Stevenage Borough   0    Tottenham Hotspur   3      (Half-time score : 0-1)
Friendly Venue :   Broadhall Way
Saturday 9th July 2005 Kick Off :  15.00 p.m.
Crowd :   7,000 (according to the SBFC website !!) Referee :   Mr. P. Taylor
Weather :   Warm, sunny
Teams : - 
Stevenage Borough :

Julian (Gore 46)

Warner (Schillachi)
Henry (Webster)
Hocking (Quinn)
Gregory (Stewart)

Boyd (Sullivan)
Williams  (Weatherstone)
Bulman (Brough)
Burquez (Perpetuini 46)

Elding (Nurse 46)
Maamria (Stamp 46)

Tottenham Hotspur :

Cerny  (Fulop 46)

Marney  (Kelly 46)
Davenport
  (Bunjevcevic 46)
Huddlestone  (
Dawson 46)
Jackson  (
Edman 46)

Yeates  (Reid 46)
Carrick  (Mendes 46)
Tainio  (El Hamdaoui 46)
Lennon  (Routledge 46)

Kanoute  (Mido 46)
Keane  (Defoe 46)

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Stevenage Borough Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Stevenage Borough

None 

Tottenham Hotspur

Kanoute 44
Mido 
Defoe 83

Cards : -  
Stevenage Borough

   

None    

     

Tottenham Hotspur

   

None   

     

Match Report : -  
Maybe as the years go on, the weather gets hotter for the first pre-season match and the gap between the last time you saw the team play in the season just passed and the first time you see them play in a new season gets ever shorter.

At Broadhall Way, the sun shone and we saw a new Spurs side (or should I say two new Spurs sides) from the one that left the pitch after playing Blackburn at the Lane.  What we did see was an energetic and youthful line-up that showed that they can play football on the floor and in the brief moments they sparked into life in this summer stroll, they might pose some problems for Premiership opponents in 2005-06.

Amongst the 22 Tottenham players on view were new-comers Teemu Tainio, Aaron Lennon, Wayne Routledge and Tom Huddlestone, who all impressed on their first outings in a (new) Spurs kit.  The rest who featured were well-known faces, but missing from the line-ups were Ledley King, Noureddine Naybet, Anthony Gardner, Thimothee Atouba, Reto Ziegler, Paul Stalteri, Paul Robinson, Michael Brown and Sean Davis, who all will be expected to turn out for the first team this season, unless they are sold before then (in Gardner and Atouba's cases).  Even though these were mix and match elevens, the first half and the second half teams showed they have enough talent in them to ensure our squad is now deep.

The game was nothing less than a stroll in the sun for Tottenham, to shake some of the close-season cobwebs off their limbs.  A gentle run in the sun.  As for Stevenage, they took it all a bit too seriously, with Berquez living up to his name with a number of rash challenges and an unhealthy attitude that means he will be a refs favourite for the book this season.  Ronnie Henry, formerly of Spurs reserves, was at the heart of the Boro defence and did well, while sometimes going through players from behind, but he will be a good player at the Conference level.  As for the rest, George Boyd showed some good touches and the lanky Stamp made an impression on our defence.

For Tottenham, they started the game with Lennon cutting up the right wing.  His crossing was not quite dangerous enough to trouble Julian most of the time, but the lack of match sharpness not only affected him, but Kanoute and Keane, who he set up, but both dallied and the shooting opportunities were lost.  It was clear that Martin Jol is still working on the set-pieces during the summer, as one was pulled square by Carrick and then laid off to Marney by Keane.  Dean struck the ball well, but a defender blocked it swiftly.

The closest Spurs came to a goal was in the 20th minute, when Keane made some space for himself after taking the ball from a defender's error, but his 20 yard shot was stopped down to his right by the Stevenage keeper.  A better shooting chance opened up for Aaron Lennon, when Kanoute put him in on the right, but cutting inside, he scuffed the left foot shot with a clear sight on goal after 23 minutes.  Lennon speed was taking him into some good positions and when Fredi pulled a low ball back to him, he struck the ball first time, but it was rising all the time and flew over.  Fredi was pulling wide quite often and this left space for others to exploit in the box.  On one occasion, when Kanoute crossed firmly to the middle of the six yard box, Teemu Tainio met it with his forehead, but the keeper was in the right place to take it comfortably.

Tainio looked good on his debut.  He was dynamic and was not afraid to get stuck in, while he showed a good eye for a pass and he was keen to get forward.  He might be a good acquisition.  Tom Huddlestone took up a central defender's position alongside Calum Davenport, who was also making his first start for Spurs.  Both looked comfortable, with Calum's height well-matched to Tom's strength.  For a lad of 19, he has broad shoulders and great physical presence, which was not how he looks on TV.  I think he will become some player for Tottenham and this is only on first viewing of his ability.

Just before the half-time break, Spurs took the lead.  One more picking up a ball that strayed too far from a Stevenage defender's foot, Keano played the ball in to Lennon on the penalty spot and his presence of mind saw him touch the ball off to Kanoute, who stroked it home from about 12 yards out.  It was nothing more than Tottenham deserved, as Stevenage had left Cerny with a quiet 45 minutes to start the campaign.  In fact, I think it took until 86 minutes for the home side to win their first corner.

After the mass ranks of changes at the break, the best chance for Boro to score presented itself as Danny Williams broke away on the right and his cross flew in to the head of Stamp, who could only nod it wide of the goal from 10 yards out.  With Defoe and a much reduced Mido in tandem up front, Spurs began to cut Stevenage open and with the arrival of Routledge on the right wing too, his supply soon started to cause problems for the home defence.  His ball into Mido was laid back for Defoe and a defender just managed to get a block in to keep the ball out.  

The miss of the game came on 62 minutes when Williams robbed Andy Reid on the right to fire in a cross that Nurse managed to get wide from close range.  The link play between Mido and Defoe was almost telepathic (although they were not always on the same wavelength though) and Jermain released Mido only for Henry to stop his shot on goal.  Then Kelly and Routledge linked on the right wing to set up Defoe and only a brave stop by gore in the Stevenage goal stopped Spurs adding to their lead.

Not that it mattered in the long run, as in the 67th minute, a corner from Reid found Mido taking the ball on his chest after a defender jumped under the ball.  As it dropped, the Egyptian flung himself horizontal and volleyed the bouncing ball home past a stunned keeper.  Gore did better five minutes later in blocking Defoe as he ran through and the shot deflected off him and went wide.  It was last ditch defending by Boro, with Mounir El Hamdaoui being twice denied in the same incident by two blocks thrown in the way of his shots.  Mido then dinked a ball back to Andy Reid, who was 20 yards out and hit a screamer just a couple of feet past the far post.

It was just as well that Bunjevcevic was alert to the danger at the other end, when Stewart came in at the far post and although Fulop got a hand to the ball, it was Bunjy on the line who hacked the ball away with ten minutes remaining.  Unfortunately for Stevenage, it only prompted Spurs to go for a third.  Three minutes later, Wayne Routledge burst into the Stevenage half and spotting Defoe making an astute run, slipped a pass into his path and with fast feet, Jermain manouevred the ball past the keeper and then shot across the covering defender to make it 3-0.

Spurs held the ball well in the second half and broke with pace, thanks to Routledge's speed on the right.  This was aided by Pedro Mendes' movement of the ball, both short and long, which kept the team moving.  Dawson and Bunjy looked untroubled in defence, although Stevenage thrust forward with a more direct approach in the second half.  Fulop did what he had to do well and Kelly and Edman both found time to get forward from their full back positions.  With Reid making ground on the left and using his full range of passing, it left EL Hamdaoui to move forward and he looked keen to break into the box and had several shots on goal, although few got through to the keeper.

The last bit of action was a shot from Webster from long-range that Fulop did well to stretch full length to tip around the post.

In the end, it was a comfortable win for Tottenham, with Stevenage playing a bit part role in proceedings.  They looked anything but a side who narrowly missed out on going up to League Two via the play-offs, but then they might play the sort of football needed to get to that position.  The quality was lacking and it was nothing more than an ice-breaker for Spurs before they fly out to Korea for the Peace Cup.

There was nothing more for Tottenham to do other than what they achieved.  With the added pace on the flanks and some quality defenders in the side, it looks like there might be a bright season ahead.  Clouds might temporarily blot the horizon, but with the players already in place, it could be that Marti Jol is set to take the team to the next level.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  TOM HUDDLESTONE

Marco van Hip

 

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