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Spurs Reserves v West Ham Reserves, 25.02.03

FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP RESERVE LEAGUE
TUESDAY 25TH FEBRUARY, 2003
SPURS RESERVES 1 (1) WEST HAM RESERVES 2 (1)

Spurs scorer:-
Malcolm, 44

West Ham scorer:-
Garcia 2 (1 pen), 42, 68

Referee:- Mr P. Melin

Attendance:- Est 400

Teams:-
Spurs (4-4-2):- Sullivan; Henry (sub Hughes, 46), Thelwell, Thatcher (sub Foster, 81), Jackson (Capt); Bowditch (sub Yeates, 63), Freund, Toda, Galbraith; Ricketts, Malcolm

Subs not used:- G. Kelly; McKie

Booked:- Jackson

West Ham (4-4-2):- Van Der Gouw; A. Ferdinand, Delaney, Ward, Blewitt; Lumsden, Byrne (Capt), Cisse, McMahon; Pearson (sub Cole, 81), Garcia

Subs not used:- D. Forde; B. Forde, Laws, G. Carrick

Booked:- Delaney

Another "Toda" party was held at Broadhall Way, Stevenage tonight, and I was joined by "Wyart Lane" of MEHSTG fame, and ace Spurs Odyssey reporter Ray Lo. We were in the presence of such luminaries as the two Glenns (Hoddle and Roeder) and Trevor Brooking, and a healthy contingent of West Ham fans who were treated to the unusual sight of a win by a team in their colours.

There were a few photographers about for Mr Toda, but no sign of any TV cameras tonight. Perhaps they had their fill of the man warming up at White Hart Lane last night. Whilst Toda was probably more relaxed due to the presence beside him of a real defensive midfielder, one Steffen Freund, there were still a number of players on show in the white shirt, who would more justifiably have taken the bench position instead of Kazu Toda. In particular I would name Johnnie Jackson, thriving since his return from a loan spell at Swindon, and the energetic David Galbraith who gave Anton Ferdinand a tough test down the wing, and who combined well throughout proceedings with Jackson. Most decent Spurs attacks emanated from that left flank.

Once again, Spurs Reserves lost. Despite an otherwise competent defensive display from Thatcher and Thelwell, two bad errors cost us both West Ham goals scored by Australian-born Richard Garcia, who must have impressed Roeder with his efforts, Indeed, Garcia raced headlong into the Spurs area almost from the kick-off, but experienced his first encounter with Thatcher, who hustled and bustled and actually was awarded a free kick.

It was West Ham who had the better of the attacks early on, as Malcolm and Ricketts struggled to make headway against the considerably taller and stronger Delaney and Ward. Ricketts of course is not a natural striker and plays better in midfield. Malcolm, still just 17, is making great progress, but is way off Premiership standard just now. He lacked control too often, and needs to strengthen up, but he is a definite prospect.

After 7 minutes Edouard Cisse (struggling to hold down a Premiership place) gave Sullivan work, as he latched onto Byrne's pass and hit a skidding 25 yard shot goalward. The keeper was down well to the ball. Sullivan soon had to catch a sharp 35 yard effort from McMahon, as Ricketts failed to hold the ball, and the left winger saw Sullivan three paces off his line, and decided to try it on. Neil was calmly back to catch the ball comfortably.

Ricketts nearly scored when he collected a ball from the left and beat Delaney at the second attempt. His shot went across the goal and wide however. Then in a flurry of action before the break, West Ham went ahead as Malcolm also failed to hold up the ball, West Ham took the ball forward and Garcia scored with a rocket of a drive from fully 25 yards. Spurs levelled within two minutes, as Ricketts collected a ball on the right, rounded Blewitt, and sent a low cross for Malcolm to fire home from the 6 yard box. Michael was understandably ecstatic to score his first goal at this level.

Ronnie Henry had had a bit of a nightmare in the first half at right back, and was replaced at half time by Mark Hughes. Spurs then managed to keep Garcia quiet, and within 5 minutes of the re-start Galbraith stole the ball off Delaney before passing to Ricketts whose low shot had the keeper beaten, but unfortunately went out of play off the outside of the left post. Mark Yeates replaced the injured Bowditch, and for a while Ricketts moved out to the right flank, as Yeates supported Malcolm.

A bad pass across the field at the half way line by Thelwell allowed Garcia to race away, and pass to his partner Pearson who was bustled down by John Jackson as he advanced on goal. Both Thatcher and Sullivan were in attendance, and although the ref gave a penalty, he chose not to book Jackson, although he did show the player a yellow card for encroaching into the area as Garcia hit the penalty first time. The kick was re-taken and no mistake was made.

The one decent bit of skill I can recall from Toda was when he controlled and chipped the ball around an attacker, then passed to Hughes on his right. Unfortunately Hughes lost out to McMahon, whose shot went straight to Sullivan. In the last 5 minutes, Spurs at last showed some real enthusiasm to get through the defence, and the Hammers were under a little pressure as Cisse fouled Yeates, Jackson's free kick led to a corner, and ultimately the ball fell to Hughes who shot from 25 yards, only to see the ball beaten round the corner by ex-Man Utd keeper Raimond Van Der Gouw.

The Reserves' next match is at Vicarage Road, Watford next Wednesday 5th March, when admission will be free of charge.

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