daylight rubery

Spurs  2   Portsmouth  0           (Half time: 2-0)
FA Premier Reserve League South
Monday 26th January 2004
Venue :  Broadhall Way
Kick off : 19.00 p.m.
Weather :  Cold, a fifteen minute sleet shower in middle of first half
Crowd : -  approx. 450
Referee : -  Mr. Rubery
Spurs  -  Zamora (pen) 2, Yeates 18 
Portsmouth - None
Spurs  -  
  Hughes (foul) 46,     Yeates (foul) 57,    Bunjevcevic (foul) 68,    Hirschfeld (time-wasting) 79,    Yeates (foul - second yellow) 83
Portsmouth  - 
Spurs :  -  Hirschfeld; Ifil, Bunjevcevic (c) (Foster 74), Kelly, Ziege (O'Hara 65); Hughes, Blondel, Ricketts, Yeates; Zamora, Barnard
Unused subs:  Eyre, McKie, Slabber

Portsmouth :   Tardif; Day (Crawford 66), Silk, Howe (Hughes 73); Cooper, Clark (Fordyce 78), Pulis, Pettefer (c), Parker; Pitt, Hunt
Unused subs:  Bradshaw

Spurs  -  White shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks
Portsmouth  -  Blue shirts, white shorts, red socks
Two early goals settled this match, which looked likely to see Portsmouth steam-rollered after a pacy start to the game.

Unfortunately, Tottenham ran out of steam in the second half and Pompey fought a bit harder to deny them space, but failed to create anything of note of their own.  Unfortunately, it was the referee - Rubery - who stole the limelight with his insistence on clamping down on almost every foul that Tottenham committed in the second half with a yellow card.  Why he booked Hirschfeld for time-wasting when 2-0 up and he had virtually had only two tame efforts all night will remain one of life's mysteries.  His lack of adventure in reaching the final third saw the match official be behind play a lot of the time and he was unlucky to stay within ear-shot of Clive Allen, back in charge of the reserves ... and not a lover of the card-happy arbiter.  The fourth official told Allen off for questioning him about the ref's decisions in no uncertain terms, saying "there are kids around", but surely, the referee hardly set a good example to anyone.

The game had barely begun, when Philip Ifil knocked a neat ball in to Lee Barnard on the edge of the box and his control and turn saw him take the ball across the area, where he was bundled over by two Portsmouth defenders.  On this occasion Mr. Rubery had a good sight of what happened and pointed to the spot.  Bobby Zamora took the responsibility and planted the penalty kick past Tardif.

Barnard had a good game leading the line, with Zamora playing off him.  He was a thorn in the Portsmouth defence all night and had a few chances to grab a goal of his own, but was twice denied by the keeper's dive.  Zamora did well and showed some good link up play before departing early as he was probably being saved for the weekend's first team fixture.

Mark Hughes had a very influential first half and when he swept the ball out from left to right for Mark Yeates, he could not have known what was to come.  With players waiting in the middle, the Irishman took the ball on to the line, then cut back inside and whipped a fierce drive that swerved past the keeper and in at the far post.  It was a cracking goal and showed the lively invention of the sprightly forward.

Ziege had a steady game without putting too much into it, but he exchanged passes with Yeates at a short corner routine and nearly repeated the forward's goal, but his effort curled just over in the 26th minute, then five minutes later, Hughes knocked in a well placed cross to find the head of Barnard, but his header was low, but lacked power.

Hirschfeld had only two saves to make in the first half, a tame header and  a shot straight at him, but his nerviest moment came when he had to kick out a back-pass and it went a foot along the floor straight to a Portsmouth midfielder.  Luckily, he mis-controlled it !!  And that was a feature of the Pompey play.  The number of unforced errors was huge and they gave possession away like it was going out of fashion.  This made things easy for Tottenham, but they failed to capitalise on it during the second period.

The second half started with a yellow card for Mark Hughes for, what is becoming a trademark high tackle.  Better things were to come and five minutes in a Zamora knock on found Barnard, who set himself up for a shot on goal from eight yards, but it was straight at the keeper.

Yellow cards followed for Yeates for shirt-pulling and Bunjy for a foul from behind and then Hirschfeld.  The ref was obviously trying to keep his cold fingers working with his pencil-work !!

On the hour, a double miss stopped Spurs going further ahead.  Ziege's free-kick found Zamora on the right of the box.  His chest down in space was followed by s hot that was bundled off the line and from the resulting Ifil cross, the keeper missed the ball and it was smuggled away at the far post before a Spurs player could latch onto it.

Blondel had two late chances to finish it, with the ball being presented to him by Hunt before exchanging passes with Yeates and hitting a low shot that the keeper dived to stop twenty minutes from the end and then with eight minutes left, Ifil put another low cross into the box, Barnard stumbled on the ball and it fell invitingly for Jonathan to score the third from four yards out.  Unfortunately, it came quickly to him and he blasted it over the top, when it seemed easier to score.

That was the last attack Tottenham made with eleven men, as Yeates was booked for a foot up tackle as the ball ran away from his control.  It deserved a booking, but his first card for shirt-pulling looked soft and especially when there were instances of Blondel having his shirt pulled half-off him, without the Portsmouth player suffering the same fate.  As always, inconsistency is what annoys fans and players most !!

With minutes left Ricketts produced a good run and finished with a shot that was saved low down, while Portsmouth's best effort was saved for last, with a shot that flew over the bar ... with Hirschfeld's assistance according to the ref, even though the Canadian keeper was nowhere near it.

A good performance that ran out of energy in the second half, but hardly surprising as the first 45 minutes flew by in a pacy, high-tempo display.  Kelly and Ifil played confidently at the back, while Yeates was lively and full of running and despite getting sent off got my man of the match vote.

All in all, the fare laid before Pat Jennings, Chris Hughton, Pat Holland, Hans Segers and David Pleat, must have been well digested and put away for future reference.


Marco van Hip

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