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Wycombe Wandererers v Spurs , 21.07.01

SATURDAY 21ST JULY, 2001
FRIENDLY MATCH
WYCOMBE WANDERERS 1 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (0)

Wycombe scorer:-
Senda, 60

Spurs scorers:-
Sheringham, 55
Iversen, 77

Referee:- Mr M. Tingey

Attendance:- 8,018

Teams:-

Wycombe (4-5-1):- Osborn; Marsh, Cousins, McCarthy, Vinnicombe; Carroll (sub Emblen, 58), Bulman, Brown (sub Lee, 65), Simpson, Currie; Senda (sub Phelan, 78)

Spurs (3-5-2):- Sullivan; Perry, Bunjevcevic, King; Carr, Anderton (sub Sherwood, 73), Poyet, Clemence, Taricco (sub Ziege, 65); Sheringham (sub Rebrov, 73), Ferdinand (Capt) (sub Iversen, 65)

Subs not used:- Burch (GK); Doherty, Young; Davies

In my view, this was the least convincing of our pre-season performances to date, and Spurs only provided real sparkle to the game once the substitutions were made after the interval. Believe it or not, I feel that we missed Sherwood's long range passing in the first period, as Poyet played a more advanced role supporting the front two, and Anderton too often ran into dead ends, although he did show a bit more grit at times. Of course, one should place on record that Teddy scored on his second debut in Spurs' colours, and that Christian Ziege also made a debut, making an impressive substitute appearance in the second half.

For much of the game, Wycombe played only Danny Senda up front, as they got their men behind the ball to frustrate the Spurs. Senda did get a lot of support though from the likes of cup hero Steve Brown and new signing Darren Currie (from Barnet). Carroll too proved to be a thorn in the side at times.

Spurs reserves were in action at Barnet today (lost 3-1), and substitute goalkeeper Burch must have been really chuffed to have Teddy Sheringham testing him with target practice in the warm-up. Teddy had some nice touches - not least the two testing free kicks he fired at Wanderers goalkeeper Osborn, but he clearly needs a game or two under his belt. Just occasionally, he and Poyet would insert something clever into the game, but the Spurs midfield failed to dominate, and Clemence was anonymous for too long in the first half.

Sheringham tested the keeper for the first time after just five minutes, after Gus Poyet had been fouled just outside the area. It was a lovely dipping curling right to left shot, that the keeper did well to push over for a corner. A couple of minutes later, a Sheringham ball found Taricco on the edge of the box. As he advanced, seemingly into a scoring position, Osborn did well, and just enough to prevent good contact on the ball. Spurs were failing to dominate their lesser opposition, and Wycombe managed to carry the ball into good positions, without making too much threat on Sullivan. Senda is a pacy player, who was frustrated by offside decisions.

It is worth recording that Darren Anderton made a gutsy intervention in the middle, which was emulated by Poyet,leading to good build-up play from Sheringham, and a decent shot from Anderton, a yard over the top. Sheringham's second free kick test for Osborn came after Poyet was cynically brought down by Cousins. Once again the keeper saved a similar shot, and from the resulting corner, Teddy hit the post from 6 yards. Taricco was getting into forward positions, and missed a good chance when he headed over a Poyet cross which came from the right.

Into the second half, and after 51 minutes Anderton floated a corner from the left, which the keeper dropped. Poyet was on hand, but headed wide. Spurs took the lead after 55 minutes, when Ferdinand headed an Anderton long ball into the path of Teddy, who finished comfortably with his right foot. Wycombe protested as they thought our returning wanderer had handled the ball, but their claims were to no avail. Carroll had a good chance to equalise two minutes later as he was in space on the left of the area. He took too long on his shot, and Neil Sullivan was able to dive to his right and push the ball round the corner.

It wasn't long before the home side equalised to the great joy of their fans. I thought Currie was offside, but he advanced unchallenged, and Sullivan did well to parry his effort with no defenders in support. However, the ball ran to Senda who made no mistake with his finish on the right of the area. Gus Poyert responded with a classy solo effort from 25 yards as he hit a left foot shot that dipped onto the bar, with the keeper beaten. Almost immediately Gus had shot well saved by the keeper after an exchange with Les Ferdinand. By this time, Ziege and Sherwood were on the field of play, and Sherwood found our new left wing-back with a number of good long balls. Ziege is tall and fast, and has a good shot on him. He made an impressive start today.

Spurs sealed the win with 13 minutes left on the clock, as Steffen Iversen rose at the back post to head home a good deep cross from Stephen Carr. I have to confess to some misgivings at Carr's body language, as he did not join in the celebrations, and only his buddy Stephen Clemence came to acknowledge his effort in the goal. Maybe I am being paranoid, but was this evidence supporting his recent quotes that suggested he might want to play elsewhere?

As for the defence today, it was good to see Ledley King back in action, and looking pretty good on the ball. Perry was his usual self, with too many passes going astray, and Bunjevcevic had a quieter game on this occasion. The officials of course, are also warming up for the new season, and the defenders were unable to have confidence that offsides would be correctly called.

Portsmouth is next upon Wednesday night. I also wish to record that this was my first shirt sleeved game since the opening Premiership game last August.

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