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Spurs Reserves v Coventry Reserves, 22.10.01

FA PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE
MONDAY 22ND OCTOBER, 2001
(at Broadhall Way, Stevenage)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR RESERVES 3 (0) COVENTRY RESERVES 2 (1)

Spurs scorers:-
Sherwood, 55
Kamanan, 69
Rebrov, 70

Coventry scorers:-
Davenport, 26
Zuniga, 49

Referee:- Mr A. Woolmer

Attendance:- estimated 500

Teams:-
Spurs (3-5-2):- Keller; Thelwell, Bunjevcevic, Gardner; Leonhardsen, Piercy (Capt.), Sherwood, Toner, Thatcher; Rebrov, Kamanan

Subs not used:- Kelly; Consorti; Galbraith, Snee, Sutton

Booked:- Bunjevcevic, Piercy, Rebrov (all fouls)

Coventry (4-4-2):- Brush; Antonelius, Edworthy (sub Spong, 46), Davenport, Guerrero; Telfer, Quinn, Strachan, Normann; Zuniga, McSheffrey

Subs not used:- Montgomery (GK); Fowler, Magennis

Booked:- Spong, Pead (both fouls)

Having gone two goals down shortly after the interval, thanks to a spectacular shot from Yarael Zuniga, Spurs made a marvellous comeback to win an entertaining and highly competitive game 3-2 with goals from the front two plus one from Tim Sherwood, who spent the second half in an advanced position supporting Kamanan and Rebrov closely. The move paid off, together with some extra spark no doubt put into the side at half time by coach Colin Calderwood. Coventry had dominated the play in the first period, and were worth their lead. Spurs attacks had been sporadic, and often dissipated due to Oyvind Leonhardsen's inability to control many decent balls sent into his path down the right wing.

A strong side was missing reserves' stalwarts Etherington, Jackson, and Ferguson. Bunjevcevic wore his mask and played in the middle of the back three, being given the licence to move forward, and spray the ball to try and start a number of attacks. Toner started on the left flank, but was soon withdrawn to the centre midfield alongside skipper John Piercy. I have to say that Ben Thatcher was largely anonymous, and often caught stranded when the ball was lost and Coventry forged most of their attacks down their right flank. Anthony Gardner once again looked uncomfortable on the ball tonight, and is a long way from forcing his way back into Premiership reckoning.

Coventry were dynamic, and took advantage of the Spurs inexperience in the middle, utilising the skills of Runar Normann on the left, and young striker Gary McSheffrey. The game was quite physical, and Zuniga was to upset Sherwood with a heavy tackle from behind. Some would suggest that Sherwood deliberately fired a pass at the Peruvian International to get his own back. Sherwood was certainly close to becoming the sixth name in the referee's book with his involvement in physical and verbal events during the game!

Sherwood nearly opened the scoring after 7 minutes, when Toner passed on Bunjevcevic's ball. Tim hit a left foot shot just wide of goal. McSheffrey responded for the Sky Blue's when he rounded Bunjevcevic and Thelwell to hit a smart shot, only to bring a cute save from Kasey Keller. Coventry took the lead after 26 minutes. Thelwell fouled Zuniga on the edge of the area, and whilst Keller had the free kick covered, it was deflected by the wall into the path of advancing centre back Calum Davenport, who pounced and finished. Davenport is a beefier and slightly shorter Peter Crouch lookalike, and looked more mature than his 18 years.

There was an exciting passage of play after 32 minutes, when Sherwood flicked another Bunjevcevic ball into the path of Kamanan, who chased, but was beaten to the ball by keeper Brush. The long clearance reached McSheffrey who was unmarked where Gardner and Thatcher should have been covering, but put his shot wide of the mark.

When Zuniga increased the lead, it looked as if Coventry were going to take the points. Out of nothing he created the space to hit a magnificent curling left footed dipping shot towards the top right corner. Keller flew and got a pretty strong touch. I thought he had made a great save, but the power and spin on the shot took it beyond him and over the line.

Spurs picked up the initiative now, and got back into the game when Piercy's half-hit shot somehow got through the defence for Sherwood to shoot. The goalkeeper saved but could not hold the ball, and Tim followed up to clip the ball home. Another Bunjee long ball found Leonhardsen, who shot wide, before Sherwood flicked yet another Bunjee ball on to Kamanan who ran powerfully and hit a right foot shot that the keeper pushed over the bar. The crowd was enjoying the fare put before them, and sensed more goals.

Kamanan turned provider for Sherwood, as he picked up another glorious pass on the left flank, putting a low pass into Sherwood's path. Tim hit this just too high, when it looked easy to score. Gardner headed a corner into the ground and over the bar, before Spurs equalised on 69 minutes. Yet again Sherwood flicked a long ball on for Kamanan to hit a left foot drive into the left corner.

Within a minute Spurs had the lead, as Thatcher picked up a Rebrov header; crossed for Sherwood to head back to Sergei who hit a strong left foot shot into the net. Mr Thatcher did not join in the celebrations, and I was concerned at his body language throughout the game, and wonder if he knows he has no future at the Lane? For the rest of the game, Spurs had to defend stoutly, and succeeded. Quinn got a good shot in, despite the attentions of Gardner, and Keller had to tip over Gavin Strachan's free kick on the edge of the box, after Gardner had fouled Davenport.

After the final whistle, both sides indulged in a public warm-down session, something which seems new to Spurs. Steve Sedgeley was once again amongst the guests, as were the Coventry chairman, Rushden and Diamonds manager Brian Talbot, and of course, our Glenn! Next week, the reserves entertain Watford, and who knows, we could see Ramon Vega play, as he is currently reduced to non-playing substitute at Vicarage Road.

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