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Lads impress in Japan draw

Our Academy produced a fine display to draw with the Japanese national side in the Dallas Cup on Monday.

Our Academy produced a fine display to draw with the Japanese national side in the Dallas Cup on Monday.

Coach Alex Inglethorpe described the performance as 'outstanding' against a Japan team that looked the part in beating Mexican side Tigres on Sunday.

Under-16 player Jack Bartram entered the fray for injured Anton Blackwood in the 20th minute and played his part in the goal as we took the lead in the first half.

Japan hit back in the second half, levelled after 55 minutes and looked set to push on but the lads recovered to create the better chances as it finished in a 1-1 draw.

Alex reported: "We watched Japan on the Sunday and they looked a highly-technical side and we actually changed our shape a little, and we don't do that against many teams.

"We started well and created the better chances in the first half. Jack Bartram came on when Anton Blackwood picked up a hamstring injury and he crossed for our goal, Nathan Byrne headed it back for Jesse Waller-Lassen to score from close range.

"Nathan had another chance later in the half and we were delighted to go in 1-0 up. It was a complete first half performance.

"We expected Japan to come out strong and they equalised 10 minutes into the second half when Sugimoto rolled a defender in the penalty area and scored.

"We managed to regain control though and that was the most pleasing thing because we're a comparitively young side out here and could have crumbled.

"Instead, we got back on top, Tom Carroll hit the post and Kudus Oyenuga should perhaps have scored with 10 minutes left with a header from a free-kick.

"It was a game that required far more concentration than we normally experience and given the level of experience of some of the players I thought we handled it well."

The result means we are level with Japan on four points at the top of Group C of the 'Super Group' with one game to play against Tigres on Wednesday. Japan beat Tigres on Sunday and face Dallas Texans on Wednesday. Only the group winners progress to the semi-finals.

Spurs: Jansson, Blackwood (Bartram, 20), Francis-Angol (Pritchard, 60), Cox, Durojaiye, Butcher, Nicholson, Carroll, Byrne, M'poku, Waller-Lassen (Oyenuga, 70).

With thanks to MATTHEW VISINSKY for the on the arrows above...

Nathan Byrne v Japan