|Coming into the second leg of the
semi-final 1-2 down from the game at Goodison, Spurs really had to chase
it from the start.
Maybe this explained the direct approach
they adopted, but by the time they had found their form, they were a
further two goals down and it could have been more.
The lively lads of Everton took the
initiative early on and lanky striker Symes was put clear through, but
lamely hit a shot high over when he only had Burch to beat. The
respite didn't last for long as a Spurs defender had to keep out a
fierce over-head volley from the highly rated youngster Rooney, as it
looked like it would sneak inside the post.
He was to get the ball into the net in
the eleventh minute though, when he received the ball on the edge of the
box and turned expertly around his man, before slipping the ball beneath
Burch. It was an exquisitely taken goal. One which he could
have added to shortly after when a cross to the far post from the left
at the Paxton Road end found his head, but from a yard out he headed
over the angle of the goal, when it looked easier to score.
Everton were playing some fluid football,
while Spurs struggle to put together any decent moves. The ball
forward to Sutton was employed too often and he was getting little
change out of the formidable Schumacher in the heart of the Toffees
Marcel McKie was adjudged to have fouled
an Everton man about 30 yards out and Rooney ran up to hit the free-kick
goalwards. He was a bit hopeful, as his kick hit the one man wall
and it looked as though the danger was over. However, he hit the
rebound first time and it shot past Rob Burch into the net about three
feet off the ground all the way. It was a truly powerfully struck
shot that stunned everyone except the large Everton contingent among the
So, half an hour gone and 1-4 down on
aggregate. Spurs were still struggling, but towards the end of the
half, they started to put together some passes and earned a corner,
which was landed on Ronnie Henry's head. It was heading goalwards,
but hit Symes and flew just over the goal. Just on half-time
another corner caused consternation in the visitor's defence and Mark
Hughes diving low, headed the ball about a yard wide with the goal at
In the second half, Everton rarely
threatened. Rooney was the main danger as he hit the side netting
with one effort and forced Burch to dive at his feet to end a mazy run,
which put his off sufficiently to miss. The only other moment of
panic came right near the end, when Rooney again darted into the box and
dived over Burch's block. It was a blatant attempt to win a
penalty, which spoiled his performance somewhat. Symes was also
guilty of what they call simulation, but the ref was determined to keep
his match report short by not booking anyone.
As for Spurs, they still plugged away
with Hughes industrious in midfield, while Henry and O'Donoghue tied up
the defence well. When Galbraith was brought on, Tottenham were
given some width and he was the target of a number of passes to open out
the Everton defence. This gave Tottenham some impetus and Lee
Barnard had a couple of chances - one a well directed long shot that
just flew over and another a header that went wide, while Marney had
also driven over form long range too. The introduction of Ben
Bowditch and Michael Malcolm finally added some class to the Spurs
side. Bowditch kept things moving in midfield and managed to get
his head to Stephen Kelly's right wing cross to divert it across the
goalkeeper and two defenders on the line and into the net.
There followed a period of four minutes
injury time, which allowed Spurs to attack some more, but they were
unable to breach the Everton back line again and they go through to the
final as worthy winners. They controlled the game and looked the
better side for the majority of the match. Tottenham had gone a
long way in this competition, but had met a very good side and not truly
performed to the best of their ability over the two legs.
Few players really stood out on this
night, but there will be more opportunities for some of them next year,
while others will move up to the reserve squad for next season.
But with the Under-17 play off match on Saturday, the next big match
soon comes around.
Rob Burch, Stephen Kelly, Ronnie Henry, Paul O'Donoghue, Marcel McKie;
Mark Hughes, Dean Marney (Michael Malcolm 78), Lee Barnett (Ben Bowditch
65), Nicky Wettner (David Galbraith 52); John Sutton, Lee Barnard.
Unused subs: - Paul Rutherford, Mario Noto
Moogan, Crowder, Schumacher, Gardside (Flood 80); Moogan, Brown, Beck (Colbeck
75), Carney; Symes, Rooney.
Unused subs: - Cole, Jones, Gerrard
Marco van Hip