Town take upper hand
Ipswich Town 2Tottenham Hotspur 0IPSWICH Town Youths will take a 2-0 lead to White Hart Lane on Wednesday for the second leg of the FA Youth Cup semi-final, writes David Vincent.
Ipswich Town 2
Tottenham Hotspur 0
IPSWICH Town Youths will take a 2-0 lead to White Hart Lane on Wednesday for the second leg of the FA Youth Cup semi-final, writes David Vincent.
It could and perhaps should have been more if some of the sparkling approach play was rewarded with the further goals they deserved.
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But at just 2-0 Spurs will retain some hopes of pulling it back.
Though Town's performance never quite reached the heights of their wins over Aston Villa and Colchester United in previous rounds, there were long periods of fluent, one-touch passing play which had the 4,000-strong crowd in raptures.
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There were times when they cheered every pass of blue shirt to blue shirt. It was a surprise it was only 1-0 by half time due to some wayward shooting.
There were periods of panic in the visitors' defence at times but it held out until the 28th minute when Ipswich lad Liam Trotter, who only joined the club at the start of the season, opened his account.
Earlier Owen Garvan had looked to set up Billy Clarke, but he had been forced wide by the visitors' large centre-half, but in the next attack a defence-splitting pass played in Darryl Knights and his shot cannoned off a defender for an Ipswich corner. Skipper Liam Craig took it himself and it was headed behind by a defender.
The second corner was also headed clear but the ball returned to Craig, still out on the right wing. He bent his cross back in and Clarke's cushioned header teed it up nicely for Trotter to score close in past Spurs keeper Tommy Forecast.
The dangerous Clarke and Knights were on the end of Town's best passing moves but until then the visitors had held out.
Spurs threatened themselves when they got the ball wide and crossed in and Blues keeper Shane Supple had to produce smart saves to deny Charlie Daniels and Andy Barcham. And Barcham should have done better with a free header from 10 yards which was off target.
The second half started with Spurs having territorial advantage but the Ipswich defence held firm and gradually Town got on top again.
The Blues' fluency and movement really began to show again, though few clear chances on goal were produced.
Gradually the pressure began to tell on the visitors when Knights' cross almost twisted in at the far post.
Craig saw a couple of dangerous crosses cleared and then a great move between Knights and Clarke teed up Cathal Lordan again in front of goal and his 25-yarder was just over the bar.
Craig sliced another effort wide after receiving a pass from Trotter. Then Trotter volleyed wide after great passing between Garvan and Clarke.
After 70 minutes Clarke looked up and attempted to chip the keeper from 40 yards but it went just over the bar. More opportunities came and went for Town but the second goal that they deserved arrived after 75 minutes.
Another good passing move from the back saw Sammy Moore passing in from the right, a clever step over by Knights wrong-footing the defence and Clarke curling a 30-yarder past the Spurs keeper.
It was no more than he deserved for a great performance. Town could have made it three before the end as Garvan shot from 40 yards.
And almost on time Knights pulled his shot wide from the penalty box after being set up by Clarke. Town will hope that two goals is enough to go through to the final.
But as in the away leg of a European tie, it wouldn't do to bet against these Ipswich kids scoring an away goal.
Ipswich Town: Supple, Moore, Synnott, Trotter, Collins, Casement, Lordan, Knights, Clarke, Garvan and Craig. Subs: Hammond, Reynolds, Ainsley, Sheringham and Haynes.
Tottenham Hotspur: Forecast, Ifil, Wright, Lewis, Mills, Lee, Maghoma, Dorkins (sub Davis, 70mins), Barcham, O'Hara and Daniels. Subs: Riley, Holloway, Fenl and Archibald-Henville.
Refereee: Mr P Crossley.