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Match Report - Tottenham Hotspur Under 19 v Liverpool U19 - 31 Aug 2002

U18 Academy South

Our under-19 Academy side fell to a 3-2 home defeat to Liverpool on Saturday after a highly entertaining game at Spurs Lodge.

Steven Gillespie shot the vistors into the lead on 16 minutes, sparking an immediate response for Spurs with Jamie Slabber heading home Marcel McKie's cross from the left.

Pat Holland's side grew in stature after the leveller and on 23 minutes took the lead. A rasping shot from Mark Yeates was superbly saved by Liverpool keeper Tim Dittmer, but the ball fell loose in the penalty area and, after a goalmouth scramble, Slabber slotted home for his second.

Confidence was high for the remainder for the remainder of the half and Dean Marney and Mario Noto were becoming increasingly influential.

However, just before the break keeper Rob Burch was very alert to the danger when Gillespie sprang the Spurs offside and went one on one - Burch showed good strong hands down at the striker's feet.

Shortly after the interval Liverpool levelled when a cross from the right was swept in by Mark Smyth and worse was to follow two minutes later.

A diagonal run by Gillespie split the Spurs defence and, as Burch advanced from his line, the striker lofted the ball over him and into the net.

John Sutton entered play and came close on a couple of occasions to levelling the score - one effort was cleared off the line and a shot flashed just wide.

Spurs kept piling on the pressure and a Jonathan Black volley was just over and Slabber missed out on a hat-trick when denied by Dittmer after being set clear.

Pat Holland agreed that the boys was somewhat unfortunate to take nothing, points-wise, from the game.

"It was a game of different spells for me," he reflected. "As I walked out I thought Liverpool looked a bit brighter than us, we were a little bit erratic at the back.

"The first goal, for me, I felt it was on its way. Then we picked up again and had a terrific spell, we got the two goals and looked like we would go on and get more.

"At half-time I asked them to be defensively more sound, we gave them one or two little chances that could have resulted in goals.

"But then again, in the second half, we didn't start particularly well. I wasn't contemplating making a couple of changes, didn't, then they scored the goals and I bought John Sutton on. I thought he had a good game when he came on.

"We then had three terrific chances, they headed one off the line and John should have scored.

"If I look at the game overall, I think it was definitely three points lost.

"They are a young side though, young in terms of physique compared to last year. Liverpool are a big side in terms of height and I think that's why we need to bolster them with the third years.

"The more I look at it, this year's team are very young, and might need a few of the older boys to come back and help us out a little bit."