THURSDAY 4TH OCTOBER, 2001
PETERBOROUGH 1 (1) SPURS XI 4 (3)
Referee:- Mr P. Barnes
Peterborough: 1st half: Connor, Hooper, Jelleyman, Shields, Thomas, Edwards, French, Forsyth, McKenzie, Fenn (Captain), Farrell.
2nd half: Steele, Hooper, Williams, Shields, Joseph, Murray, Semple, Bullard, Green, Clarke, Lehtinen.
Spurs: Kelly (Jalal, 81), Consorti (sub O'Donoghue, 73), Gardner (sub Thelwell, 86), Thelwell (sub Henry, 81), Thatcher; Leonhardsen, Piercy, Snee (sub Barnard, 67),Etherington (Captain, sub Slabber, 81); Kamanan, Ferguson,
Casual visitors to London Road expecting to see any of the big names of Tottenham Hotspur were disappointed as they found that Colin Calderwood was in charge of a reserve side that was even missing Kasey Keller, Ciaron Toner, and Johnnie Jackson, as well as non Internationals Ferdinand and Richards, who the locals had been hoping to see. Barry Fry's Peterborough have a league game against Northampton on Sunday, but they went at Spurs full tilt for the first 20 minutes, exploiting a weak left flank, and taking a deserved lead through a solo goal from French, who burst through the defence, although I felt there was a suspicion of him fouling the Spurs defender in the penalty area before beating the otherwise impenetrable Gavin Kelly.
Kelly had an excellent game, making at least four top class saves, and to be honest, I do feel the scoreline flatters Spurs as we never controlled the game. Neale Fenn played a prominent part in the first half, and captained the home side, whilst Matty Etherington was given the honour for Spurs as he re-visited his former home. Etherington capped a fine personal performance with a 78th minute goal, before being substituted to take a deserved ovation from home and away fans. It was Anthony Gardner who took the Spurs man of the match award though, with an excellent all-round performance, almost always having time to display confident defending, and also showing plenty of speed to recover when necessary.
George Snee took a midfield role, and was the first Spurs player to show any skills with some fine control when receiving the ball. At the other end though, Leon McKenzie was a thorn in Alton Thelwell's side, but fortunately for Spurs he was substituted after only 27 minutes, when the threat dissipated. McKenzie had been able to burst through the defence almost at will, ably supported by David Farrell on the left flank. McKenzie left Thelwell standing to have only Kelly to beat after 8 minutes. The striker did the right thing by shooting across the keeper, but his shot also swung away from the goal.
Gavin Kelly made his first super save from close range after 14 minutes from an Andy Edwards header from a corner. Kelly was soon alert to the threat from the left back who ran onto a threaded ball and crossed. Kelly was out swiftly to the danger. French's goal came after 19 minutes, and soon Kelly was having to save again at short range, this time from McKenzie who had left Alton behind.
Thatcher was next to save the day, as the young Consorti was left behind by the big striker. Spurs had mustered little at the other end and equalised with their first effective attack, through Oyvind Leonhardsen, who latched onto a delivery from Kamanan and Ferguson after a build up through the middle. Two minutes later, Stephen Ferguson fired home an Etherington free kick, taken on the right. Matthew does not often get to take these kicks, and demonstrated considerable ability. Being Captain for the day helps to get such opportunities! Etherington was the provider again, as Kamanan made his ball his own, to round the keeper, and shoot from a sharp angle on the left side of the area.
Peterborough fielded a new team in the second half, and still had most of the possession, without causing too much trouble for Kelly, thanks to some astute work from Gardner. Ben Thatcher renewed his acquaintance with former Wimbledon team mate Andy Clarke, and to be honest looked fairly ordinary, even in this company.
Etherington nearly scored with an audacious free kick taken 35 yards out on the right, which was pushed round the corner by the keeper. Kelly made one more great save from the striker able to collect a long ball, whilst Gardner uncharacteristically watched it go though. A rare attack from Spurs ended with a reasonable shot from Thatcher, which was parried by the keeper, and with 12 minutes left, Matty ran onto a super ball from Leo to beat the offside trap, and shoot past the keeper from the left side of the box.
Despite this being a low key game, the display of Anthony Gardner, more than any of the goals, made the trip up the A1 worthwhile. Sadly, he suffered an injury 4 minutes before the finish, and had to be replaced by Alton Thelwell, who had previously been substituted. Naturally we hope that Anthony has not got another long term injury.
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