Spurs Odyssey reporter Thomas McNamara reports on this game:-
FA PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE
MONDAY 1ST OCTOBER, 2001
SOUTHAMPTON 1 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0)
Southampton: Moss, Dodd, Benali, Gray, Monk, Gibbens, Le Tissier, Draper, Rosler, Petrescu (Baird 46), Ripley.
Subs: Bevan, Rodrigues, Wallace, Ela Eyene.
Spurs: Kelly, Consorti, Thatcher, Gardner, Thelwell, Sherwood, Piercy, Leonhardsen, Etherington, Ferguson (Kamanan 71), Rebrov.
Subs: Burch; O'Donoghue; Snee; Kamanan, Barnard.
On a rainy and windswept night I hauled my still shell-shocked and deeply
depressed bones down to the new St. Mary's Friend's Provident Stadium in
Southampton. Both teams fielded what on paper looked two reasonable sides
with approximately the same number of potential first teamers in each side.
Saints included Dodd, Benali, Le Tiss, Draper, Rossler, Petrescue, and
Ripley whilst THFC fielded Thatcher, Thelwell, Gardner, Piercy, Leo,
Sherwood, Etherington, and Dear old Sergei.
Sitting in the stands ten minutes before the game I felt we could be in for
a reasonable game and one I felt that THFC should have a good chance of
winning. My enthusiasm began to drain at the end of the first minute when
Saints launched an attack on the Tottenham goal which led to their first
corner. After this the game moved to the other end of the park started by
Gardner through Leo to Sergei who had a shot, which went nowhere. After
this Saints began to take control of the game. They seemed to be taking it
seriously whilst Tottenham just seemed to be going through the motions.
After nearly 5 minutes Saints launched an attack from left to right which
found Le Tiss who shot and just missed.
To be honest Saints took the game to us throughout. Fed and enthused by
what must have been an attendance of 8 - 9,000 (if not more), Saints moved
the ball well and showed a lot of heart and determination. Tottenham's
stars looked jaded and removed. The only joy I could really take from this
match is that Gardner looked imperious at the heart of the Spurs defence.
Thelwell too had some good moments and poor old Sergei was trying his heart
out but he was all alone out front and Tottenham couldn't seem to get the
ball to him on the ground - as usual. He did have a couple of shots but
they were from 10, 12, 15 yards out and never really troubled Moss in the
Thatcher was not inspiring at left back and was tricked and beaten a number
of times by Saints attacks via the left wing especially Le Tiss. Sherwood
did nothing much, Leo looked like he was trying as did Etherington and
Ferguson got himself booked for what I'll never know. Spurs had no real
shape in my opinion and no heart and the sooner they get Peter Taylor in to
take control the better as far as I am concerned.
To see Sergei Rebrov playing in that team in a half empty stadium with a team that can't exploit
his skills was so wasteful. How GH can put Ferdinand in the first team and
leave this little dynamo languishing in mediocrity is something I just
cannot come to terms with. For sure if the Sergei situation continues he
will leave, I cannot see him continuing as a Spurs player if things
continue as they are. Balancing the books is all very well but balancing
the side is paramount. Rebrov is a genius and deserves a proper run in the
first team playing in his best position and being supported by players who
can utilise his skill and can understand his footballing brain.
To be honest it was dire.
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