six of one

Spurs  1   West Ham United  2           (Half time: 1-1)
FA Premier Reserve League South
Tuesday 25th October 2003
Venue :  Broadhall Way
Kick off : 19.00 p.m.
Weather : Clear, cold
Crowd : -  approx. 900
Referee : -  . 
Spurs  -  Malcolm 43
West Ham United - Garcia 41, 66 (p)
Spurs  -  Jackson (dissent) 66
West Ham United  - Delaney (foul) 34
Spurs : Sullivan, Henry (M. Hughes 46), Thatcher (Foster 81), Thelwell, Bowditch (Yeates 65), Toda, Freund, Ricketts (Snee 82), Galbraith, Malcolm 
Unused subs: G. Kelly, McKie

West Ham United :  Van der Gouw, A. Ferdinand, Blewitt, Cisse, Delaney, Ward, Lumsden, Byrne, Garcia, Pearson (M. Cole 81), McMahon
Unused subs: B. Forde, D. Forde, Laws, G. Carrick.   

Spurs  -  White shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks with navy blue turnover
West Ham United  -  Claret and light blue shirts, white shorts, Light blue socks with claret turnover
Another cold night at Broadhall Way and another defeat, which is something of a trademark of this season's reserve campaign.

After last night's penalty controversy, there was similar concern, when in the fourth minute, Ben Thatcher went down in the Tottenham area with Richard Garcia.  The referee blew his whistle and pointed to the floor, but this time it was for a free-kick to Spurs.  This allowed some early relief and the fact that the bloke behind me was on his mobile phone telling someone "Yeah, Inamoto's in the team" just made matters even more light-hearted.  Almost as much as when we realised that two Spurs players were wearing number Six shirts.  Both Thatcher and Thelwell had them on in the biggest attempt to confuse the opposition seen for many a long year.  Someone must have noticed, as Thelwell wore number Five in the second half.

West Ham had the early chances.  Cisse hit a low drive that Sullivan got down smartly to and then McMahon tried to chip the Spurs goalie from 35 yards, but there was never enough height on it.  There was little headway being made against West Ham's two strapping central defenders.  Delaney was a head and shoulders above Malcolm, while the other centre half must be a relation of  Darren Ward of Millwall, this one being Elliott.  But he bore the same Beckham-esque hairstyle and similar rudimentary skills in the art of defending.

On 20 minutes, Ronnie Henry played a neat one-two and got a shot in, but it rose well over the goal and then two minutes later, a cross was headed goalwards by Bowditch, but the ball was hacked away from the six-yard box.  With a half hour on the clock, there was an almighty scramble in the Tottenham box and it ended with Cisse nudging the ball wide of the goal with Sullivan static.  

Delaney was the first man in the referee's book for a foul on Toda, then Galbraith fed Ricketts down the left hand side of the box.  He beat his man and then got in a shot that the keeper managed to get across the face of goal.  Unfortunately, there was no-one there to knock it in.  But into the last five minutes of the half, things started to hot up.

Taking a quick free-kick as the ref lined up a Spurs wall, McMahon put the ball low, but just wide of the far upright, but in their next attack , Garcia ran away from the Spurs defence and hit a thumping shot past Sully from the right corner of the area.  Spurs hadn't really caused too much trouble until that point, but they managed to hit back straight away.  Ricketts got the ball in the right side of the area and with Ward falling all over him ,managed to keep his feet and put in a low cross that Michael Malcolm met in the six-yard box to tuck away for the equaliser.

At half-time, there was probably much that Calderwood needed to say to the team.  As the big names came out for the second half, most of them took their places in the Director's box.  Hoddle, Hughton, Gorman, Jennings, Roeder, Brooking.  The only change at the break was Spurs' mark Hughes came on for Ronnie Henry.

Tottenham came close to taking the lead in the 50th minute, when Galbraith robbed a defender of the ball, crossed low into the box, where it was met with a slightly unorthodox shot by Ricketts (who was just ahead of the ball) and managed to connect with it and it hit the post, with van der Gouw nowhere near it.  Ten minutes later, Spurs were denied a penalty, when Cisse went to elbow a Spurs player in the head, missed them, but did manage to have contact with the ball.  The next action saw Garcia break away again, lay the ball square to Byrne, who was challenged by Thatcher and Thelwell and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.  The award did not go down well with the Spurs captain, Johnnie Jackson, who was booked after Garcia had fired home the spot-kick.  However, the ref made him re-take it and again he scored, this time high to Sullivan's left hand.

Spurs tried to get something out of the match, but Thelwell's weak header from Jackson's free-kick and a deflection on Hughes' drive that forced the keeper to dive and touch the ball around the post were all they had to show for their efforts.

It was the first time I had seen Toda and he looked a long way off the pace and style of play needed to survive in the Premier League.  His was often left behind as the game moved on and his passing was OK when short to colleagues, but anything a bit longer than that and they went astray.  He also seemed to lack the bite needed to play a defensive midfielder role.  Johnnie Jackson played well and Thatcher was solid.  Sullivan didn't have a lot to do although his kicking was poor all night.  Ricketts was a little more subdued than normal, but what he did was among the brighter things in the team.  Thelwell played much the same as he always does ... looking uncomfortable on the ball and jumpy when challenging, while Freund started slowly, but got into the game the longer it went on.  No-one really shone in their use of the ball, although Galbraith was the one danger man that West ham found hard to deal with.  However, for his battling performance against a much bigger opponent and the knack of getting into the right place at the right time, my man of the match went to Michael Malcolm, who might be off a call-up to the Premier League squad, but he might just get a look-in for the team sometime soon.


Marco van Hip

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