Stevenage Borough


Sunday 21st July 2002



Stevenage Borough  0   Tottenham  4     (Half time: 0-3)
Sunday 21st July 2002
Venue :  Broadhall Way
Kick off : 2.00 p.m.
Weather : Sunny, slight cloud
Crowd : -  4,964
Referee : -  M. Russell

Stevenage Borough  -  None
Tottenham  -  Jackson 29, Anderton 37, 44, Rebrov 69


Stevenage Borough  -  None
Tottenham  -  None

Stevenage Borough:  Westhead, Travis (Saunders 45 (Lofting)), Sturgess (Fraser), Fisher (McMahon 45), Goodliffe (Quilter 45), Stirling (Dreyer 45), Wormull (Cullen 45), J Campbell (Tomlinson 45), Jackson (Forinton 45), Williams (Sigere 45), Houghton (Clarke 45)
 Unused subs: - Forbes, Wilson

Tottenham : Sullivan (Hirschfeld 45); Carr (Redknapp 45), Richards (Perry 45), Henry, Bunjevcevic (Thatcher 45); Jackson (Leonhardsen 45), Acimovic (Davies 45), Ricketts (Bortolozzo 45), Anderton (Etherington 45), Poyet (Rebrov 45);  Doherty (Barnard 45)
Unused subs : - O'Donoghue, Marney, Sutton, Snee


Stevenage Borough  -  First half : Red shirts, white shorts, red socks
Second half : All yellow
Tottenham  -  White Shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks with blue turnover

As pre-season friendlies go, this was OK for a first run out of the season for Tottenham.  New boys given an airing and as many players as possible given on-pitch time to shake the cobwebs from the bones (not that those who were at the World Cup will need to move too many spider's work).  Gavin Kelly was in the squad for the match, although I thought we had released him.  Chris Armstrong was not there.

The link-up with Stevenage has paid dividends for them, with a new all seater stand behind the goal and a new training facility being built nearby, no doubt contributed to by the Spurs club and fans who have been to Broadhall way for the reserve games staged there and the (now) two profitable pre-season warm-up matches.

There was almost as good a link-up in the Spurs side, when new boy Acimovic showed some sublime skill early on to deftly turn three men inside the penalty area, but he could not finish it off by finding a white shirted player at the end of it.  He saw passes very early and set runners free on more occasions than his passes failed, which means he could be used as the creator in the side, while others do the running.  However, with our midfield roster being aged and injury-prone, maybe he won't feature as a starter for 100% of the time.

Carr was bombing down the right again and not looking like he was about to leave, Bunjy was back in the middle of defence and Rohan Ricketts came into midfield to add some players to last year's squad.  Doherty, playing as a lone forward in the first half, hit a shot wide and Gus managed to screw one almost for a throw in, but Tottenham were rarely threatened.  The only chance the home side made was from a huge throw-in, where Sullivan came and got underneath it, under challenge, and Bunjy cleared as it dropped near the goal.  At the other end, both Poyet and Richards had headers off target before ten minutes were out.  The Slovenian international was showing that he was still sharp when he played a deft 1-2-3 (including a back-heel) with debutant Rohan Ricketts and ended it with a drive that the keeper had to tip past the post.

It was from Acimovic's delightful pass that Johnnie Jackson ran through on the left to lob over Westhead to open the season's scoring.  He took the chance with aplomb and the move replicated one a few minutes earlier, where Milenko's low pass just ran away from Jacko.  A minute later, the same player put Gus through in similar manner, but Poyet did not copy Jackson and his lob was fractionally over the bar.

That was on the half hour and it was only six minutes later that Spurs added to that goal.  Anderton had been involved without being outstanding, but his awareness helped him cash in on some dreadful defending.  As a through ball in the middle of the box looked destined for the keeper, the Stevenage man Campbell, managed an air shot at it and the ball went past both of them.  Dazza managed to get to it first and as the keeper tried to wrestle him to the ground, evade him and tap into an empty net.  Although embarrassed about it, he looked happy enough to get the goal.

One of the former Spurs in the Boro side, Scott Houghton, caused Sully to save as his shot might have crept under the bar, but Simon Wormull and James Quilter in the second half were not outstanding in their contributions.

With the half coming to a close, the psychological boost of a goal before half-time would have come Tottenham's way, but the fact that they changed ten of the eleven players meant that there were few left to benefit from it !!  A corner on the left of the pitch was played in by Jackson and headed out to Anderton on the edge of the area.  He swivelled and hit a low shot that went through a pack of players in the area and trickled in past the goalie.

Both sides fielded new teams at the start of the second half.  Ronnie Henry was the only one to stay on the Spurs side, while Stevenage changed the ten outfield players.  Tottenham also had a change of formation, with the four at the back going to a three and then removing one from the midfield and pushing them up front to help Rebrov out.  Redknapp sat in front of the back three and looked to hit the runners up front early.

This made for a strange final 45 minutes, with neither side really getting it together, although Boro started better as Sigere got past Thatcher and Perry to test Hirschfeld in goal. Former Peterborough United striker Howard Forinton was also close with a rising shot that went over the bar.  While they did get more of the ball in this half, Stevenage failed to make any clear chances and Spurs made inroads into the home side's half, without looking like adding to their score.

Redknapp sprayed passes around, but did not impose himself on the game and alongside him, trialist Diego Bortolozzo and Matthew Etherington had chances to show what they could do.  Matty got into some good positions wide on the left, but failed to capitalise on the space he earned, by failing to pick out a Spurs player, while the mysterious addition to our side showed good composure on the ball.  Rebrov was partnered by Lee Barnard up front and looked quite happy to get a game.  His movement was good and he linked well.  Finally getting a chance to impress, he got on the end of a little square ball from Leo, after a defender had gifted the ball to the Norwegian.  Sergei's volleyed finish from 6 yards might be one to help his confidence.

This signified a procession towards the Stevenage goal with a weak Redknapp volley and Barnard missing his kick, when found by Etherington being the low points.  Rebrov headed over a corner and Barnard got a header in that rattled the advertising hoardings.

As a first match back, it was a worthwhile event for Tottenham, but apart form some heavy tackles on Ricketts and Acimovic, the home side got little out of the game except for a big pay day.  It's on to Colchester on Tuesday and the expectation of who we will see in a Spurs shirt then starts to build.






Some players just look right in a Spurs shirt.  Milenko Acimovic is one such player.  His play made the game worth going to and hopefully that will show through in the Premier League when we get going on the football proper.

As the match will be covered elsewhere, I will just give a quick critique of our players performances ...

Neil Sullivan :  His absence at the end of the last season was due to an injury (allegedly), although he looked OK today ... but then it's been along time.  Got caught out by a long throw and got away with it, but held everything else that came his way.  Will be interesting to see how (or if) he plays when Keller returns.

Lars Hirschfeld :  Back for another trial, Lars looked solid and having shaved off his flowing locks, looked a lot harder than before !!  His shot stopping was again good, while he held a couple of longer range shots capably.  Not a great deal to do in the second half though.

Stephen Carr :  Good to see him back, but for how long ??  Showed he still wants to get forward, but still coming to terms with match fitness.  Did well and showed that his knee is not playing him up with some solid challenges and a turn of pace to get back when required.

Dean Richards :  Looked a little leg-heavy and nearly got caught out once or twice.  Solid in the air, but should make more use of his height in the opposing area.  Might be looking at the experience angle to get his place in the side when King and Gardiner return.

Chris Perry :  Showed good reading of the game, but then trod on the ball to give Stevenage a goal opportunity in the second half.  Played in more of a back three ... not sure if he would be happier with the extra man in defence.

Ronnie Henry :  Only man fit enough for 90 minutes !!  Did well against some experienced Conference strikers and wasn't phased by it.  Broke into the reserves last season and now looking to get past the massed ranks of central defenders between him and the first XI.  Used the ball simply, but well.

Goran Bunjevcevic :  Good to see him back.  Well, good to see him really.  Relaxed on the ball and while not physical, he can win the ball by picking it off forwards.  Reads game well and can bring it out from defence.  Again, how he will be used by Hoddle will be interesting.

Ben Thatcher :  New slim look Ben let his man get past him and didn't seem as assured as the end of last season, but it's early days.  Linked well with Etherington on the left flank and seemed to be ready to play the ball more.

Johnnie Jackson :  Very good contribution to the match on the left side of midfield.  His goal was the result of his willingness to get forward and his finish was very well executed.  Showed a hunger to do well and this will be a big season for him.

Oyvind Leonhardsen :  A second half appearance and his foul throws were the main point of discussion before Dreyer let him have the ball on the right of the box.  He did well to look up and pick out Rebrov to set up his goal.  Will be a squad player if still here when season starts.

Jamie Redknapp :  Played in a deep role, aiming his passes for people to run onto. Didn't work 100%, but he was probing and moving well, so with more games, hopefully his influence will be greater.

Milenko Acimovic :  A star is born !!  Played some beautiful touches and looked like a mirror image of his manager at times.  Astute and skillful, this could be the man to provide chances for our forwards ... if only we had any !!

Simon Davies :  A quiet game for Simon.  Last 45 minutes with the game won, he produced a couple of his trademark runs, but the ball was pinging past him a bit in midfield sometimes.

Gus Poyet :  Passed the ball well to link with Doherty, but didn't get into the box as much as usual.  His lob that went over the bar was unlucky, but overall his contribution for the side was good.  Made a couple of excellent link-ups with Acimovic and Ricketts.

Rohan Ricketts :  Showed a calmness on the ball and an ability to keep it moving ... perhaps, long term, he is seen as filling the Sherwood role when he first came to the club.  Young and mobile, he will be on the fringes, but might be called upon when we need fresh midfield legs.

Diego Bortolozzo :  A mystery man.  Don't know where he's from or what his background is, but looks like a younger (and better) version of Nicola Berti.  He showed a penchant for a back-heel and looked happy to be on the ball, but loped around rather than sprinted.  Tall for a youngster (guess he's around 19-20) and looks stylish. Not sure if he is a first team player yet, but might settle in the reserves.

Darren Anderton : Another who quietly went about his business to good effect.  Two opportunist goals were the noticeable end of his product, but he did a lot of good link-up play that helped make space for others.  Another who might not play every game, but will be a player who could open things up when needed.

Matthew Etherington :  Matty is fast and skillful, but he does disappoint when he gets in a position to deliver a cross.  Needs to make sure that every ball counts and find a team-mate.  Willing to get back behind the ball and tackle, he could get a chance in Ziege's absence at any stage of the season.

Sergei Rebrov :  Looked up for it ... perhaps thinking the shop window was a good place to be ??  Took his goal well, even though it was not a difficult chance and made intelligent runs, without being picked out.  Showed what a good touch he has.

Gary Doherty :  Struggle up front on his own as he does not have a good enough touch to play that role.  Had some good chances, but put one header over and a shot wide.  In my opinion, a better defender than attacker.

Lee Barnard : Surprising to see him get the nod over some of his Under-19 contemporaries, but he did OK with Rebrov up front.  Made some nice runs off the ball that were not seen and had a physical run-in with their centre half that earned him a talking to from the ref.  Had some chances, but rarely looked like scoring.  Looks like he could do with a season in the reserves to bring him on further.

Kirk Hammarton

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