FA PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE
MONDAY 19TH NOVEMBER, 2001
(at Broadhall Way, Stevenage)
SPURS RESERVES 2 (0) FULHAM RESERVES 1 (1)
Rebrov (2), 78, 81
Attendance:- Est 500
Referee:- Mr P. Melin
Spurs (4-4-2):- Beasant; Thelwell, Bunjevcevic, Gardner, Thatcher; Davies, Leonhardsen, Piercy (Capt), Rebrov; Ferguson (sub Snee, 84), Iversen (sub Kamanan, 59)
Subs not used:- Kelly; Consorti; Vedeux
Fulham (4-4-2):- Taylor; Knight, Symons (Capt), Quaddou, Harley; Boa Morte, Trollope, Clark, McAnespie; Stolcers (sub Willock, 72), Betsy
Subs not used:- Hahnemann (GK); Hutchinson, Hammond, Hudson
Two goals from Sergei Rebrov in the space of 3 minutes late in the second half gave Spurs a deserved win, after they had fallen behind just before half-time to a goal out of the blue from midfielder Paul Trollope. These teams were second and third respectively in the recently published league table, and both fielded strong sides to challenge Derby for the top spot.
It was Fulham who came out of the stalls fastest, and for a while the Spurs defence struggled to contain the pace of Boa Morte on the right (giving Thatcher a torrid time), and Betsy in the middle. Dave Beasant (who must be relishing his two month contract) was tested early on, but enjoyed his game, and had less to worry about as the game went on. Once Spurs got control in defence they were on top, although Fulham looked more balanced in the middle, winning more second balls from an attacking Spurs side, which welcomed back Steffen Iversen from injury, allowing Rebrov to sit behind the front two. Steven Ferguson made a welcome return to the home crowd, and dazzled with his pace and skill, turning up left right and centre of the park.
Beasant made an excellent save after just 5 minutes as Betsy ran onto a long clearance and was through for a one on one with the big keeper, who does look in trim condition. Boa Morte then whistled past Thatcher, feeding the ball to Betsy who brought another save from the Spurs keeper. Fulham kept up the early pressure, hitting the bottom of the post direct from a corner, with the defence in a state of confusion. Spurs first real attack ended with a blocked shot from Leonhardsen.
Iversen was winning a lot of balls in the air, and must fancy his chance to take Ferdinand's place when fit. (He was replaced after an hour) There were several good moves featuring Iversen, Ferguson and Davies, but their final balls failed before the goal could be threatened in those early stages.
After 21 minutes Iversen reacted quickly to steal the ball from Taylor, and cross with Leo and Ferguson in the box. Taylor recovered well to make a double save from Ferguson, and Simon Davies could only shoot wide and high from beyond the far post, when he should have had the ball in the net. Ferguson then had a couple of good runs down the left, when he had the beating of young Zat Knight. On the second occasion, he made a Thatcher long ball his own, only to shoot past the post.
Fulham's lead came against the run of play, when a half clearance from Bunjevcevic fell at the feet of Trollope who clipped a 30 yarder over Beasant with a first time shot.
On 54 minutes, a deep cross from Rebrov was heading for Leonhardsen lurking at the far post, and Knight did well to head for a corner. Anthony Gardner then made a super saving tackle when Betsy was through with the goal beckoning. This was Gardner's best game of the season, I thought. He was not up against a big striker, but he asserted himself convincingly, and matched the attack for pace too.
Spurs were lifting the tempo, and Davies tested the keeper with a long low shot to the left post, after he collected a short pass from Thelwell, advancing down the right. Then Thelwell himself had a crack with a rising shot, but Taylor saved this and the following shot from Yannick Kamanan. Kamanan started up front, but Chris Hughton offered his advice to Colin Calderwood, and this seemed to cause Kamanan to drop back, to allow Rebrov to move up front. This was to pay dividends, but not before Kamanan beat Taylor, only to hit the bottom of the post, and then John Piercy hit a cracker from 25 yards just wide.
The equaliser came when Steven Ferguson found Rebrov in space on the right from a long ball, and Sergei was able to delicately clip the ball over the advancing keeper. Three minutes later Rebrov was at the near post to meet a powerful Piercy corner, and head home. After that, it was a case of holding onto that lead, with Beasant tested only once more by a Betsy shot after a free kick 25 yards out.
Stevenage have an electronic scoreboard similar to the old one in the North Stand at White Hart lane, and it announced the next match against Wimbledon next Monday night. This is a change to the schedule and will need to be confirmed.
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