lee glee

Tottenham Hotspur Reserves  4    Arsenal   3      (Half-time score : 2-1)
Premier League Reserve League South Venue :  Broadhall Way, Stevenage Borough FC 
Monday 18th April 2005 Kick Off :  19.00 p.m.
Crowd :   2,692 Referee :  Mr. S. Rubery
Weather :  -  Dry, mild
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

Burch

Dilevski
Mills
Lee
Hallfredsson

Jackson (c)
Yeates
Limbersky
O'Hara  (McKenna 83)

Barnard
Malcolm

Unused subs:
Eyre
Seanla
Daniels
Barcham

Arsenal :

Taylor

Hoyte
Djourou
Skulasson
Gilbert

Cregg (c)
O'Donnell (Birchall 53)
Larsson
Smith

Lupoli
Owuau-Abeyie (Bendtner 72)

Unused subs:
Howard
Muamba
Meredith

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

Arsenal

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur 

Barnard (p)15
Barnard 35
Barnard 70
Malcolm 62

Arsenal

Lupoli  7
Smith (p) 76
Lupoli 90

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur 

    

Burch (handball) 46
Lee (foul) 85
McKenna (foul) 90

     

Arsenal

   

O'Donnell (dissent) 13
Djourou (kicking the ball away) 20
Larsson (dissent) 47
McKenna (foul) 90

     

Spotted at the game : -  

Martin Jol
Frank Arnesen
Chris Hughton

Eddie Stein
Pal Lydersen (agent)
Carl Hoddle (Coach Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Willie Donachie (Assistant manager Ipswich Town)
Andy King (Manager Swindon Town)
Mike Newell (Manager Luton Town)
Geoff Thompson (Football Association)
Match Report : -  
A nervy ending to this reserve North London derby almost undid the good work the Spurs team had put in to establish their lead, which they just held on to at the final whistle.

What the watching Martin Jol and Arsene Wenger made of it is anyone’s guess, although the Spurs Head Coach had a wry smile on his face when he looked three seats along to where his opposite number was sat when the score reached 4-1.

There were assembled managers and scouts watching a number of players who may be available in the summer and one of whom – Johnnie Jackson – put in a sterling performance as captain of the Spurs side.  In fact, the whole Spurs team seemed more up for this than their (supposedly) illustrious neighbours.  With Defendi suspended, Burch returning in goal and some of the more experienced players missing with a first team game on Wednesday, it was a young team that took to the field.

From the first minute when Limbersky scooted away down the right wing to put in a firm cross that Jamie O’Hara hit over the top, Spurs were the sharpest off the mark.   O’Hara was determined to show his old team-mates that he had progressed as a player and another shot flew over the bar a couple of minutes later after Yeates had jinked his way through three Arsenal defenders.

David Limbersky was impressive all night, which was a bit of a surprise, as he is not the strongest of players and in a derby you might have expected him to get buffetted around, but he ran well with the ball, held it up and got in some strong challenges.  Oh … and he performed a perfect nut-meg on Smith.

It had all started so well for Tottenham, but the first goal came from the visitors.  Spurs were playing the ball around at the back and Leigh Mills, promoted from the Youth side, stood on the ball and left if for an Arsenal forward to hit a shot that Burch blocked with his legs.  Unfortunately, the ball rebounded straight to Lupoli, who stroked it into the net from just inside the penalty area.

It was a mistake that was taken advantage of and one at the other end went begging.  Taylor, who had an uneasy time in the Arsenal goal all night, sliced a back-pass sideways and with Michael Malcolm in attendance, the ball went just wide enough to deprive him of a shooting opportunity.  He squared the ball to Mark Yeates, but as the striker was about to shoot, a foot robbed him of the ball.

Sebastian Larsson appeared to be the free-kick expert for Arsenal.  And I don’t just mean taking them, but also giving them away, so when Yeates broke into the box, the Swede’s tackle brought him down and the ref pointed to the spot.  O'Donnell was unhappy enough to talk himself into the book and when the fuss had died down, Lee Barnard stepped up to blast the ball past Taylor to make it 1-1 in the 14th minute.

Arsenal seemed to be rattled by Tottenham’s feisty start and Skulasson picked up a yellow card for kicking the ball away, but the free-kick brought a good low save from Taylor, as Yeates drilled a shot through the defensive wall after 20 minutes.  Spurs were breaking with speed and when a defender went in on the back of Barnard, everyone expected a free-kick, but the ball ran through to Limbersky on the right wing and his low ball in was cleared from six yards out by a grateful Arsenal boot.

The back four had a reasonably quiet time and Charlie Lee, also promoted with Mills, had a steady game, with the new full-back pairing of Hallfredsson and Dilevski both solid and looking to attack at any opportunity.  Dilevski was lucky to only receive a talking to for a deliberate trip on Smith, but when a shot did eventually come in from Cregg, Johnnie Jackson showed a resolve to keep it out by throwing himself in the way to block it.

With the clock showing 35 minutes gone, Jackson was in action at the other end of the pitch.  He won a ball 25 yards out and ran left across the area to the other side of the ‘D’, where he hit a shot that Taylor saved, but could not hold.  Lee Barnard was alert and poached the loose ball into the net from about four yards out to give Spurs the lead, which they deserved for their football and their effort.

Michael Malcolm was having a good game, holding his own against the bigger defenders of the Gooners, but when a ball came in his weak header was easy for Taylor to take.  In Tottenham’s next attack, another goal almost came about ... for Arsenal !!  Breaking as the ball was cleared, Lupoli raced towards goal and Burch came out to meet him, then went back and as the Italian tried to chip him, the ball barely got above chest height and the Spurs goalie took it comfortably. 

One more chance came Tottenham’s way before the break, when Yeates’ whipped in corner found the head of Hallfredsson or Malcolm (both together in a crowded penalty area), but the header went too high. 

It was a 45 minutes of high tempo football and non-stop harassing that had seen Spurs earn their lead and Arsenal had been second best on numerous occasions during that first half.  We thought things would change in the second half, but the incidents came thinker and faster if anything in the second period !!

The first action saw the Arsenal fans yelling for a red card, as a long through ball was intercepted by Burch, but his momentum carried him outside the area, stilling holding the ball.  As he flew out of the side of the area and the opportunity was not necessarily a goal-scoring one, the ref produced a yellow card and Arsenal were awarded a free-kick right on the edge, which Cregg bent wide of the far post. 

Larsson got a foul given against him for a foul tackle and he picked up a yellow too, which might have been for dissent and from the award, Jackson put in a vicious cross that was met by Malcolm.  His volley went wide, but it did look as though he as being held as he went into the goalmouth.  The young striker than exchanged passes with Barnard, allowing the latter to curl a shot a yard wide as he looked for his hat-trick.  Spurs seemed to be really enjoying it and O’Hara sold an outrageous dummy to two Arsenal players – one each side of him – with a great piece of skill, to turn 180° to leave them bamboozled. 

Mills ventured forward and had a free header from a Yeates corner, but once more the ball ended up too high, but Jackson’s 58th minute interception of a square ball across the Arsenal back four was on target.  His low drive was just touched onto the post by the keeper and the ball then bounced back into his arms.  Four minutes later, Taylor had no hope of keeping the ball out though. 

Yeates was tormenting the Arsenal right back Hoyte and beating him again, the Irishman put in a wicked pacy in-swinging cross that Michael Malcolm got to first, hitting the ball into the net from close range. 

Arsenal did get into some threatening positions after they introduced the speedy Birchall, but they seemed hesitant in taking a shot and when one was fired in across the face of goal, it was met at the far post and hit into the side-netting, causing the pitch of the Arsenal fans chanting to rise an octave for no reward. 

Larsson conceded another free-kick, this time with 20 minutes to go and Jackson took it quickly, spotting Lee Barnard in space in the box.  It was a delicate free-kick as it just cleared the defender’s head to drop for Barnard to control and then volley across Taylor to seal his hat-trick from 10 yards out.  Barnard shows all the attributes of the modern striker.  A willingness to work for the team, an awareness of where others are and a predatory instinct for goal.  This was his second hat-trick in two games and he has been on fire since he returned from a loan spell with former Spurs Reserves Colin Calderwood at Northampton Town. 

With a quarter of an hour left, Smith made strides down the left wing and put in a cross that popped up and Hallfredsson handled to concede a penalty, which the same Arsenal player stepped up to convert.  Arsenal were set for a final assault on the Spurs goal, not that Arsene Wenger would have seen it ... this time he had a valid excuse, as he had gone home !!  But Tottenham moved the ball well to attack and when Limbersky played a pass in from the right wing, Yeates laid it back for Jackson to hit a shot that struck Yeates and deflected just wide with Taylor prostrate.

Charlie Lee spoiled a fine performance by obtaining a yellow card with a scything tackle on Smith, who the Arsenal bench were very concerned about and called for the stretcher ... only for the winger to be up and running around a minute or two later.  McKenna joined him with a tackle on Smith, who ran after the ref imploring him to be booked.

Lee made amends with a good block of Smith's drive in injury time and then Spurs broke up the left wing, with Barnard being pulled all over the place by the Arsenal defender, but nothing was given.  Larsson played the ball down their right wing and Lupoli dashed away, cut inside Hallfredsson and smashed a rising shot across Burch and into the far top corner to make it 4-3 with a minute and a half of added time remaining.

With Arsenal looking for an equaliser, Spurs held the ball, drew fouls, which the Arsenal players were happy to commit and ran time down to run out winners in a very good showing by Clive Allen's boys.  The team played at a good pace and with some crisp passing, making the Arsenal players look ordinary for long periods.

Coventry City are the final opponents of the season at Broadhall Way on Thursday 28th April and one more win will see Spurs finish the season on a good run and in the top half of the table.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  LEE BARNARD

Marco van Hip

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