Many thanks to Wyart Lane of "My Eyes Have Seen The Glory" for permission to publish his exclusive report:-
Ipswich Town 2 Spurs 1
(Half time: 2-1)
Monday 27th November 2002
Venue : Portman Road
Kick off : 19.00 p.m.
Weather : Persistent rain, cold
Crowd : - 1,896
Referee : - N D M Appleby
Ipswich Town - D. Ambrose 2, Miller 18
Spurs - Thatcher 8
Ipswich Town - None
Spurs - Blondel (foul) 35, Taricco (dissent) 45, Ricketts (dissent) 75
Ipswich Town : Pullen; Artun (Bloomfield 47), Naylor, Brown, Richards; Venus, Ambrose, Miller, Westlake; George (Logan 82), Reuser (Abidallah 76)
Unused subs: Price, Beevers.
Spurs : Hirschfeld; Marney, O'Donoghue, Perry, Thatcher; Clemence, Blondel (Galbraith 82), Ricketts (Snee 82), Taricco (Bortolozzo 46); Ferdinand, Rebrov.
Unused subs: Burch, S. Kelly.
A much bigger crowd gathered at Portman Road for a Spurs reserve game than they regularly get at Stevenage. And they were treated to a rapid fire opening to the match, which neither team could live up to in the second period, leaving Ipswich the 2-1 winners on the night.
It had rained prior to the start and made the surface slippy, which didn't help Clemence, as he was on his backside when he fouled a blue shirted player and the free kick from 30 yards out was dispatched expertly round the wall and past Hirschfeld's despairing dive. The shot was placed right in the angle and would have taxed a better keeper than our Canadian reserve. That was after one minute !!
Tottenham hit back within seven minutes, when Clemence was then fouled against and from just outside the box Ben Thatcher drilled the place kick low through the wall and past the keeper.
Ipswich were the better side in the first period and caused Spurs all sorts of problems with their movement off the ball. With experienced players like Reuser and Finidi George up front and Miller and Venus in midfield, they worked the ball around the Spurs players, who too often tried to go through the home players.
Hirschfeld did well to deny George, as Thatcher closed him down, but the corner they conceded led to what would be the Ipswich winner. A long ball to the far post was nodded back into the goalmouth and fell nicely for Tommy Miller to drive it low back under Lars and in. It looked like the pace of the ball off the turf did him, but it did come through a pack of players in front of him, so he was probably unsighted to a certain extent.
There was no such excuse when after 21 minutes, he dived Superman-like to punch the ball, but got no distance on it. Reuser put the ball back past him from the edge of the area and luckily, Perry was backing up and managed to get his body in front of the ball and stop it going into the otherwise unguarded net.
The Tottenham midfield consisted of Taricco, Blondel, Ricketts and Clemence. Pretty combative, but when Blondel dived into a tackle, he got booked. Taricco followed when he got bored of listening to a lecture from the ref and walked off and then Ricketts followed for kicking the ball away in the second half. The ref appeared to take an instant dislike to Tottenham, as some Ipswich challenges were suspect to say the least.
Spurs struggled to keep up with the passing that the home side produced and although they were quite mobile, too often they were caught dwelling on the ball too long. Ricketts did not play up to the standards he has set in previous matches. As the game went on, Blondel appeared to be getting isolated and while Clemence tried hard, it just wasn't happening on this evening for him.
The rain had abated during the first half, but came back with a vengeance in the second and Bortolozzo joined the action in place of Taricco, who had been lively, but mostly ineffective in the left wing back role.
Tottenham pressed forward and had shots fly wide of the goal, but did manage to get one on target on 53 minutes. Ben Thatcher put in a long throw that Les headed on to Rebrov. Sergei managed to get another header on it and the ball hit the post and then rebounded away. It summed up Spurs' luck.
Compared to Les, Rebrov was positively electric. Ferdinand had one of those games when he got everything wrong, but even then in the second half, he had two good chances. The first self-made, when he took the ball off Naylor just inside the area and his shot was half-blocked, making it easy for the keeper to save. The second, when Sergei pulled a low cross back from the by-line, meant that all Les had to do was get a touch from a yard out ... and he failed to do that !! As Des Lynam might have said, Ferdinand had a "Weston" !
While Spurs had put the ball towards the Ipswich goal more in the second half, there were few clear chances to win it. Clem was bundled over by a defender in the box, but with this ref, it was never going to be a pen. But asTottenham were throwing players forward, they left themselves open to counter attacks and Town's idea of hitting a long bal through the middle of our defence almost reaped rewards, but O'Donoghue was having a solid game at centre half, while Perry was also playing well.
There was one final moment that could have earned a point for the Lilywhites. Rebrov was tackled by Brown just inside the box and the ball fell invitingly to George Snee (in a similar position to Sheringham v Leeds last Sunday), but he hit it over the bar.
While it was clear to see (as opposed to last week's game v Charlton) that Spurs did not play as well as they have done previously this season, that might have been down to some players not getting into the match. The shape of the side appeared to be pulled about by Ipswich's movement and that left gaps that were exploited. With a few players obviously new to the side from the previous game, it was difficult to reproduce any semblance of style, but they did battle on and probably just edged the second period without having the goals to show for it.
As for Ipswich, they looked good on the ball, but not so good when having to defend. In Ambrose, they look to have a diamond, but how long will they be able to keep him before someone rings about his availability.
The next reserve fixture is at home to Fulham on December 9th, when we hope they can get a win under their belts before facing the North London reserve derby on 16th.
Man of the match : Paul O'Donoghue
"My Eyes Have Seen The Glory"
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