|Getting to Barnet (after leaving work late)
just as it started raining was an indication that things were not going
to go as planned. Having walked down from the cinema where I
parked my car, there was the sound of shouts from inside the ground and
when instructed by AFC stewards (aaargghh) to go round to the main
entrance, I could see through the gaps in the gates, that the game had
I was surprised to find that the gates
were open and entry was free (most unlike the Gooners). There was
a healthy crowd of a good thousand or so located around the
ground. As it had started to come down a bit heavier, I was among
a large group of fans of both sides who were making their way to the
covered terracing from the open ones.
On walking behind the goal, I spied a
couple of Japanese girls in the horrible beige Gooner away shirt.
Then a couple more Oriental types in Gooner shirts. It was then
that I realised that most of the Japanese population of North London had
turned out to see one of their own - Inamato - in an Arsenal shirt.
When I got inside, I suddenly realised
that I had not turned up to see Spurs reserves take on their
counterparts of Arsenal, but the virtual Arsenal first XI. I
spotted Keown, Bergkamp, Kanu, Grimandi, Parlour, Stepanovs and
Lauren. For Tottenham, there were a couple of players I had never
seen before !!
To say it was boys against men was a
massive understatement, as I was informed Spurs' Academy players were
already 0-2 down. Kanu had scored one; Bergkamp the other and
within five minutes of me getting settled on the terrace, Bergkamp had
missed twice, Parlour blasted over (as he always seems to do, thank
goodness) twice and Kanu then took on Lee Barnard in the box. The
Nigerian used his experience to get the youngster to challenge and made
a fall as they linked arms. The ref also fell ... for it and
pointed to the spot. Gavin Kelly didn't have a chance from the
Spurs went in to turn around 0-3 down and having been given a bit of a
chasing, but the second half had them playing down the hill and they
gave it a bit of a go.
Ferguson's pace was causing Upson some
trouble and he got a really good low shot in before half time and just
failed to connect with a couple of crosses from Etherington in the
second. The best chance of the game for Spurs fell to him, but he
dwelt on the ball - taking an extra touch - allowing the Gooner goalie
to rush out to block his shot.
Matty got into his stride near the end
and took his man on regularly, providing some crosses that caused panic
in the Arsenal defence, but it was the home side that wrapped up the
scoring with a goal from the Japanese golden boy, who shot high past
Kelly after being set up by Kanu.
Kelly did well to keep out a ferocious
drive from Bergkamp from 20 yards and Kanu curled the ball wide when
trying to complete his hat trick.
The second half showed that the Spurs
side, denuded of their more experienced players, did show some battling
spirit, especially when the tackles started to fly and a couple of
yellow cards were dished out to the white shirted players.
Sherwood was disappointing as much should have revolved around him,
although he did try and marshal the troops. Not sure where the
thigh strain he picked up came from. He hardly got above a trot
all game !! It was a bit of an indictment that he looked bad in a
Ronnie Henry and Steven Kelly formed the
central defensive pairing and although unused to playing against the
type of forward they were up against, they stuck at it and did a
reasonable job. Jackson and Piercy tried hard, while Ferguson and
Kamanan didn't really have much service as the traffic was all the other
It must be hoped that when there is
another international week, Spurs do not get more call ups than Arsenal
- that says a lot about the quality of the Tottenham squad !!
Arsenal: Stack, Lauren (Oats 45), Upson (Chilvers
78), Grimandi, Keown (c), Stepanovs, Parlour, Inamoto, Kanu, Bergkamp,
Subs not used: Holloway, Barrett, Itonga.
Tottenham: G Kelly, Consorti, Jackson, Henry, S Kelly, Piercy,
(Bowditch 71), Sherwood, Ferguson (Marney 80), Kamaman, Etherington.
Subs not used: Jalal, Herron, Quilter.
Benny The Ball