|Having switched their home
reserve games to Stevenage Borough's Broadhall Way ground makes the dash
from work a little more desperate. An hour's drive up the
wonderful A1(M) left me minutes to reach the ground after finding
somewhere to park on the nearby industrial estates. Enough time to
get there I thought. WRONG !! Walking up to the ground, I
found no turnstiles open. Going round to the main entrance, there
were none open there either and a surly steward invited me to go around
the footpath to the top corner of the ground where I found a queue at
the turnstile. Yes, turnstile, as only one was open. Another
two were hurriedly opened up as the whistle went for the kick off and I
eventually entered with a couple of minutes gone, not knowing who was
playing as all the team-sheets had gone. Not what you expect
when you shell out £5 for a reserve match.
At least there was a healthy gathering of
488, which included Hans Segers, Pat Jennings, Adekunle Odetoyinbo (the
club's fitness coach), John Gorman, Chris Hughton and Glenn Hoddle, who
were huddle together in the centre of the stand. The ground had
changed since our pre-season friendly there, with steel framework for a
roof over the stand behind the goal that housed the Spurs stand that
very wet evening, which will give the ground four covered stands.
It is obvious that they have done well out of this deal with Spurs
playing their games there.
Spurs were attacking the building site
end in the first half and there was a fair amount of midfield jousting
going on. Piercy let fly from distance with a shot that went over
Flowers' goal. There was some purposeful build-up play from
Tottenham, but a lack of killer instinct at the end of it (sound
familiar ??). Balls were slung into the box without any real
intent to pick out a white shirt, while players were not moving to make
space when we had good possession outside the area.
Tottenham took the lead deservedly in the
35th minute, when Sergei Rebrov rose above a static defence to head home
Etherington's corner powerfully past the Leicester keeper. The
best moment came when Piercy raided down the left to put over a first
time cross and Steven Ferguson running in had a clear header.
Unfortunately, he failed to get decent contact on it and it slipped off
his forehead and went wide, when he had only to get a good header in and
it was a certain goal.
As the half drew to a close, the home
side pressed home their advantage and Toner strode forward to hit a
cross shot from the right hand side of the box, which went past the
post, while Ferguson did get one on target, but Flowers beat out his
fierce shot, only for it to rebound to Matthew Etherington. His follow
up was struck first time, but went over the bar and into the new stand.
The second half started with Calderwood
bringing on Kelly for Keller, who had only one real shot to save in his
45 minutes on the pitch, when Gary Parker (yes, he's still playing) hit
a strong shot destined for the corner, which Kasey pushed away.
Having received a kick to his ankle in the first period, Sherwood made
way after the break for Johnnie Jackson.
It was a couple of minutes into the half
that Spurs went further ahead. A move saw some nice passing across
the face of the Leicester penalty area and Sergei laid the ball wide to
the right corner of the box, where Ciaran Toner arrived to send a
powerful drive arrowing past Flowers and bulged the back of the
net. The young Irishman looked delighted with himself and with
good reason. The front two for the Foxes had been giving Spurs a
physical going-over all night and Trevor Benjamin struck a good shot
that nearly brought down the structure for the new roof !! His
younger partner, Matthew Piper had rained shots on the Tottenham goal in
the first half, without to much accuracy, but he got his reward in the
55th minute, when Gavin Kelly took a back-pass and topped the ball as he
attempted to pass it wide. The ball stopped and Piper nipped in to
go around Kelly and stroke it home.
Spurs stepped it up again and had chances
through our star striker Sergei Rebrov. He showed good effort
tonight and some exasperation as his team mates were either not on the
same wavelength as him or were not running to close others down when he
went to a defender with the ball. His first chance was latching
onto a long ball, but a blue shirted defender got back to deny him, then
Leo threaded the ball into the box for the Ukrainian. He twisted
past his defender and just as he went to go round Flowers, he was
brought down by a defender. A few moments later he drove a fierce
volley over the bar. The ref blew the whistle and as we expected
him to point to the spot, he pointed towards the Spurs goal and he had
awarded a free-kick to Leicester !! No-one knew what for though
!! Towards the end, Sergei hit a stunning free-kick over the wall
and got it down to hit the post with the keeper stranded.
Unfortunately, it bounced across the goal-line and out.
Other than a couple of headers by Gardner
that went wide form corners, Spurs didn't produce a lot more and it was
left to Gavin Kelly to redeem himself with a flying save from a Parker
free-kick to stop a point slipping form Tottenham's grasp.
So another home win and a better
performance than the match against Arsenal. Jackson showed that he
is progressing nicely, with some thoughtful first time passing after
coming on. Thatcher did what he had to do and didn't react on a
couple of occasions he was hit late. Alongside him, Gardner looked
class, even without much match practice. Leo buzzed around, but I
would have liked to see a bit more quality from him, while Sherwood did
OK in the first half, encouraging the younger players. Piercy was
a dynamo in midfield and Ferguson showed lots of confidence although
tonight, it just didn't work for him.
The side showed that they are adapting
well to Hoddle's passing philosophy and they moved the ball around
effortlessly. The ease with which they opened up the young
Leicester side was perhaps not surprising as most of the Spurs team had
some first team experience. The surprise was that they did not
play through Rebrov more. I presume he was playing to get match
practice and to sharpen him up. He was often missed out in the
moves and looked like a fish out of water with his skills not being
properly employed. In the second half, he showed he can shoot as
well as provide and those abilities will be needed soon in the first
team, so he should be getting the chance to put them into practice
now. The youngsters around him can only learn from what he
does. He just needs the belief to play him in to do so.
Spurs :- Keller (Kelly 46), Toner,
Thelwell, Gardner, Thatcher; Leonhardsen, Sherwood (Jackson 46), Piercy,
Etherington, Rebrov, Ferguson (Kamanan 74)
Subs not used :- Consorti, O'Donoghue
Marco van Hip