On a beautiful sunny early summer evening in
Warwickshire the reserves finished their Southern Section winning season
with a comfortable 3-1 win over Coventry City. While half the
crowd at Rugby Town’s neat little ground were distracted by the
Champions League semi-final showing on the big screen in the club bar
and the pitch itself was a bit bumpy, the entertainment just about
justified the trip.
Spurs set out
in an orthodox 4-4-2 with Kelly and Lee in the centre at the back with
Bunjevcevic at left back and young Chris Riley on the right. In
midfield Marney and McKenna who were to control the centre of midfield
for most of the night started with Jackson on the left and Stuart Lewis
on the opposite flank. The continuing inclusion of Lee Barnard in
the first team squad meant that Andy Barcham and Simon Dawkins led the
line, but in truth they were ineffectual for most of the evening as was
reflected in all three goals coming from midfield.
The first half was a timid affair with
neither side really creating a lot until Jackson got on the end of a
ball over the top to fire past the city keeper into the far corner.
It was a particularly well taken goal as JJ was clearly earmarked to be
our main threat by the home side and the two right sided City players
converged on him whenever he got on the ball. The goal seemed to
settle Spurs and Dawkins tested the keeper soon after before disaster
almost struck. Stringfellow who was City’s liveliest player got
one on one with Burch who appeared to bring him down but the ref awarded
a corner and Spurs escaped. It is these decisions that can turn
games but from my vantage point it looked a pretty clear-cut penalty.
Clive sent Smith on for Riley at half
time and Spurs started the second period in control of the game with
Marney and McKenna keeping it simple in midfield and both Kelly and Lee
cutting out any attacks well. A neat passing move between the
central midfielders found Jackson who picked out Marney's run and he
calmly slotted past Tuffey for an excellent second goal. Jacques
Maghoma then replaced Lewis and brought some much needed energy to the
right side, despite him being on the pitch for just over 30 minutes he
was one of Spurs best players on the night. At this stage Spurs
looked like they would coast to a comfortable victory, but just like the
first team nothing is every entirely comfortable watching Spurs.
With 15 minutes left Coventry worked the
ball down their left and with both centre backs and Bunjevcevic sucked
into the action the ball was slipped to Jones on the edge of the Spurs
box who calmly stepped inside a lunging tackle and drilled it past
Burch. To try and shore things up Cian Hughton replaced McKenna,
but went to left back with Bunjevcevic moving to sit in the centre of
midfield alongside Marney. For the next ten minutes Spurs were
rocking as the local support got behind their team and City pressed hard
for an equaliser. Credit to the back four though they held up well
and Maghoma was providing a useful outlet on the right hand side.
With one minute left on the clock Maghoma took a throw in from Smith,
powered his way into the box past the City left back Lynch and finished
clinically in the far corner to settle the result and keep confidence
high for a likely trip to Old Trafford in the play-off.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - -