TUESDAY 15TH MAY, 2001
FA PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0) COVENTRY CITY 2 (1)
Bothroyd 10 (pen), 61
Referee:- G. Chapman
Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Consorti, Hillier (Capt), Toner, Lacy; McEwen (sub Barnard, 63), Jackson, Piercy, Etherington; Kamanan (sub Quilter, 77), Ferguson (sub Kelly, 86)
Sub not used:- Marney (only 4 available)
Booked:- Piercy (Diving)
Sent off:- Etherington (during half time interval), Walker (86) - both assumed for "Foul and abusive language"
Coventry (4-4-2):- Montgomery; Gustafsson, Edworthy, Davenport, Hall; Delorge, Noon, Betts (Capt), Normann; Ashby, Bothroyd
Subs not used:- Miller; Fahlman, Kenna, Magennis, Jephcott
There were storms inside and outside White Hart Lane tonight, as the reserves' season ended in controversy and disappointment. We needed a win tonight to stand a chance of finishing second in the league behind Derby, but Coventry, with two goals from ex-gooner Jay Bothroyd, stunned the hosts into submission, and secured that second place for themselves. Whilst their first team counterparts will play in the Nationwide next season, Coventry's second string will have a chance to show their wares in this league for two more years under the "Umbrella Safety net rules". (This ensures that relegated sides' reserve teams continue to play in the Premier reserve league for an additional two seasons)
Referee Chapman also stunned those present with his harsh discipline, and a host of decisions that went against Tottenham. It took us ten minutes to realise that Matty Etherington had not re-appeared after the interval, and with no announcements being made during the game, we deduced that he had been sent off in the tunnel on the way off or back onto the pitch. Spurs had struggled enough with 11 on the pitch and stood no chance of competing after the re-start. Ian Walker was also shown red just before the end for vehemently contesting a decision, which meant we had to finish with 9 on the field. Believe it or not, those 9 battled away, and could have sneaked an equaliser. What a miracle that would have been! As it is, both Walker and Etherington will start next season with a suspension.
There was also no sign of Mauricio Taricco, which meant that young Lacy started. With Consorti having to cope on the right, Spurs were exposed, and sadly their midfield failed to find men often enough, and also struggled to hold Noon and Betts. Bothroyd was a thorn in our side throughout, and no doubt felt inspired by his antecedents to do well.
Ian Walker was sharp from the outset, having to make a good diving save to a Noon curling shot, and then stretching well to tip a cross from the ensuing corner over the bar. Spurs struggled to get a foot on the ball, and Hillier was having to make bold tackles to deter Ashby and Bothroyd. Hillier certainly does not shirk from a physical battle, It seemed to me that the referee gave Coventry a head start when he awarded a penalty for handball against Maurizio Consorti. Bothroyd stepped up and made no mistake from the spot after 10 minutes.
Gradually, Spurs got into the game, and John Piercy was spraying some good long passes around from the back of midfield. Unfortunately, once again, Etherington was not making the most of his possession, and generally, our control and passing was lacking. Ferguson looks sharp, and has some nice touches of skill, but he had to be sacrificed in the end to allow Kelly to replace Walker.
The best we did in the first half was manage about two minutes worth of pressure, which culminated in McEwen hitting a low cross in front of goal, missing everyone. Coventry dominated after the break, and had a "goal" disallowed for offside after 52 minutes. On the hour, we actually managed a shot on goal, when McEwen picked the ball up on the left, ran to the middle, turned and hit a low shot to the goalie's right. We thought the keeper got a touch, but the ref thought otherwise.
A couple of minutes later, Coventry went two up, as Bothroyd rose at the near post to a left field cross, and glanced a header across Walker and into the net. Promising youngsters Lee Barnard and James Quilter got a chance to impress, and Theo Foley tried a 3-4-2 formation to at least take the game to the opposition more. Spurs were rewarded for their endeavours when Ciaron Toner from the edge of the area only half-hit a shot that goalkeeper Montgomery allowed to creep under his body. Even Toner was too embarrassed to celebrate!
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