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Spurs Reserves v Arsenal Reserves, 16.12.02

Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]


     FA Premier Reserve League South
    Stevenage Borough FC, Broadhall Way
      Monday 16th December 2002, 7pm 

	  SPURS    v    ARSENAL
       (White/Navy)   (Red/White)
          4-4-2          3-5-2

           0(0)           3(0)

   Neil Sullivan   1 Stuart Taylor
  Dean Marney(C)   2 Ben Chorley
Mauricio Taricco   3 David Grondin
  Rohan Ricketts   4 Moritz Volz
    Ronnie Henry   5 Igors Stepanovs(C)
    Ben Thatcher   6 Stathis Tavlaridis
Jonathan Blondel   7 Jermain Brown
Stephen Clemence   8 Sebastian Svard
   Les Ferdinand   9 Francis Jeffers
 Milenko Acimovic 10 David Bentley
    Sergei Rebrov 11 Jerome Thomas

    Stephen Kelly 12 Alex Bailey
     (3)60Mins
  Lars Hirschfeld 13 Craig Holloway
    Jamie Slabber 14 Frank Simek
                     (6)78Mins.
     Ben Bowditch 15 John Spicer
       (10)82Mins    (8)82Mins.
  Johnnie Jackson 16 Stepen Bradley
      (7)72Mins.     (7)82Mins.
Scorers - Jeffers 57,76 Thomas 77

Booked - Clemence (late)11, Tavlaridis(foul)22, Grondin(late)30, Taricco(talking)45, Volz(late)82

Sent off - Ferdinand (violent conduct)22

It was a cold damp evening with an attendance that was less than last season's fixture. Only two stands were open so I got to sit down. Spurs lined up with Henry and Thatcher as centre-backs with Marney at right back and Taricco at left. Clemence and Acimovic were flanked by Ricketts and Blondel in midfield, supporting Sir Les and Rebrov up front.

The gooners were quickest out of the blocks attacking with pace, putting Sullivan's goal under pressure and forcing him into a double save in the second minute following a corner. There was no time to dwell on the ball with tackles arriving at the same time as the ball. In true Derby fashion the pace was fast and the tackles were hard. Last season we had no answer to this pace, but now we have Ricketts and Blondel who were just as quick.

We were still being out-fought in all areas of the pitch with Thomas hitting the bar and Jeffers firing just over before we had a Les Ferdinand effort saved by Taylor at the other end. Les had been winning most of the balls in the air and laying the ball off, creating a chance for Rebrov. This led him to be on the receiving end of three heavy challenges from Tavlaridis. After the third he got up and put his head in the face of his attacker and got the red card for his trouble. That effectively ended the match as a contest as you could not last against such a pacey side with a man short.

Because of the pace of the game, it was littered with fouls and became a little stop-start with both sides getting caught in possession. Taylor still had to make important saves from Rebrov and Blondel. Sullivan also had to make another double save before half time.

With no changes at half time Calderwood pushed Acimovic a little more forward. With play getting bogged down in the middle the visitors changed tactics and began hitting long balls over the top for the front men to chase. From one of these balls Bentley crossed the ball to Jeffers on the edge of the box who killed it and hit it on the turn brilliantly to beat Sullivan.

Kelly came on for Taricco who had injured his thumb earlier. Spurs went to three at the back, pushing Acimovic up with Rebrov, and he tested Stepanov's shirt which proved not to be very well made. Jackson came on to strengthen the left side as Blondel had become so frustrated with his inability to make any headway and had resorted to kicking the opposition. The gooners made the game safe when Jeffers ran onto a through ball to beat Sullivan low to his right after 76 minutes and Thomas a minute later added the third running onto another through ball.

Arsenal brought on their subs and sat back allowing us to come on to them. We continued to try and play the ball through the middle without success. The referee came to the gooners' aid just before the end when Jackson rode a tackle on the edge of the area to volley the ball past Taylor. He blew up for a foul instead of allowing the advantage and Rebrov hit the free kick high over the bar.

The only thing you can say about this result was that we conceded one goal less than last season's corresponding fixture with a man short. Last time they blasted us off the park with their pace. This time we had almost as much pace as them and for much of the time matched them in the tackle, but to be honest I think that even if we had eleven men for the whole game we would have still lost.

The Reserves now break for Christmas with the next home game scheduled for the 13th January.

Ray

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