successful debut and John Bostock appearing as a late substitute.

Having landed at 3am on Friday morning, the lads were ready for action again for an 11am kick-off at Spurs Lodge and a top of the table clash in the FA Premier Academy League - only Parrett, who played the full 90 minutes in Ukraine, was left out of the side.

We've lost just once all season yet the quality of Villa's squad is underlined by the fact that if they'd have won on Saturday, they would have leapfrogged us at the top of Group B of the FAPAL.

That looked the likely outcome when, in a thrilling contest at Spurs Lodge, Villa took a 4-3 lead in the 89th minute but the lads found the resolve to equalise two minutes into injury time when Mason converted from Adam Smith's cross.

Goals after 25 and 40 minutes put Villa in the driving seat but the lads responded in the second half with goals from Andros Townsend (60 minutes) and a double from Jon Obika (65, 70) to take a 3-2 lead.

Villa hit back again to level at 3-3 after 78 minutes before the late goals left it at 4-4.

"It was a massive game for us and that's what it's all about," said coach Alex Inglethorpe.

"Just look at the first team's schedule in the next fortnight and that's what the lads have to aspire to - we can't protect them from that sort of schedule and Dean Parrett was the only player not involved against Villa.

"We actually started well but found ourselves 2-0 down at half-time, Villa's finishing was clinical.

"We went at them in the second half and got on top, went 3-2 up and could have made it 4-2. Then it turned around again, Villa equalised with about 10 minutes left and the scored in the last minute.

"In the final few seconds Adam Smith got down the right and Ryan Mason finished well.

"It's an obvious thing to say, but ultimately matches are won by the team who wants to win the most - our determination not to get beaten was there for all to see and in the final seconds we found a way to score an equaliser.

"You have to admire the lads' spirit and resolve."

Spurs U18s: Jansson, Smith, Cox, Kasim, Caulker, Butcher, M'poku, Bostock, Obika, Mason, Townsend. Unused subs: Butler, Ekim, Nicholson, Jack.