neighbour dispute

Spurs reserves vs. Arsenal reserves  2.5.2001

When a reserve game is played at White Hart Lane with entry free, it is not usual for it to be well attended.  About 200 at the most usually bother to turn up.  So, for this local derby, the gates had to be shut as there was a capacity crowd ... well, about 300+ filled the area they opened to the right of the tunnel in the West Stand. 

Many of the familiar faces were there, both on and off the pitch, but it was a bit disconcerting when Johnny Jackson started warming up with the Arsenal side !!  Had he gone over to the dark side ??  Had the teams exchanged Jermaine (and to the point) Pennant before the match ?? No, it was just a means of re-acquainting himself with those on the other side from the England Under 18 set-up.  Spurs fielded a decidedly young side, with the Arsenal side benefiting from the inclusion of some first teamers; namely, Danilevicius (whose passport entitled him to enter White Hart Lane apparently), Manninger and Matthew Upson.  Spurs had Walker Piercy and Etherington, who would just about be known to the majority of Spurs fans.

The game started of well for Spurs, with Ferguson failing to take the ball around Manninger when one on one, before Dave McEwen hit a volley past the Arsenal keeper from about five yards from Matty's left wing cross.  It was a crisp finish and put Spurs ahead after 10 minutes.  The rest of the first half was spent battling out the match in midfield.  Spurs were scrapping well, with Piercy getting through a lot of work and the Spurs players who were involved in the Under-19 trip to Bristol the night before were also standing up well to the tough task.  Etherington was causing some problems down the left for Canoville, while Kamanan was also holding the ball up well against a strong Arsenal defence.  Walker's goal was only really threatened once in the first half, when a free-kick whistled past his post with him nonchalantly looking on.

The Spurs keeper was tested further in the second half, when Eddie Niedzwiecki (the former Chelsea goalkeeper, who now manages the Arsenal reserves), must have urged them to greater efforts.  That or Gooner substitute Rohan Ricketts must have eaten all the half-time oranges and annoyed his team-mates !!  Spurs were restricted to breakaways, but still did enough to worry Manninger as Etherington and McEwen both went close.  However, Walker had to be on his toes to save very well from long range shots that came from the boots of Mendez and Danilevicius.  In midfield, Demel (a strapping young lad, who looked like he was a body builder) was substituted as he was getting a bit narked with Piercy, who was getting the better of him.  Having repelled the Arsenal surge, Spurs played the ball about nicely and on one break Jackson fed Piercy, who just couldn't force the ball past the opposition goalie.  With Hillier being hit late by an Arsenal man who got a yellow card for his trouble, he eventually went off and was replaced by James Quilter.  George Snee came on for Piercy, who having been booked and put everything into the match, deserved a break, but we were not treated to the delightfully named Ghyslain Vedeux (literally translated meaning "Ghyslain V2") nor the Arsenal sub, Jeremie Aliadiere (literally translated meaning "Jeremy The Ladder").  Bet he's good at corners !!

Anyway, Theo Foley maintained his good record with the reserves since he took over from Chris Hughton and with a return against the same opponent's next week, there will be a familiar look to the contest.  On leaving the ground, Glenn Hoddle had chosen exactly the wrong time to leave the safety of the West Stand administrative offices, just as the crowd were flooding out.  We wandered off into the night as he was swamped with requests for autographs and photos.  Was he really working that late as a dedicated manager should ?  Or, had he just decided to come out at that time to show the fans that he was working late, while really he hadn't spent the whole day in the office/Spurs Lodge ??  I like to think the former was true and that he is doing everything possible to return Spurs to their rightful place (whatever that may be).

A few minutes earlier, as we heard the final whistle blow, the saddest  sight was that of the fourth official traipsing off down the tunnel, his limited duties done.  Yes, the return of Mr. P. Gascoigne to White Hart Lane was very low key indeed.

Marco van Hip

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