BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP RESERVE LEAGUE
WEDNESDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER, 2002
SPURS RESERVES 1 (1) DERBY RESERVES 2 (1)
Carbonari (o.g), 28
Referee:- S. Tomlinson
Attendance:- Est 450
Spurs (3-5-2):- Hirschfeld; O'Donoghue, Kelly, Henry (Capt) (sub Hughes, 30); Snee (sub Marney, 27), Ricketts, Bortolozzo, Blondel, Galbraith; Barnard, Sutton (sub Slabber, 73)
Subs not used:- Jalal; Dobson
Derby (3-5-2):- Grant; Bragstad (sub McArdle, 71), Carbonari , Mawene; Hunt (sub Palmer, 60), Molloy, Evatt, Twigg, Jackson (Capt.); Robinson, Strupar (sub Tudgay, 80)
Subs not used:- Richardson; Weckstrom
Booked:- Robinson, Carbonari
Just when it looked like Spurs very young side was going to hold out for an entertaining and enterprising draw, up popped 18 year old Gary Twigg to score the winning goal midway through the four minutes of added time. Derby had taken an early lead through Belgian International Branko Strupar, and Spurs had looked in danger of being over-run by the more experienced and the stronger of the two sides. However, they equalised through an own goal, and took the game to their opponents in the second half, and would have deserved the imminent share of the spoils.
Spurs were also not helped by the need to replace two players within half an hour. George Snee, playing at right wing-back, was replaced by Marney - possibly not through injury, but to bolster Spurs' right side defensively. Then, within minutes, Captain Ronnie Henry had to go off with a nasty head wound sustained in a clash with Robinson, who had already been booked soon after the first Derby goal. Hence, Mark Hughes played in the unfamiliar role of right back, whilst David Galbraith had a similar difficulty on the left, as Spurs reverted to 4-4-2, with Kelly and O'Donoghue in the middle.
Spurs were also missing a "DMC" (defensive midfielder), as the midfield trio of Blondel, Ricketts and Bortolozzo, whilst all playing very pretty and skilful football, were often closed down efficiently by the opposition, many of whom had a height and weight advantage - along with experience! For the first 20 - 25 minutes though, it had looked like Jonathan Blondel might be the star of the show in the same way as Robbie Keane had for the first team on Sunday. Overall though, I would put each of the trio on an equal footing. They all showed a willingness to get a foot in the tackle, steal the ball, and an ability to display tricks and speed in the middle. Sadly, too often, in each case, the final pass did not go quite as well as we would have hoped. They were worth the admission though!
Derby's seventh minute lead came after a short chipped ball from the left evaded O'Donoghue, and was headed goalward by Robinson. Lars Hirschfeld made a dramatic save, but could only push the ball as far as Strupar who had an easy close range finish. Robinson was to get round Kelly after 18 minutes, before Hirschfeld made another great save from the striker's powerful close range shot.
Spurs equaliser came from a quick build up on the left. Ricketts found Galbraith in space on the left wing, with Blondel in support. Galbraith's low cross was turned by Carbonari into his own net, with John Sutton breathing down his neck. Hirschfeld had to make yet another great save when Jackson crossed from the left and Robinson was up at the back post to send a header which bounced then had to be pushed over the bar by the keeper, stretching right to the top corner. In stoppage time, Ricketts hit a powerful low drive and Grant took two or three goes to hold the ball, with no-one near enough to threaten him.
Spurs looked lively early in the second half, and Dean Marney won a corner on the right from which Stephen Kelly tried a scissor kick which went just over the bar. Derby should have had the lead again after 52 minutes, when Strupar got to the bye line on the right side of the six yard box, cut the ball back across the goalmouth, where Molloy should have slotted home with the defence beaten, but hit the post instead.
Derby's Lewis Hunt had to go off, injured in a 50/50 aerial clash with David Galbraith, and then speedy midfield play from Spurs down the left ended with a meaty Barnard shot that was just over the bar. Barnard had several powerful runs in this half, but usually ran into trouble before being able to distribute the ball. He did set up Sutton for a useful snap shot, after a long clearance by Hirschfeld. However, the Spurs youngsters faded towards the end and Ian Evatt was allowed the freedom of the middle to run forward and send Twigg away on the right to beat Hirschfeld at his near post, and score via that post, as the ball went across the goal and hit the net.
The reserves next game is away to Nottingham Forest next Monday 23rd September. If any reader is in that area, a report would be welcomed. I am sure you would enjoy watching our youngsters at work.
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