|A match that had long periods
of nothingness, Spurs managed to extract a win, although Norwich
returned up the M11 wondering how they failed to leave with something
from this reserve match at Stevenage.
There were enough chances for the
Canaries to grab a goal or two from this match before and after Spurs
had gone two ahead.
The game started off well for Spurs,
when, in the fourth minute, Dean Marney hit a shot that dipped just over
the bar. Playing in a central midfield position, he cut his foot
across the ball and it initially looked like it was going well over, but
had Ward worried in the Norwich goal.
Both sides were testing each other out
with some probing moves, but the last pass was lacking and the defences
managed to keep the forwards at bay. It gave me the opportunity to
have the first decent look at Defendi, Dilevski and Silva Sousa.
Defendi is a strapping lad for 18 and is as tall as Richards, who played
just inside him in the middle of the defence. Defendi played at
left back, perhaps not the best place for him, as he sometimes got
caught turning when long diagonal balls were hit over his head. He
was good in the air and his control was very good too, but the link play
with some of the other players is not quite there. It might be
down to a language problem, as he didn't shout much. I think he
will settle into his role if things go well.
Australian youngster Dilevski played
right side of midfield and showed a neat touch and good passing skills,
but seemed on the edge of the game and lacked total involvement.
He chased back when we lost the ball well, played some nice link-up
passes down the right and looks an athletic lad, but he must make the
move to get involved in the game. He seemed very quiet in not
calling for the ball and perhaps he was a bit bemused to be playing a
team wearing his national colours !!
With a few bits of neat control and some
nice lay-off sin the early stages, Eddie Silva Sousa looked better than
I had seen him play before. But after about 20 minutes, he
disappeared from the match only to reappear to score. He looks a
player who might have something about him, but he looks to lack
awareness in the box and sometimes his height and size are not put to
their best use. It is still early days for all three and when they
get used to things at THFC, perhaps we will review their progress.
Norwich's first threatening attack came
on 27 minutes with a break down the right that ended with Henderson
pulling his shot across the face of goal. It was a bit of a wake
up call to Spurs and with 36 minutes gone, Richards took a quick
free-kick to Marney, who strode forward from halfway to hit a shot on
goal from 30 yards. It hit s defender, bounced back in his
direction and he made it his by prodding it to his left to Lee Barnard,
who stroked it into the corner of the net from 12 yards. It was a
classy forward's finish and gave Spurs a lead they probably just about
Marney was lucky to get away with a
couple of nasty early challenges and as the game went on he dominated
the midfield and linked well with the defence and the forwards.
However, everything nearly came crashing
down a minute before half time, when the central defensive pairing of
Richards and O'Donoghue combined to bring down Jarvis as he was on the
six yard line ready to shoot. The ref gave a penalty and Jarvis
got up to take it himself. As he strode up to take the kick, Fulop
launched himself to his right to push the ball away and it was
cleared. Unfortunately, the linesman spotted that he moved early
and ordered a retake. Jarvis again stepped up to the spot and
Fulop showed him a lot of the goal to his right once more, but Jarvis
ignored this ... and blasted it over the top !!
The second half begun with a Barnard
cross that managed to clear the defender's head, but Silva Sousa let the
ball hit him rather than preparing for the ball to present itself for a
good chance, just a couple of yards out. Spurs were having the
better of the match and Marney had a volley wide before goal number
two. O'Hara set Marcel McKie off down the left wing and he got to
the goal-line before pulling the ball back. O'Hara stepped over
it, leaving Silva Sousa to sweep it into the bottom corner of the net to
make it 2-0 with a good finish on 61 minutes.
It was then that Norwich stepped up their
attacking to try and get back in the match straight away. A long
ball was lost on the turn by Richards, leaving Crow in on goal, but he
hit the ball powerfully, but wide of the target. Brennan broke
forward from left back and hit a firm drive that Fulop turned around for
a corner, then another long ball in the air caught Richards out again
and this time Crow tried to lob Fulop, who came halfway and then
stopped, but only succeeded landing the ball on the top of the net.
Jamie O'Hara won a great tackle in the
centre circle and went on a run direct at the middle of the Norwich
defence, but wasted the four on two situation by hitting a wayward shot
well wide and Marney made s similar run at the heart of the visitors
defence with just two minutes left. His swerving drive was
too difficult for Ward to hold and it bounced off his chest, but
was hacked clear before a Spurs forward could get there.
Norwich nearly had the last word as a
neat one-two in the box saw substitute Willis fire in a low shot that
bounced back off the foot of the post to Henderson, who was standing a
yard out in front of goal, but he could not get there before Stephen
Kelly, who put in a fine challenge to take the ball away from danger
with a great saving tackle.
It was nice to see the team comfortably
passing the ball around and willing to try and play the football that
Jose Mourinho would love to see us playing !! Maybe the reserves
will show the first team how it is done !!
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DEAN MARNEY