a small gathering for this reserve game, the youthful Tottenham team
fought back to gain an unlikely victory in fine style over an experienced
and grizzly Leicester side.
The crowd were treated to a
very mature second half display that took the game Tottenham's way and in
the end the score could have been about 6-4. Watching on from the
Directors Box were Pat Jennings, Jimmy Neighbour, Roger Cross, Mick
Harford and Eddie Stein.
The game began with a
committed tackle by McKie that saw Nalis fly through the air and on
landing the ref brought out a yellow card for the Spurs defender. It
set the tone for a first half yellow card spree in a game that wasn't
played in an unsporting atmosphere. Further bookings followed for
high challenges by Hughes and Ifil and Deen of Leicester got a caution for
stopping a ball reaching Mark Yeates as he broke through.
featured some nimble and fleet footed players in midfield and three linked
up for their first shot on goal in the sixth minute. Blondel played
the ball in to Barnard's head and he knocked it down for Ricketts to
volley the ball a couple of yards wide. Hughes broke forward well
all match and his run in the eleventh minute caught out the Leicester
defence, but his low shot was weak and too near the keeper.
between these Tottenham forays, Leicester had taken the lead. A
corner on the right saw Elliott head goalwards and Phil Ifil managed to
get the ball off the line, but it went straight up in the air, Eyre saved,
but the loose ball was hit overhead into the net by Junior Lewis to give
the Foxes the lead.
almost scored a second in the (unlucky) 13th minute, as Marcel McKie raced
back to get to a through pass and got there before Nicky Eyre, but nudged
the ball past him and fortunately for Tottenham, it went past the post on
the right side. The only other Spurs attack of note saw Lee Barnard
produce a neat bit of dribbling tight to the goal-line, but his cross was
begging to be put in, but there was nobody there to do so.
looked like the Premiership experience of the visitors would come out on
top at this stage and Peter Shirtliff and Tim Flowers on the City bench
must have had an easy half-time team-talk. However, the one Pat
Holland gave his side must have sparked something in their minds, as they
were a different side in the second period.
minutes after the break, Phil Ifil launched into a fine run down the right
wing and fired a shot across the goal and missed the far post by inches,
then on 50 minutes a Yeates corner found Mark Hughes' head, but he put his
unchallenged effort over the top. When Hughes found Barnard, there
looked little problem, but he knocked Elliott off the ball and put Jamie
Slabber in on the keeper and his cool low finish pout Spurs level.
free-kick about 25 yards out caused Nicky Eyre some problems, as he saved
the ball, but it swerved and as it fell precariously near the line, he had
to dive on the ball before Brooker got there. that was in the 56th
minute, then six minutes later a combination of Kelly and Bunjy stopped a
header crossing the line. Spurs weathered this Leicester pressure
and in the 67th minute they got a corner at the other end. Yeates
drilled it across the box and it found Ricketts at the far side of the
area. his neat footwork made a half yard and he smacked the ball
into the opposite top corner of the net to give Spurs a lead that could
not be contemplated after a sterile first half.
was all Tottenham from here on in. Yeates wriggled into the area and
produced a neat bend to his shot that the keeper Murphy just about saw and
got a hand to keep it out, a save that he had to repeat in the next minute
to another Yeates drive. It looked like the sea-air at Brighton had
made Mark hungry for football and he played a perceptive and vital part in
the team' success tonight. Alongside captain Mark Hughes who put in
a lot of hard work, as well as some fine passing to keep the side ticking
over, the Irishman was a livewire, who caused the Leicester defence a lot
Frank Sinclair almost getting his obligatory own goal, it was only
Murphy's reflexes that stopped it at the cost of an indirect free-kick in
the box. As almost always happens, Tottenham failed to score as the
rain fell more heavily and the ball skidded wide after the initial shot
from Yeates had been blocked.
was a good team performance with Blondel looking good after his knee
injury and the defence seemingly at ease with a young trio among that
section of the team all putting forward good performances, with Bunjy
doing a solid job there too.
week, the reserves host Portsmouth and will be looking to carry on the
good form that is reflecting that of the first team.