BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP RESERVE LEAGUE
MONDAY 18TH NOVEMBER, 2002
SPURS RESERVES 2 (2) CHARLTON RESERVES 3 (1)
Robinson (2), 41, 78
Bart-Williams (pen), 47
Referee:- Mr K. Woolmer
Spurs (3-4-1-2):- Hirschfeld; Henry, Kelly, Thatcher; Marney (Capt), Anderton, Acimovic, Clemence, Ziege; Rebrov, Slabber (sub Malcolm, 54)
Subs not used:- Burch; Hughes, Bortolozzo, Galbraith
Charlton (4-1-3-2):- Rachubka; Brown, Turner (Capt), Fortune, Wells (sub Sankofa, 70); Bart-Williams; Campbell-Ryce (sub Snodin, 88), McCafferty, Robinson; Sharland (sub Sam, 46), Martin
Subs not used:- Delo; Dincer
The area around Stevenage had been fog-bound for much of the day, to such a degree that this game must have been a doubtful starter. Perhaps that's why Charlton arrived late, leading to a kick-off that was delayed by 20 minutes. Unfortunately the fog returned, and to such an extent in the second half, that it was nigh on impossible for the fans in the West Stand at Broadhall Way to see the other side of the pitch. At one stage the referee consulted his fellow-officials, but they decided to carry on, much to the regret of Spurs who surrendered a two goal lead, through goals either side of the interval, and then succumbed to a deflected shot that went over Hirschfeld, who may have seen as much of the ball, as did the fans i.e - nothing!
The somewhat farcical conclusion to proceedings was a shame, as a strong looking Spurs side had started brightly, with skill from Ziege and Acimovic, but as the game went on, the Charlton battlers overcame the "home" side, many of whom were looking for a "run-out", and probably did not fancy getting too competitive. Colin Calderwood reverted to a back three - (is this a sign of Sunday's formation, now that Spurs have centre-backs queueing up for a place?) - with Marney and Ziege playing the wing-back roles. Anderton and Clemence played behind Acimovic, who was in support of Rebrov and Jamie Slabber. Slabber took a lot of punishment, most of which went un-noticed by the referee, but one bright spark of hope came for Spurs in the debut at this level of Michael Malcolm, who replaced Slabber, and performed competently against taller and stronger defenders.
Spurs took an early lead in the third minute when Clemence rose to head home a corner taken on the left, which had been won by a Ziege run and deflected shot. Rebrov then hit the bar with a lovely shot off the outside of his right foot, from another Ziege cross. The early brightness started to fade as the Charlton midfield won more possession, without threatening the goal. After half an hour, Spurs had a great move down the middle through Acimovic, Rebrov and then Clemence who had a good run to the bye line on the right. His cross was cleared, but the ball was quickly returned to the back post, where Rebrov took great advantage off a rebound off Slabber to stab the ball high into the net.
Anderton led another move with a great switch from left to right. Marney fed Rebrov whose powerful shot from 20 yards curved just wide of the keeper's left post. Then Charlton got a goal back at a crucial time, when Martin chipped over the defence, Hirschfeld and Kelly seemed to collide, and Robinson was left with an open goal. The orange ball had a brief debut before half time, but even though the fog had deteriorated, the referee decided to use the white ball at the start of the second half. He quickly awarded a penalty for a foul, which we could not see in the fog, and Chris Bart-Williams made no mistake to put Charlton on level terms within a minute of the restart. (The orange ball was soon re-instated!)
Sadly, I cannot pass much more information on to you, as it was so difficult to make out individuals and the ball, whenever it was on the far side. Charlton in particular did seem to use their left flank to great advantage, but none of their shots seemed to find the target. Malcolm came closest for Spurs when Marney raced down the right wing and Malcolm nearly tuned in his low cross at the near post, only for Rachubka to save. Charlton's winner came with 12 minutes left, and it looked to me like a badly deflected long shot from Robinson, that flew over the stranded Hirschfeld. Colin Calderwood pushed Ziege up and reverted to a 4-4-2, but although Christian had a powerful shot blocked in the area, and one or two crosses to the danger zone, Spurs had to trudge off pointless. At least the reserves had not lost to a certain other London side that plays in red, unlike three other Spurs sides this week-end.
The reserves next face Ipswich away next Wednesday 27th November, before two more home games on 9th and 16th December to Fulham and Arsenal respectively.
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