just like the real thing

Tottenham Hotspur Reserves  0  Charlton Athletic Reserves  0
Tuesday 6th March 2001         St. Albans

Tottenham: Walker, Iversen, Gardner, Toner, Thelwell, Perry (Hillier 84) Davies, John Jackson, McEwen (Ferguson 56), Korsten, Etherington
Subs not used: Kelly, Piercy, Kamanan.

Charlton: Charlton: Caig, Allman, Konchesky, Izzet (McCafferty 49), Fortune, Collis, Newton, Kinsella, Lisbie, MacDonald, Robinson. 
Subs not used: Brennan, Greenaway, A Martin. 

A rainy night in St. Albans is no better than a freezing cold day at White Hart Lane in the Premier league in terms of thrills and spills.  This was really one for the back of the memory banks.

Both teams fielded a healthy scattering of players who have had first team experience and in Perry, Iversen, Robinson, Kinsella and Newton, some who would be considered first choice regulars at times.  Despite this, the rain and the bumpy pitch prevented any decent football being played.  A good number of fans had turned out though and the first chance fell to Charlton, but Lisbie put his header wide of the goal.  At the other end, both Korsten and Etherington both ballooned balls over the bar, when they perhaps could have produced a more telling contribution.

Iversen was adding to his substitutes appearance at Derby to increase his match practice, but early on he felt the full weight (about 5 stone wringing wet) of Kemal Izzet (brother of Muzzy) putting his studs into the Norwegian's shin.  Luckily there was no damage done, because the referee was also thinking he was taking part in a Premiership game, his decisions were so erratic.

Spurs linked up nicely down the right most of the time, with McEwen and Davies pulling into some good positions to draw defenders wide, but there was little quality in the final ball.  Etherington on the other flank ran at people, but many passes he received were behind him, which meant he had to go backwards to get the ball or had to cut inside onto his right foot and into the Charlton defence.

The second half saw Spurs try to take a more positive approach, but again the play got bogged down in a midfield scrap with neither side creating a real threat to the keepers.  Walker was trying to roll the ball out more to his defenders, although once he did a Sullivan and threw it straight to a Charlton midfielder !!  Korsten blazed over and also brought a save out of Caig in the Charlton goal, but he had already been flagged offside.  The one true moment of excitement came in the last ten minutes, when Lisbie ran into the box and going left rounded Walker.  He slid the ball towards goal, but on the wet surface Chris Perry slid along the turf and scooped the ball off the line.  A goal was claimed but the assistant referee in front of us shouted back that it went all the way along the line.

Shortly after Perry made his way down the tunnel as Hillier replaced him.  Surely the first-teamer would have been disgusted by such a move ;-)   However, there was little time remaining and the match petered out into a scoreless draw.  Just like the Premier League game.  

Of the Spurs players involved, young John Jackson has a busy game and although he didn't do anything outstanding, he was vigorous in the tackle and used the ball simply.  Anthony Gardner carried on from where he left off at Derby and had a assured match at left back.  His only flaw was a free header he had from a corner near the end, which he got wide after it came off his shoulder.  Alton Thelwell suffered a nightmare at Derby. After excellent showings in his previous matches, the Pride Park game must have been a knock for him.  However, he was welcomed back to the reserves by Chris Hughton making him captain and that must have picked him up a bit.  He had a few dodgy moments when the ball was up in the air, but gave a solid enough performance in the middle of defence. Ciaran Toner also did a lot of hard work in the midfield, but didn't really damage the opposition as he has done in previous matches.

Willem Korsten decided to have a lazy day.  Even by his own lackadaisical standards.  Perry was steady and saw off the Charlton forwards, while Davies was the main dynamo in midfield, being unlucky to set up a couple of decent chances when passes were intercepted.  McEwen played as the lone striker most of the time and tried to hold the ball up, but he had little support and could not really show what he is capable of.  He had no real shooting chances.  Lastly, Steffen Iversen played on the right side of midfield and showed an experienced touch when others were flogging themselves.  Tried to open up the Charlton defence on a number of occasions, but was more content in getting 90 minutes under his belt without further problems.  Could often be found as our last man, so his fitness seems to be OK in that respect.

In what could be the last game at St. Albans for the reserves (if rumours about a move to Stevenage Borough are true), it was a sad way to end the relationship, but then breaking up is hard to do.



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