On a cold
evening, when the rains had stopped, the reserves finally got a game at
St. Albans. With Wimbledon lining up against Middlesbrough in a FA
Cup replay the same night, their side looked very young (or maybe I am
getting old) and only a couple of players leapt out as I scanned the
team-sheet for familiar names.
the game began and Spurs did most of the pressing. The pitch was
in reasonable condition considering all the rain that had fallen in the
country over the last couple of weeks, but it did cut up a bit and that
did not help the passing of either side. Piercy moved forward onto
a return pass to hit a shot which tested Heald in the Dons goal, while
Hillier hit a shot wide and then crossed behind the goal when the ball
took a nasty bobble off the pitch.
was reduced to fielding back-passes as Wimbledon failed to set up any
sort of rhythm, but Tottenham's wing backs were pushing up and
Etherington went on one run and set up Davies, but he could not keep his
shot on target. Korsten was his usual lumbering self and hit a
couple of shots, one blocked and the other off target, while Yannick
Kamanan was trying to hold the ball up as the target man. The
Spurs keeper was called into action when he saved a low shot and then
collected an innocuous free-kick played into the box. The most
worrying moment came when a high ball was missed by Walker and Hillier
was on hand to clear from inside the six yard box.
truth, the first half was a disappointment with play being very
scrappy. But the second period was vastly different. Within
a couple of minutes of the start, Korsten played a nice back-heel into
the path of John Piercy running into the box and he was bundled over by
the Wimbledon defender for a penalty to be awarded. Korsten
himself stepped up to take it and calmly hit it with the outside of his
left foot, straight down the middle of the goal as the keeper dived
right. Two minutes later, Ian Hillier arrived at the far post to
steer home a low cross from the left wing by Matthew Etherington for the
second. In effect this killed the game. The South Londoners
rarely threatened after that and Spurs pushed forward to try and add
more. The Spurs Dutchman also was keen to add to his penalty and
had a shot go over, while a scramble from a corner saw Gardner causing
mayhem among the opposition's defence.
20 minutes remaining, Chris Hughton brought on Les Ferdinand and Steffen
Iversen (or Steven as the announcer proclaimed). Coming back from injury
this was a good run-out for both the Spurs forwards, who both looked
lively. Ferdinand stung the Dons goalie's fingers with a long
range effort which was grabbed at the second attempt and Iversen turned
his marker and hit a first time shot from 20 yards out that was pushed
over for a corner. With just a couple of minutes left on the
clock, Ferdie was played in on the edge of the box by a neat flick from
Korsten and his powerful drive left Heald grasping air. It sealed
the result and a reasonable performance against a side who were
inexperienced, but well versed in Wimbledon's ways.
Tottenham, the players did well. Walker did all that was asked of him
and his long ball lead to the third goal. Hillier was solid in the
tackle and keen to get forward, as demonstrated by his goal.
Gardner coped with all that came his way and while he was head and
shoulders above the Wimbledon forwards (quite literally), he tried to
play the ball out of defence even though the pitch was not best suited
to dribbling. Thelwell played much as he had in the first team,
doing the simple things and doing them well, while at left back was
Destin Makumbu from the Under-19's. He also got stuck in and although
all his headers didn't go perhaps exactly where he wanted them to go, he
was not going to let anyone get past him.
midfield, Davies worked hard up and down the field, while Matty was
quick and decisive on the left, matching skill and work-rate.
Johnnie Jackson was a revelation. Stepping up form the Under-19's,
he tackled, ran, passed and generally had a terrific game. Korsten
takes laconic to the extreme, but once again scored and then set another
goal up, so he can do it. Shame he doesn't put himself out a bit
more, as he could then be some player.
tried hard, but rarely got the service that he would have liked. A
couple of half chances came his way, but he didn't get the shot away
before being tackled and when he did, he was off target. He did
hold the ball up well though and John Piercy also made up a lot of
ground to support the forwards when the ball went upfield. When
the two first team forwards came on their skill showed and Les looked a
class above the Wimbledon Youth team he was playing against.
week they are away at Watford and then at home at Clarence Park again on
March 6th against Charlton Athletic. It's worth a look in to see
how things are going and especially when they return to White Hart Lane
on March 20th against Derby County, when admission is free !!
Reserves: Walker, Hillier,
Gardner, Davies, Thelwell, Makumbu, Piercy (Iversen 70), Jackson,
Kamanan (Ferdinand 70), Korsten, Etherington.
Unused subs : Attwell, Toner, Ferguson.
Reserves: Heald, Shepherd,
Byrne, Lewington, Okikilou, Leigertwood, Morgan, Tapp, Robinson (Unal
69), McAnuff (O’Flynn 77), Jenkins.
Unused subs : Gore, Sloma, Small.