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Bohemians v Spurs, 04.03.03

Many thanks to Irish Spurs fan Philip Brady for this exclusive report. It seems that Spurs had the ability to even disappoint their loyal fans for this friendly, and that our so-called stars did not impress the locals

Bohemians (1) 3 Spurs(1) 1
Dalymount Park Dublin 04 March K.O. 1945

Bohemians scorers:-
Keegan, 1
Hawkins, 47
Doyle,57

Spurs scorer:-
Doherty, 28

Attendance:- Full House of 9,000 approx.

Teams:
Bohemians: Kelly, Lynch, Webb (Oman, 86), Hunt, Hawkins, McGuinness (McNally, 60), Ryan (Morrison, 60), Caffrey, Keegan (Doyle, 50), Pereplyotkin, Rutherford (Lester, 80). Subs: Bayes, Cooney, Oman.

Spurs: Sullivan, Carr (Marney, 81), Taricco (Jackson, 63), Toda, Thatcher, King (Thelwell, 63), Anderton, Etherington (Freund, 45), Doherty, Sheringham (Ricketts, 71), Acimovic. Subs: G Kelly, Marney, Henry.

For Spurs fans, this was West Ham Revisited. It was if the nightmare of Upton Park had only reached half time, with the horror continued at a wet and windy Dalymount Park tonight. I was at two previous friendlies against Bohemians, in 1978, when in one of Ossie and Rickies first games, Spurs cantered to a 4-0 win and in 1989, a tighter 2-0 win inspired by Gazza. Nothing like that tonight.

Simply, we were out-fought, out-thought, and out-played by a bunch of semi-pros, who are just 4 DAYS into pre season training (the League of Ireland plays Summer Soccer). Despite the lack of match fitness, they were first to every ball, played very intelligent football, and with any justice, would have won by a much wider margin.

Spurs started with a very strong lineup, but fell behind after 90 seconds when a poorly delivered Bohs corner bobbled across the area for centre forward Paul Keegan to fire home as the static defence just waited for someone else to clear.

It could have been two a few minutes later when a shot bounced away off Neil Sullivan who knew nothing about it.

A small but noisy bunch of Bohs fans were really letting Spurs have it with chants of 'Only a small team from London', and their team continued to dominate midfield for the first 25 minutes.

Belatedly, Spurs began to grind out some form of possession, and some probing passses from Anderton put Bohs under pressure. In the 28minute, an Anderton corner on the left was not cleared and Gary Doherty scuffed a shot over his shoulder which must have bounced three times before creeping across the line.

Here we go everybody thought, and for a few minutes Spurs actually looked like a team, with Acimovic going close with a vicious vollet well saved. What was puzzling was the insistence of sending most attacks down the left where Matty Etherington was infuriatingly wasteful, and, unforgiveably, shrugged his shoulders when beaten to the ball on two occassions, and didn't bother to track back. Not a good way to open contract negotiations, and he was rightly replaced by Steffen Freund at half time. While all this was going on, potentially our best attacker, Stephen Carr was totally redundant on the right.

After half time, the Spurs defence went straight to sleep again and gifted Hawkins, who scored from a completely unchallenged header from a corner. Within 10 minutes, it was 3 when another defensive failure allowed Bohs substitute, Doyle, to steer home from close range. Their left winger, Mark Rutherford was really giving Steve Carr a torrid time and nearly added to the tally before being subbed.

While all this was going on, Teddy Sheringham was subbed, not that you would have known he was playing, with Taricco and King also making way. Spurs used most of the subs with only Gavin Kelly, Ron Henry and Dean Marney not getting a call.

It is almost unbelievable that in the second half we managed only two half chances, one rising shot from Toda, flicked over by the keeper and one mis-hit from Steffen Freund which just bobbled through to the keeper. Steve Carr hit one blinding volley but as it went 4 yards wide, I won't count it as a chance.

If there is ever a vote for the 'Worst Ever Defender to wear the Spurs Shirt' competition, Ben Thatcher will win it. No Contest. Its sad to say also that the present forward line is the most immobile and predictable I have seen in any Premiership team.

What was also worrying was there was absolutely no coaching going on from the dug-out. I was right behind it, and neither John Gorman or Chris Hughton seemed to make any effort to instil a bit of passion in their charges. Glenn Hoddle obviously didn't think it worth his while turning up. Robbie Keane was there and was mobbed everywhere he went.

An awful lot of fans travelled long distances tonight and received absolutely nothing in return. Spurs will be ridiculed in the press here for this. No effort, no spirit and its just as well we have 43 points because on present evidence, we will be hard pressed to add to it especially against 'battling' teams like Birmingham and Bolton.

As I write this, the 'lads' are probably living it up in one Dublins topnight clubs. I'm at home, wringing out my clothes as I feel i've been pissed on twice tonight, once by the lousy weather and once by Tottenham Hotspur.

Philip Brady

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