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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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