BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP RESERVE LEAGUE
(at Broadhall Way, Stevenage)
MONDAY 28TH OCTOBER, 2002
SPURS RESERVES 2 (2) CHELSEA RESERVES 0 (0)
Referee:- Mr S. Rubery
Attendance:- Est 600
Spurs (4-4-2):- Hirschfeld; Marney (Capt), King, Gardner, Thelwell (sub Kelly, 46); Ricketts (sub Snee, 82), Anderton, Clemence, Blondel; Barnard, Doherty
Subs not used:- Burch; Bortolozzo, Slabber
Chelsea (4-4-2):- Pidgeley; Ferrer, Terry, Bogarde (sub Huth, 49), Babayaro (sub Cousins, 60); Wolleaston, Ross (Capt)(sub Boussoufa, 67), Nicolas, Ambrosetti; Kneissl, Oliveira
Subs not used:- Wizik; Alis
Booked:- Terry (foul on Blondel)
Two cracking first half goals by Blondel and Doherty were enough to secure the points against a Chelsea side featuring an experienced back four, which included their perennial expensive reserve, Winston Bogarde, who was signed from Barcelona over two years ago, and who has played only a handful of games for their first team. Spurs had a strong side out, and the punters were queueing so far up Broadhall Way to get in, that they had to open the exit gates to get the crowd in before too much of the game had passed by. No doubt many had heard that Anderton, King and Gardner would be playing along with other returning players such as Clemence and Thelwell.
Regular reserve watchers will have been only too happy to see the nimble footed skills of Jonathan Blondel and Rohan Ricketts, both of whom took up wing positions, whilst Anderton and Clemence tended to sit back in the middle. Both these Premiership players saw out the full 90 minutes, as did King and Gardner, both of whom played with such skill and confidence that Dean Richards and Chris Perry will be looking over their shoulders, despite their recent strong performances.
Dean Marney once again played at right back, and was wearing the Captain's armband. Once again, he impressed watchers with regular forward runs and 100% commitment. With such an array of talent against the less experienced Chelsea midfield and attack, it was only to be expected that Spurs would dominate with their intricate passing and pace. In those early stages, Ricketts and Blondel caught the eye, although neither keeper was bothered in the first quarter of an hour.
Spurs took a dramatic lead after 14 minutes, when Darren Anderton in the middle of the park, about 30 yards out, found Doherty who turned the ball to space on his left, where Blondel raced forward and hit a low drive past young Pidgeley. Only five minutes later, Spurs stretched their lead with another fine goal.Blondel carried the ball from inside to out on the right with a great driving run, before feeding Lee Barnard who sent a deep cross to the back post where Gary Doherty swiftly sent the ball crashing into the net with a sweet left foot rising shot. Great goal!
Chelsea tried to get back on terms, but unfortunately, their chances fell to Filipe Oliveira, who just could not hit the target. Firstly, Wolleaston had been allowed a run from right to left, before he passed to Ambrosetti, whose shot went across the goalmouth, but was kicked out of play by the hapless Oliveira. Then, following a free kick, Ambrosetti chipped the ball over the Spurs defence but Oliveira booted the ball well over the bar. He was beginning to tax the ball-boys whose job it is to retrieve balls kicked out of the stadium! Oliveira did not enjoy the banter directed at him when he inadvertently carried the ball out of play to concede a throw, when he had been in a good attacking position.
Alton Thelwell was the first Spurs player to be replaced, and Stephen Kelly took up a central defending position, whilst Anthony Gardner moved to the left back slot. Gardner played with great skill and aplomb throughout the second half. Blondel worried Ferrer so much with his skill that the Spaniard brought Jonathan down, even when the ball had gone. Anderton took the free kick, which was headed at the keeper by Barnard. The heavyweight Bogarde was next to be replaced after just 49 minutes.
Darren Anderton saw a lot of the ball in this second period, and looked assured, whilst conserving his energy for much of the time, although not shying away from tackles. Darren picked the ball up for Ledley King in an advanced position, before shooting from 25 yards, but sending the ball wide of the keeper's right post. Chelsea never gave up, and in fact got more and more possession as the game wore on. There were a few away fans behind Hirschfeld's goal, but try as they might, they could not put Lars off his work. The Spurs Canadian keeper was down well to a Wolleaston shot after a decent run, and later tipped over a cracking long range rising shot by Ambrosetti from a sharp angle on the left.
There were a number of times during the game, when Spurs held possession for long periods, and one such play started on the break from Anderton, almost on his own bye-line. Darren's long ball was picked up by Ricketts after a poor interception by Terry. The ball was fed through Gary Doherty and Lee Barnard, before Dean Marney raced forward and into the box, but his chipped effort was picked out by Pidgeley. Wolleaston had another good chance when Kelly's beack-header was a little short, but Hirschfeld was alert to the danger and beat the striker to the ball.
The Spurs management was watching Anderton carefully, but Darren got through the 90 minutes comfortably, but will need a match or two yet before challenging for a first team place. It would be refreshing to see some of the faces on show tonight at Turf Moor next Wednesday. Blondel is a clear talent, and seems to glide across the ground at times. He won the ball a number of times with tough challenges, but his final pass was sometimes inaccurate. It would be a shame if all the rumours about his desire to return home are true, because his potential is clear for all to see. Ricketts is a similar player though, and all would not be lost, if Blondel did go.
We all hope, of course, that this result can be emulated on Sunday by the first team!
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