By Pete Stachio
|ST. ALBANS CITY 2 SPURS 6 -
Tuesday 11th August 1998
As the shadows lengthened across Clarence Park, an almost full-strength Spurs took to the field and soon took the lead with Sir Les heading in Ginolas free-kick from the left. Spurs second came when a Carr drive ripped into the net from the edge of the box. Baardsen had little to do in the first half and Ferdinand added number three with a low shot. Just before half-time, Ginola was brought down and got up to hit the penalty firmly to the keepers left to make it 4-0.
After the interval, Spurs slackened off allowing the home side two free headers, which were off target. Spurs did force three good saves from the St. Albans goalie, before Les completed his hat-trick by dummying two defenders, rounding the keeper and slipping the ball home. Sol hit a loose ball across the face of the Spurs box for a St. Albans player to volley home, then Espen had to save smartly at his near post from a low shot. Foxy rounded off Tottenhams scoring with an angled drive from inside the box, although St. Albans got a second with a header.
It was a good run-out for most of the first team squad and Tramezzani showed he can put in a decent cross, while Jose twisted and turned and tormented the St. Albans right back. His replacement showed a few classy touches and Justinho may have found his true position. Stephen Clemence has looked comfortable in possession, always seeking to receive the ball and Sol as usual was a rock in defence. So, now its all down to Wimbledon on Saturday for the real thing. Hold tight for the usual Tottenham Hotspur roller-coaster ride of a season.
|QPR 0 SPURS - 1st August 1998
The stiffest test so far for Tottenham, especially when you consider Vinnie Jones is the QPR player coach. Running out in their new all purple away kit - another triumph for the kit designers at Pony - the team started with trialist Titi Camara in the line-up. The Guinean (or Ghanaian, depending on which paper you read) international looked a bit like Faustino Asprilla and played a bit like him too, with moments of skilful play interspersed with instances when it looked like his touch had completely deserted him. Although he had not been at the club for very long, he linked up fairly well with Armstrong and his cross from the right provided Chris with a header, which was saved by Harper's feet. Fox headed Tramezzani's cross against the bar and Camara's mazy dribble along the goal-line ended with a low cross into the six-yard box, but there were no Spurs players around to convert it. Meanwhile, at the other end, the red-booted Gavin Peacock forced Walker to scramble his far post header away for a corner and later, his long cross bounced away after hitting the angle. The QPR full-backs, Rose and Barraclough, had obviously undergone special training with Vinny, as they regularly clattered into Spurs players, thus prompting a similar response from Clemence and Tramezzani.
The second half lacked incident. A couple of long range efforts from Saib and Sinton were easily saved and QPR had the better opportunities with Slade heading the wrong side of the post from six yards and Murray's long distance drive being pushed away by Walker.
Both teams will be hoping for better things in the season to come, but left the fans wishing they had opted to enjoy the sunshine elsewhere.
|BILLERICAY TOWN 2 SPURS XI 5 -
23rd July 1998
A reserve team friendly which featured Baardsen, Clemence, Fenn and McVeigh saw Spurs go 1-0 down early on to a header, before Mark Gower's strike eventually got Spurs back into it following a period when Billericay's determined approach would not allow them to settle. A similar shot from Fenn gave Tottenham a 2-1 lead on the sloping and bumpy New Lodge pitch.
In the second half Tottenham took a hold on the game and began opening up the defence of the Rymans League side. Success was achieved through further goals from Clemence, Dominguez and Gower, who all waltzed through the back line. Although the home side managed another goal, there was little to trouble Tottenham's second string despite their play being ragged for periods of the match. Peter Gain played at left-back and made a decent fist of it, while Gower and Clemence looked good in midfield.
All in all, a match Spurs managed to win against a team who were determined to give a good account of themselves.
|PETERBOROUGH UNITED 0 SPURS 6 -
15th July 1998
Football on a July evening didn't quite seem right and the empty Spurs end was in stark contrast to the heaving mass that assembled there for the FA Cup 3rd round a few years ago. Luckily, the result was better this time round and although the match was unimportant, it was good to see that Tottenham can be ruthless in finishing teams off.
The first half was the better of the two in terms of providing some competitive opposition, but even then, all Walker had to do was to field a couple of long shots. Spurs had the better chances and took the lead when Paolo Tramezzani hit a free-kick which was supposed to curl over the wall, but deflected off it and looped gently into the net. Saib and Ginola fired fierce shots wide and the Algerian hit the post with a close range header, when it might have been easier to score.
There was a strange substitution at half time, when Peterborough fielded their second XI instead of the first half team. Unfortunately, the floodgates opened as Spurs ripped the "possibles" apart. Ginola ran across the face of the box and curled a delightful shot into the top corner and shortly after, Rory Allen won a race to a long ball, lobbing it over Gremink for 3-0. Subs came and went, but Tottenham continued to press and Walker had a fairly relaxing time at the other end. Three more goals came, all resulting from passes pulled back from the goal-line on the right side of the box. Saib, Sinton and Fenn all profited from the supply from the flank, completing an easy win in this oddest of "double-headers".
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