a season's end

Tottenham Hotspur Reserves  2    Coventry City   2      (Half-time score : 1-1)
Premier League Reserve League South Venue :  Broadhall Way, Stevenage Borough FC 
Thursday 28th April 2005 Kick Off :  19.00 p.m.
Crowd :   Approx. 300 Referee :  Mr. S. Beck
Weather :  -  Dry, mild, some heavy drizzle
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

Burch

Ifil
Defendi
Bunjevcevic (c)
Hallfredsson (McKie 55)

Yeates
Jackson
O'Hara  (McKenna 70)
Limbersky (Dilevski 83)

Barnard
El Hamdaoui

Unused subs:
Eyre
Malcolm

Coventry City :

Tuffey

Hall
Wall
Bains
Lynch

Davis
Wood (c)
Thornton
Nicelli

Sidhu (McCrink 82)
Reid (Bendtner 72)

Unused subs:
Turner
Ogarro
Layfield
Stringfellow

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Tottenham Hotspur

Coventry City

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur 

Yeates 7
Yeates 56

Coventry City

Wall  28
Davis 62

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur 

    

Yeates (pulling back) 13
Ifil (pulling back) 20

     

Coventry City

   

Thornton (shirt pulling) 46

     

Spotted at the game : -  

Martin Jol
Frank Arnesen
Chris Hughton
Pat Jennings
Hans Segers

John Alexander
Ronnie Henry
Micky Adams (Coventry City manager)
Geoff Thompson (Football Association)
Match Report : -  
After last week's enthralling win over Arsenal, this game was an intriguing one, but a game played at a much slower pace.  The final result being a draw meant a disappointing end to the season, but there were positives to take from the game and the season as a whole.

It was a sparkling start that Tottenham made to the match, but they were pegged back twice by a young Coventry City side, when Spurs should have put the game beyond their reach in the opening salvo.

As early as the first minute, Clive Allen's tactics to get Phil Ifil in an advanced position on the right wing worked and he hit a bouncing ball first time to put a firm cross in, which needed a Sky Blue head to clear the danger.  A few minutes later, Mark Yeates played the ball in to Mounir El Hamdaoui, who turned to put in a low shot that Tuffney saved.  The keeper didn't have much of a chance in the sixth minute when Spurs took the lead.

A low ball was played into Mark Yeates, positioned centrally in the penalty area, who spun off his marker with the ball moved off the outside of his boot and his low shot was out of Tuffney's reach as it ruffled the net behind him.  This was the start of a period of play which saw Tottenham confidently move the ball around sharply and put together some nice first time passing. 

As the ball rarely left the Coventry half, Johnnie Jackson (who might have been playing his last Spurs match) hit a free-kick that thudded into the wall.  One break saw a right wing break by City loop a long ball to the far post and Davis stole in at the back to drill a shot in that flew across the face of goal and wide Yeates and El Hamdaoui linked very well to set up Jamie O'Hara, who was industrious throughout, to hit a shot that flew narrowly over the angle just before the quarter hour.  In the next attack, O'Hara played in Jackson on the edge of the box, but El Hamdaoui took the ball off his toe to shoot just too high.  The 21st minute saw a fine move by Spurs, who produced some one-touch stuff to move the ball from O'Hara to Jackson to Ifil and the full back broke through from halfway to produce a 30 yard chip that caught the keeper off his line, but was about two feet over the crossbar.

El Hamdaoui missed a great opening in the 25th minute when Lee Barnard pulled the ball back to him from the right edge of the penalty area and the Moroccan's volley from four yards out went wide.  Even then, Barnard managed to get to the ball to knock it into the goalmouth again, but the defence reacted first to clear it away.

Then came the sequence of play that lead to Coventry's goal.  Mark Yeates pulled back a blue shirt in frustration after losing the ball and received a yellow card.  This lead to a dubious free-kick wide on the right, which was whipped in and Burch missed his punch, with the ball skimming off his knuckles to go for a corner.  Spurs left Coventry's Wall unwatched and he ran in to head home unchallenged for the equaliser in the 27th minute.

Spurs hit back, with Barnard pulling wide right to knock a cross in low that Yeates was a foot away from converting at the far post.  A couple of yellow cards were exchanged, as the game got a bit ragged, but just before the break a long clearance from the Coventry keeper got stuck under Bunjy's feet and the ball fell kindly for Sidhu in front of goal, but from 15 yards out, he bumbled his shot and Burch gathered comfortably.

Even then, there was time for Barnard took a chip into him from Ifil on his thigh and turn to hit a volley across the keeper and just wide of the goal.

The momentum that Tottenham had built up had subsided and Coventry had been given a lifeline, with most of their play going through midfielder Neil Wood.  But the second half started the same way as the first, with Yeates playing in a free-kick from the left angle of the area, but there was no white shirt alert to the ball and it went through to Tuffney.  Five minutes in and El Hamdaoui had a great chance to add to the Spurs total.  Barnard took a quick throw-in down the left wing to Yeates, who played a low ball in to Mounir.  Taking the ball just outside the area, he fired a shot in, but it was at a nice height for the City keeper to beat out.

City's first attack of the half came in the 53rd minute, when a long ball from left to right eluded Ifil and Sidhu cut in to hit a shot across the goal, going just wide of the far post from a narrow angle.  With Hallfredsson taking a knock before the interval, he felt fit to go on, but Marcel McKie took his place in the 55th minute when his movement was further restricted.  A quick free-kick followed and put O'Hara away on the left.  His early cross flew into the channel between keeper and defender, with Lee Barnard just a little way off connecting, but Tuffney could only block with his legs and the ball was collected by Barnard once more.  He looked up, saw Mark Yeates square about twelve yards out and the ball was played to him to drill home past a defender and into the bottom right corner of the net.

It was all that Spurs deserved for their enterprising play, but they needed to earn the right to keep the lead.  Within six minutes, Coventry were level again.  O'Hara had already given the ball away once and then an attempted cross-field pass was intercepted by Liam Davis on the halfway line.  He raced away towards the Spurs penalty area and without a challenge forthcoming, he hit a rising drive past Burch into the top corner of the net to make it 2-2.  It was a fine run and shot, but the lack of a tackle on him was not too impressive from the Spurs side.

The Sky Blues now fancied their chances and Nicelli's rising shot from the edge of the box was plucked out fo the air and caught by Burch and then four minutes later in the 72nd minute, Barnard and Ifil tackled each other on the edge of the box and the ball ran to centre forward Reid, who side footed wide of the goal, when he really should have scored.  

Then it was Tottenham's time to attack.  Ifil made ground up the right, put a ball across to McKie on the left and his low ball in to fellow sub McKenna was only half-hit and saved.  Soon after, McKenna took the ball off El Hamdaoui's toe to hit a shot that caught a deflection and spun wide with the keeper already committed to going the other way.  

That was the last attacking intent Spurs showed, with Coventry making the best chances at the end.  With five minutes left, Nicelli had a shooting opportunity, but sliced it right of the goal and then with time ticking away before the 90 minutes were up, a corner was won by a Coventry head and the ball bounced over off the crossbar ... much to Tottenham's relief.

With all the possession Spurs had, they kept the ball well in the early stages, but in the latter part of the match, they matched their first team colleagues from Monday in giving the ball away too cheaply.  The team looked comfortable on the ball and moved well, but the two goals showed basic errors in allowing the visitors too much space and time and they made Spurs pay.  The draw saw Tottenham finish in fifth place and some of the players in the team tonight will no doubt be moving on to pastures new in the summer.

Next season will be the time for this group to show they are ready for the step up to the first eleven.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  MARK YEATES

Marco van Hip

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