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Southampton Reserves v Spurs Reserves, 01.10.01

Spurs Odyssey reporter Thomas McNamara reports on this game:-

FA PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE
MONDAY 1ST OCTOBER, 2001
SOUTHAMPTON 1 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0)
Scorer:-
Baird, 63

Attendance:- 8,658

Teams:-
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 Saints goal.

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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