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Spurs Reserves v Leicester Reserves, 24.09.01

FA PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE
MONDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER, 2001
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1) LEICESTER CITY 1 (0)

Spurs scorers:-
Rebrov, 35
Toner, 47

Leicester scorer:-
Piper, 55

Attendance:- 488

Referee:- P. Crossley

Teams:-

Spurs (4-4-2):- Keller (sub Kelly, 46); Toner, Thelwell, Gardner, Thatcher; Leonhardsen, Sherwood (sub Jackson, 46), Piercy (Capt), Etherington; Rebrov, Ferguson (sub Kamanan, 72)

Subs not used:- Consorti, O'Donoghue

No Bookings

Leicester (3-5-2):- Flowers; Lyth (sub McSweeney, 57), Heath, Delaney; Thomas, Purdie (sub Sherman, 55), Oakes, Parker, Smith; Piper, Benjamin

Subs not used:- Stevenson, Price, Noble

No Bookings

A strong Spurs side suffered a nervous closing few minutes protecting their one goal lead, when they really should have had this match sewn up long before the finish. A combination of factors, including a gifted goal by second half keeper Gavin Kelly, an England International keeper (Flowers) in goal for the visitors, and a number of spurned chances meant that the gathered throng was entertained throughout, and enjoyed a tight finish.

Glenn Hoddle and John Gorman will surely have been pleased by the touches of out of favour striker Sergei Rebrov, the midfield form of Oyvind Leonhardsen and Northern Ireland under-21 International Ciaron Toner, who for me was the Spurs man of the match, playing tonight at right back. Toner is quite a utility player, having featured at almost all positions in defence and midfield, and never having let the side down. Tonight he was the more attacking of the full backs, played a number of incisive long passes, and to round it off, scored a cracking winning goal in the second half.

Anthony Gardner showed some good touches as he continues to regain his fitness, and Ben Thatcher looks most un-thug like with his hair grown again. Thatcher looked comfortable, without having the opportunity to shine. Ferguson showed many fine touches, and Etherington was his usual self, getting into good positions, but letting himself down with a poor final ball, or just showing a little too much of the ball to his opponent.

Leicester featured veteran Gary Parker, who is the reserve team coach, the strong man - Trevor Benjamin, and 20 year old Matthew Piper, who was the real thorn in Spurs side tonight, getting a number of shots on goal, and of course that presented goal. Sergei Rebrov was a joy to watch, and got a deserved goal. The first strike came after 11 minutes for reserve's skipper John Piercy who fired over the bar from outside the left of the area. Piercy then turned provider as his threaded ball gave Ferguson a chance, which was blocked.

With Sherwood and Piercy in the middle of the pitch, Spurs played a number of long balls over the defence for Ferguson and Rebrov, but Flowers had to dive and save a cross from Sherwood as he received a long ball on the left of the box. After 28 minutes Etherington raced through the middle, side-stepping the defence cleverly, but his shot went weakly to Flowers. Kasey Keller was not idle though, as he had to fly to save from Parker who was allowed to get into space within the area, after a corner was not defended properly by Spurs.

Rebrov had a free kick charged down outside the area, but then headed us into the lead from the resulting corner. Spurs followed this up with a good move through Thatcher with a long ball to Piercy whose cross found Ferguson who just failed to get enough on his header. There were two more chances for Spurs before the break, as Toner ran onto a Sherwood ball, beating Flowers with his low drive, but just to the right of goal. Flowers then did well to parry a powerful shot from Ferguson, and Etherington, following up, fired well over the bar.

Having made two substitutions at the start of the second half, Spurs gave themselves a two goal cushion within two minutes with a cracking 25 yard power drive from Toner that gave Tim Flowers no chance. However, Leicester were luckily allowed back into the game, when Kelly made an elementary error in allowing a back pass too far out of his reach, and Piper gratefully converted the easy finish. Neither goalkeeping coach Hans Segers, nor Pat Jennings, both of whom were watching, will have been impressed by this, but the nervous Kelly did redeem himself with that late super save.

With an hour gone, Etherington headed on a keeper's clearance, and Serge Rebrov took advantage of an error by Heath to race into the area. Leicester recovered through Flowers and another defender, managing to block the scoring chance. Another good ball from Etherington to Rebrov gave the Ukrainian a chance to demonstrate his silky skills as he turned round the defence and shot to Flowers. Rebrov then gave Leonhardsen a golden chance to score, but Flowers was the hero again with a fine save to push round for a corner. An Etherington corner was headed out to Leo loitering on the edge of the box, but he shot straight to Flowers.

Then came the exciting finish, as first Rebrov curled a free kick around the wall, which hit the inside of the post, rolled across the area, but was cleared for a corner. Just before the final whistle, Kelly had to fly to his right to tip round a Garry Parker free kick, to secure a welcome three points for the Spurs.

The reserves visit Southampton next Monday (any reports would be welcome), and next host West ham at Broadhall way, Stevenage on Tuesday 16th October.

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