tough call

Tottenham Hotspur Reserves  0    Arsenal Reserves   2      (Half-time score : 0-0)
Premier League Reserve League South Venue :  Broadhall Way, Stevenage Borough FC 
Monday 10th October 2005 Kick Off :  19.00 p.m.
Crowd :   3,107 approx. Referee :  Mr. L. Hodgson 
Weather :  -  Dry, warm
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

Cerny

Kelly (c)
McKie  (Maghoma 46)
Lee
Riley

Daniels
Lewis (Martin 81)
McKenna
O'Hara

Hamed (Dawkins 88)
Barnard

Unused subs:
Forecast
Archibald-Henville

Arsenal :

Almunia

Gilbert
Connolly
Kelly
Murphy

Muamba
Cregg
Song
Bendtner

Lupoli
Stokes

Unused subs:
Simpson
Mannone
Tracy
Efrem

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

Arsenal

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur 

None

Arsenal

Bendtner 68
Lupoli 82

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur 

    
Lewis
(foul) 54

     

Arsenal

   
Cregg (dissent) 9
Muamba (retaliation) 54

     

Match Report : -  

In international week, a young Spurs side took to the field for this game and they acquitted themselves well against a more experienced Arsenal team, who capitalised on two moments of indecision to win this meeting at Broadhall Way.

A bumper crowd of 3,107 packed into the Stevenage Borough ground, so much so that the club had to call in extra stewards to meet the ratio for the number of fans inside the stadium.  The fans saw an early domination of the game by the visitors, who threatened through a fifth minute shot from a tight angle by Lupoli, which Cerny grabbed at his near post.  Gooner midfielder Patrick Cregg was booked for appeared to be a number of incidents of dissent in the ninth minute, while his team-mate Fabrice Muamba went around upending everything wearing a white shirt without even a word or warning from the match official.

It was after Muamba's fourth foul that Spurs were awarded a free-kick, which was chested down by Stephen Kelly and volleyed into the side-netting of the goal.  Marcel McKie had a really good first half, but after producing three expertly timed tackles to deny Arsenal forwards with scoring chances, he was involved in a clash of heads, which saw him leave the pitch at the interval and fail to reappear.  It later transpired that he had suffered a fractured cheekbone.  In the 25th minute Stokes made a run inside fro the left wing and curled a shot just wide, although Cerny seemingly had it covered.

Six minutes later, a free header from an Arsenal corner was well saved low down on his line by the Czech keeper and with two minutes to half-time, the ref pointed to the spot when Charlie Lee went into challenge Stokes, whose feet went from under him, as he tried to stop his run.  It was a harsh award to say the least and when Lupoli stepped up to take it and hit it low towards Cerny's left, we all waited for the net to ripple.  But Radek had dived full length to push the ball away to make a great save.  It set the crowd buzzing during the break, with the second half to look forward to.

Spurs looked comfortable against this Arsenal side.  The white shirts stroked the ball about confidently and were getting stuck into what was a physical game.  Jacques Maghoma slotted into midfield, with Charlie Daniels moving back to right back and Kelly inside to centre-half.  The changes did not affect Spurs too much initially, but later in the half, it seemed to take it's toll.

Kelly tried to dribble out of the Tottenham defence, but lost the ball and as Cregg was through on goal, he tried to set up a colleague, but messed it up and the chance was gone.  Spurs were making moves into the Arsenal half and midfielder Stuart Lewis was prompting many of them, with Jamie O'Hara having a quiet match.  Lewis' 49th minute cross was headed over by Barnard and then the flame-haired midfielder unleashed a low 25 yarder in the next minute that Almunia had to dive to stop.  Lewis was then involved in an incident when he fouled Muamba and the Arsenal midfielder raised his hands to Lewis in retaliation.  The result was a yellow card each from the referee.  This was shortly followed by another caution for Arsenal, with Connolly the perpetrator this time.

With 67 minutes gone the deadlock was finally broken and it was a break from Arsenal that did it.  Cutting in from wide, Bendtner hit a low shot from an angle and it beat Cerny to give Arsenal the lead.  Spurs hit back with some good passing and McKenna, Lewis and Barnard combined for the former to strike a low 20 yard shot that the keeper had to keep out in the 75th minute.  But four minutes later the game was wrapped up, with a long Arsnela free-kick lumped into the area for the tall Bendtner to get in Cerny's way and set up a tap-in for Lupoli.  The Spurs keeper did earn his corn though, with a late tip around the post from Lupoli again.

0-2 was not a fair reflection on the game, but Arsenal took their chances and Spurs did not.  It was a strangely subdued performance, with some lack of passion after a fiery start.  The next game sees another which will be a tough battle - away to West Ham.  With a few more players back in the fold by then, maybe it will be a different performance and hopefully a better result.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  MARCEL McKIE

Marco van Hip

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