A first home game in Springtime and a light
evening greeted the gathered assembly to watch Spurs take on the young
Ipswich Town side. The usual suspects appeared in the Director's Box
- Glenn Hoddle, John Gorman, Patsy Holland, Jimmy Neighbour, as well as
some other ex-pros - Ipswich management team of Joe Royle and Tony Mowbray,
someone who looked uncannily like Mitchell Thomas and Mick Harford.
Spurs side was fairly young too, with Holland and Neighbour there to see
how come of their charges were doing in the second string. Only
Perry and Gardner had seem regular first team action, while Slabber and
Toda had known time at a higher level. With international calls and
injuries, there were few other players to put out.
took the early initiative and Abidallah seemed keen to try and score from
as far out as possible with two shots inside the first seven minutes - one
wide and the other deflected to the same place. It took Tottenham 14
minutes to threaten in the first serious attack they made. Slabber
was getting some joy against Collins, who appeared to be the weak link;
labouring like a donkey in the heart of the Horses defence. His
physical style produced a string of free-kicks as he was regularly
out-foxed by the quick footed Spurs forward.
one was 25 yards out and began with Marney, Bowditch and Galbraith
standing over the ball. Galbraith touched it to Marney, who shaped
as if to set it up for the on-running Bowditch. Instead, he dragged
the ball under his foot, spun away and hit a shot that had the keeper
struggling to reach it. Luckily for him, it went just past the post.
three minutes, the visitors had taken the lead. Breaking out of
defence, they opened up Spurs through the middle and Alun Armstrong set
Stuart Boardley free on the left side of the box. As Burch came out
and went to ground, the Ipswich forward lifted the ball neatly over him
and opened the scoring.
was pitted against his younger brother Dean in midfield. They had
already met once this season in the Under-19s, but Ben was determined to
have the better of this battle. His 23rd minute cross was headed off
the line at the far post and his industry and tackling outshone his
brothers performance, although he showed some neat footwork and good
running off the ball. Indeed, Ben almost brought Tottenham back into
the match. After Ricketts had driven in a shot that Pullen had held
well, a neat move began and ended with Ben. He played the ball
across the pitch, out right to Marney, who hit an early cross to the far
post. Slabber rose above his marker and nodded down for Bowditch to
race in at the near post and only be denied by the keeper's body.
Coming six minutes before half-time, it seemed as though it might have
been Spurs' last chance before the break, especially as Toda drew a
booking from the inconsistent referee.
a neat piece of work released Slabber down the left and as he outpaced his
marker, this time the rash Mitchell, he got into the box, only to find his
legs taken from underneath him. The ref took exception to this foul
and to the verbals he received from Hogg, booking them both, before
Ricketts stepped up to confidently convert the spot-kick.
two minutes before the break, it gave Spurs a boost and coming out for the
second half, they pushed Ricketts into a more advanced role to take the
game to Ipswich. In fact, this move nearly paid immediate dividends,
with Rohan spinning away from his marker and putting in Toda for a chance,
which was saved low down by the keeper.
Bowditch showed that he could be a dangerous customer, when he went on a
run into the Spurs box, but Chris Perry made a clean tackle on him.
Perry did well all night, although he had little difficulty other than
when Spurs decided to play the ball out from defence and all the defenders
were often put into tight spots with opposition players close to
them. Alongside him, Thelwell started off shakily, but got stronger
and more confident as the game went on.
Abidallah doing his best Kieron Dyer impersonation, he produced a good
chance for Armstrong, as he chipped a ball through into the box that just
stood up too much, leaving the experienced striker to have to tee himself
up for a volley that went just wide. The open game swung from end to
end and Ricketts and Yeates produced a clever piece of inter-passing down
the left, but the keeper intercepted the low cross. Marney got into
the ref's notebook for a foul, that saw the ref take the longest time to
produce a yellow card after initially walking away from the
incident. He seemed at odds with the game, which although physical
never got out of hand. His most notable moment was when he gave a
dropped ball and bounced it so that it reached up to about waist high,
with two players going for it full pelt !!
and Marney were linking well on the right, with the Japanese international
having a good game. He seems a bit more at home in the side now and his
passing was good, with some determined chasing back to try and get the
Coming up to the hour,
Galbraith put in a cross that was deflected up into the air and Slabber
got on the end of it, producing a diving save from the goalie. there
were another couple of headed chances he had which failed to find the
mark, the worst was when he was allowed a free header and he put it over
the top. Bowditch (the Tottenham one) went close with a volley over
his own shoulder when Slabber headed on a Marney cross.
Gardner had played well and looked comfortable, despite just coming back
from his hamstring injury, but was replaced on 67 minutes as a precaution.
game went through a spell of both sides passing to the other, but Spurs
snapped out of it, when Yeates, who worked hard all night without much
reward, got beyond Hogg, who tugged his shirt in the box, but the Irishman
refused to go down, pulling the ball back to Slabber, who laid it back to
Ricketts. The midfielder was denied by the keeper, who grabbed his
precise shot at full length. Galbraith was having a storming game
down the left wing and produced a 75th minute cross that was just begging
to be put into an empty net, but there was no Spurs man there to oblige.
were almost a victim of their own desire to play the ball out. Being
caught passing the ball too short, substitute Read broke into the box and
Burch kept the ball out with his foot. Spurs made a substitution of
their own, when Galbraith, already carrying an ankle injury, got knocked
off the ball, rolled off the pitch, straight onto the subs bench, where he
stayed ... to be replaced on the pitch by Jonathan Black. Burch was
to save Tottenham again in the 88th minute, when he grabbed a shot that
looked like it had deceived him from Dean Bowditch, then he held another
powerful drive from Boardley as the Blues finished strongly. Way
into injury time, Read broke into the area and Foster brought him down,
the referee pointing to the spot.
have conceded late goals too often in these reserve games, so when
Boardley strode up to hit the penalty kick, we all expected the
worst. Not that the stand roof had expected being hit, as the
Ipswich winger thumped the ball well over the bar in what was virtually
the last action of the match.
Spurs gained a point, with a decent enough performance. Ipswich
mostly came to play football, so the game was fairly even and open,
leaving the result in doubt until the end, but a draw was the fair result
at the end. Even though there was the chance for Town to take three
points at the death, you would have been hard pressed to spot much
difference between the sides.