This fine report, exclusively for Spurs Odyssey, comes from Jonathan Adelman. Thanks very much Jon!
WEDNESDAY 1ST AUGUST, 2001
READING 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1)
Spurs (3-5-2):- 1 Sullivan;2 Carr,3 Doherty,4 Freund,5 Bunjevcevic,6 King,7 Anderton,8 Poyet,9 Ferdinand,10 Ziege,11 Rebrov
Subs not used: Kelly, Clemence, Tarrico, Perry, Iversen, Davies, Leonhardsen, Sherwood.
Reading (4-4-2):- 1 Whitehead,2 Whitbread,3 Robinson,4 Viveash (Igoe, 67),5 Parkinson(Gamble, 67),6 Williams,7 Rougier(Henderson, 78),8 Harper,9 Butler(Fashanu, 82),10 Murty (Casper, 82),11 Smith
The Madejski Stadium was apparently sold out last night although there were
a number of empty seats around the ground the South Stand where the Spurs
fans were sat was packed out with about 6,000 with a fair smattering of
"Holsten" shirts elsewhere in the ground. The nearly 22,000 that battled
through heavy traffic to the ground were rewarded with a display of pure
football the likes of which I have not witnessed from a Spurs team in many
many years, if ever. Now I appreciate of course that this was a pre-season
game against 2nd Division opposition but the fluidity, instinctive ness and
incisiveness of our passing movements, especially in the second half were
truly a joy to watch. Only the brilliance of the Reading keeper, Whitehead,
saved Reading from a serious hiding.
Paul Smith will also be gutted to learn that shirt sleeves were well in
truly in order again! (Ed - I was enjoying a cool beer by a lake in Switzerland at the time!)
Spurs lined up with Sullivan in goal and a back three of Doherty on the
right of Bunjevcevic, with King on the left of the three centre backs. Carr
and Ziege were employed as wing backs. Freund took the holding role in
midfield and Anderton and Poyet the more creative roles of the central trio.
Rebrov was up front, dropping off Ferdinand. The team that started the
game also finished it apparently so that Glenn could assess the fitness
levels of players and he has intimated that a different team will be
employed at Millwall on Saturday for the same reason. The one surprise in
the line ups was that Teddy Sheringham was not even on the bench and this
was apparently because of a slight calf strain.
Whilst Spurs went with a 3-5-2, Reading played a flat back four and whilst
my distance from the pitch made it tricky to know who was who in the Reading
team the early exchanges demonstrated that Reading have some useful quick
forward players who move well and can dribble. In the first half they were
allowed to dictate play in the midfield although only once did this lead to
a concrete chance but Sullivan was off his line quickly and whilst Harper
steered the ball away from Sully, Doherty out-paced the striker to the ball
and shielded it out for a goal kick. The game was quite hard fought and if
it had not been a friendly I'm sure a few yellow cards would have been
brandished. Doherty himself was fairly physical tonight - but didn't lose a
single tackle, he looks like picking up from where he left off last season.
He is no doubt a centre back in my view and the back three last night looked
comfortable as a unit and the level of passing from the back was very
impressive, although Bunjee's longer range passing was a bit off colour until
the second half.
Whitehead pulled of his first top class save to deny Poyet after about 20
minutes but five minutes later he was left very exposed when a lovely ball
from Bunjee to Les found the big man on the half way line back to goal, Les
executed a great body roll and raced away from his marker in to the ball.
Rather than lash a hopeful shot from a tightish angle, he checked and slid
the ball square for Poyet who stroked the ball home. Poyet's runs from deep
on the blind side are frequent and as the game wore on the knowledge of
where he, Carr and Ziege would be led to some breathtaking one touch passing
moves with the ball being swept back and forth across the pitch without the
players seeming to look up to check that their team mate was there - poor
Reading barely touched the ball in the second half! We seem to have worked
hard on the art of retaining the ball and that will be a vital component to
improving out dismal away form from last season.
Anyway, back to the game.... and on to Darren Anderton who in my opinion
made us tick last night. In the early stages he was deployed in an advanced
role and did a lot of tackling but we had a minor and subtle reshuffle at
the break and in the second half Dazza played deeper and suddenly we
controlled the midfield and he dominated the game spraying long and short
passes all over the field and linking beautifully with Carr, Ziege, Poyet
and Rebrov for intricate one-two's. Dazza also had a couple of excellent
efforts very well saved by Whitehead, one from a free kick and one in the
second half from a volley outside the box which seemed destined for the
Whitehead had previously produced a truly superb reaction save just before
the break from a 10 yards out Ferdinand volley that should by rights have
ripped the netting from the goal!
Midway through the second half one of the passing moves was nearly rewarded
with a fine goal, this time Ziege was the beneficiary of a lightening move
involving Poyet, Carr, Anderton and Rebrov ended with Ziege meeting a cross
first time with a rasping drive that Whitehead tipped over.
Then it was Poyet's turn to get in on the act, meeting a Carr cross with a
diving header which he really should have hit the target with but he nearly
made amends a moment later when he played a cheeky one-two with Les who
sprinted towards the box but dragged his effort wide.
Rebrov was looking really sharp and so obviously thrives on the type of
football we now try and play that he must think he is at a different club!
He was always buzzing in and around the box and had a couple of snap shots
one of which led to a corner from which Ziege found Bunjee who send a header
towards the top corner only to see Whitehead finger-tip the ball onto the
bar and post and then wide. Rebrov however grabbed the deserved second
moments before the end with a super goal and one that demonstrated I think
why Ziege will be a good buy for us. Bear in mind the 90 minutes are almost
up and the ball is being knocked about by Reading on the half way line.
Ziege makes a 15 yard run to intercept a pass, dispossesses the Reading man,
sprints 30 yards deep in to the Reading half holding off two challenges
before picking out Rebrov with a perfect left foot pass which Rebrov
received with a jink to his right before leathering the ball from 20 yards
back the other way across the keeper in to the bottom corner.
A very convincing performance all in all and one where we got a hint of the
kind of football this group of players in capable of. Another final and
pleasing note was that after a lacklustre first half Stevie Carr clicked in
to gear (sorry!!) in the second period and looked very much like his old
Top of page | Back to Friendly Fixtures and Results