wooden heart

Spurs  1   Nottingham Forest  1           (Half time: 1-0)
FA Premier Reserve League South
Monday 22nd March 2004
Venue :  Broadhall Way
Kick off : 19.00 p.m.
Weather :  Dry, cold
Crowd : -  approx.  250
Referee : -  D. Drysdale
Spurs  - Postiga 43
Nottingham Forest  - King 78
Spurs  -     Redknapp (foul) 31 
Nottingham Forest  -     Bopp (foul) 54,    Doig (dissent) 90 
Spurs :  -  Hirschfeld; McKie (O'Hara 46), Kelly, Mabizela, Ifil; Jackson, Hughes, Redknapp (c) (Barnard 75), Ricketts; Postiga, Yeates 
Unused subs:  -  Eyre, Dobson, Daniels

Nottingham Forest :   Formann; Biggins, Doig, Tarka, Thompson; Cash, Bopp, Gardner, Stewart (Beaumont 75); King, Westcarr
Unused subs:  -
  Tynan, Haskins, Bodkin, Groves, Hurren

Spurs  -  White shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks
Nottingham Forest  -  Red shirts, white shorts, red socks

After last week's sell-out at Broadhall Way, the few hardy fans gathered to witness the last home reserve game of the season's league programme.  Forest were the visitors and the game was a well contested one, which only the crossbar and a late Marlon King equaliser stopped Spurs from winning.

The Director's box was packed with famous faces.  David Pleat watched the players who might be included down at SCBC on Saturday, accompanied by Chris Hughton, Hans Segers, Kunle Odetoyinbo, Jimmy Neighbour and Pat Jennings.  Another old Spur sat not far away, but Joe Kinnear was casting an eye over players who might make their way from Forest's reserves into the manager's first XI.  Perhaps the most unlikely face in the reserved section was that of Tony Adams, but perhaps he was either a week late to watch his beloved Gooners or had come to see how Wycombe should be playing !!

The game was played in conditions that got colder as the evening went on and the Spurs team made a hot start.  Seven minutes in and a ball up to Mark Yeates on the halfway line saw the young Irishman flick the ball on.  Helder Postiga, getting a run out, stole a march on the Forest defender running back for the ball and the Portuguese striker out-muscled him to take the ball into the area.  As the keeper advanced, Postiga chipped it over him delicately, but the ball bounced off the bar and away from danger.

Postiga looked detached from the pace of the game, but was a pivotal player in the early stages.  Rohan Ricketts played a ball into him on the edge of the area and he stood it up for RR to take the return on the volley, but drive it a couple of yards wide.  The return of Jamie Redknapp to the midfield added some poise, but he lost his cool twice in quick succession, clearly informing the referee where he could go !!  When he made a gentle foul on the Forest number four in the next phase of play, the referee decided that was enough of a reason to book him ... maybe to make up for the two incidents of dissent he let him get away with just prior to that. 

Postiga was producing a classic forward's performance, with seemingly little interest ion the game until the ball reached him in the box.  A 35th minute cross by Johnnie Jackson was met by Postiga's head and the ball crashed back off the bar (again).  From the rebound, Forest launched themselves forward and Phil Ifil, who had a very good first half, chased back from the halfway line to rob Doig as he made the penalty area, with two other red shirts in support and no other Spurs defender around.  The visitors had another chance almost straight away, when Westcarr turned inside Mabizela to fire a shot over the top.  Mabizela played very well, getting in some crunching tackles and using the ball very well.  I hope he gets a proper go in the first team before the end of the season.

Just as Forest were getting in the game, Tottenham hit them with a 43rd minute goal.  Mark Yeates and Ricketts had shots beaten out, before the ball was fed wide right to Ifil.  The young right back bent a great cross in to the six yard box and Helder Postiga popped up at the far post to knock the ball in from close range to give Spurs a 1-0 half-time lead.

Spurs had moved the ball around well and pushed Forest back up until the break.  The substitution of McKie with Jamie O'Hara coming on in his place saw Jackson drop back to left back and O'Hara slip into JJ's midfield position.  Four minutes into the half, Jamie almost made an instant impact, with a run from halfway and a rasping 25-yarder that the keeper did really well to keep out of the top left hand of his goal.

Rohan hit a low 18 yard shot in the 51st minute, but it was an easy save for Formann.  However, what happened next almost gave Pat Holland's side the lead.  The keeper threw the ball out to a defender, who passed back to him in the centre of the six yard box.  As Formann tried to control the ball, it popped up and he had to hurriedly volley the ball out from the goal-line as it almost went past him at waist height !!

The referee did not help the flow of the game, as his whistle was far too evident and Eugene Bopp picked up a booking for a rather innocuous tackle.  Ifil almost cost Tottenham a goal, when a dangerous low cross went across the face of the Spurs goal and he tried to dribble it out of the box, but was robbed by Gardner.  The Forest wide man cut inside and hit a shot that Hirschfeld had to produce a good save to keep out and OJ cleared from in front of the goal.  Another defensive mix-up, this time at the Tottenham end almost let Forest in, as Jackson headed a ball past the Canadian keeper as he came out, but luckily, the ball passed wide of the goal.

The game went quickly to the opposite end and Yeates played a 1-2 with Ricketts and then hit a shot that went into the side-netting.  After 66 minutes, Tottenham again threatened, with another good piece of play between Yeates and Postiga, with Yeates getting on the end of a silky return pass to be denied by a fine tackle from Doig as Yeates shaped to finish it off.  Two minutes later, Yeates went even closer.  O'Hara played the ball from the left wing inside to the Irish livewire, who looked up, curled a shot over the top of a defender and as the ball was heading for the far top corner of the net, the keeper once again got a touch to it, diverting it onto the bar (again).  

It proved the turning point of the match.  In the 78th minute, Westcarr did well on the Forest left wing and crossed for Marlon King to get a header onto the ball from five yards out to beat Hirschfeld and net the equaliser.  It was a sickening blow for Tottenham, who had dominated most of the game, but they could well have lost it.  A minute from time, King found himself in on goal on the right side of the box, but he snatched at the ball and took his shot far too early to fire it into the empty seating behind the goal. 

Spurs breathed a sigh of relief and then broke upfield, where Postiga was pulled down by a Forest player on the edge of the penalty box.  Doig got booked for dissent aimed at the ref for his decision, but the free-kick was hit into the wall by Jacko, Yeates and Postiga and the match finished with that last flurry of action.

It was a good performance by Spurs, who lost a little momentum when Redknapp was withdrawn, but the side had a good shape and everyone played a part in the game.  With only three away games left, Stevenage Borough will not see any Spurs action until the mandatory pre-season friendly in July.  However, we might see some of the players in action before then in the first team, as some need blooding while there is an opportunity to test them out in the first team towards the end of the season.


Marco van Hip

Back to homepage