TUESDAY 29TH JULY, 2003
LEYTON ORIENT 0 (0) SPURS XI 0 (0)
Referee:- Joe Ross
Leyton Orient (4-4-2):- Morris; Hunt, Silver (sub Harnwell, 46), Reddy (sub Jones, 46), Lockwood (capt) (sub Stevens, 81); Fletcher (sub Brazier, 60), Ebdon (sub Newey (46), Toner (sub Silver, 74), Newey; Ibehre (sub Purser, 46), Alexander
Booked:- Lockwood (second fierce foul - substituted soon after booking)
Spurs (3-4-1-2):- Eyre; O'Donoghue, Perry, Henry (sub Slabber, 46); Barnett (sub McKie, 46), Hughes (sub Foster, 74), Bowditch, Jackson (Capt); Yeates (sub Barnard, 81); Barnard (sub Black, 78), Doherty
A young and inexperienced Spurs XI acquitted themselves well against almost all the Orient squad, but this was a moderate game in front of a moderate crowd, with little goal-mouth action to keep them happy. Orient put Spurs under some pressure at times in the last third, with some good approach play, but the Spurs defence - marshalled by Chris Perry - coped well by and large, with the exception of the occasional stray back pass, or attempt to clear.
Gary Doherty played up front in the first half, to little effect, but played better in the second, when he reverted to defence, and occasionally thrived when running forward. This is when Doherty can impress, when he is facing the goal, and advancing towards the target area, whereas he struggles with his back to the goal. Mark Yeates once again impressed with his trickery in the middle, clever little runs, turns, and threaded passes. Sadly Lee Barnett was usually unable to anticipate Yeates' thinking, and Doherty was just a bit too slow, when half-chances came. Bowditch and Hughes worked hard and well in front of the defence, and skipper Johnnie Jackson impressed on the left, and in the second half, played strongly beside Bowditch, as Hughes shifted to right wing-back, and McKie played as left wing back.
Orient of course featured ex-Spurs Ciaron Toner, who was roundly applauded when leaving the field 15 minutes before the end. Spurs had to endure some pretty stiff tackling, and unusually in a friendly, skipper Lockwood was booked for his second late and fierce lunge, being substituted shortly after the second incident. Orient featured ex-QPR man Karl Reddy on trial at centre back, with Silver next to him, also trying to impress the home side. At right back, David Hunt was a welcome acquisition from Crystal Palace, and he will worry defences with his forward forays, having a liking for midfield as well as his right back slot tonight. Jabo Ibehre and Gary Alexander gave the Spurs back three plenty to fear, but Eyre was rarely threatened in the first half at least.
After some early pressure, Spurs created their first chance after 10 minutes, when Doherty was on to Perry's long clearance, but did not hit his low shot from the left side of the area hard enough to really bother keeper Morris. Ten minutes later Ibehre crossed from the right, and Alexander got to the near post, but turned the ball wide of the goal. Lockwood got his first warning for a late challenge on Yeates, and after 27 minutes, Gary Fletcher was onto a weak Spurs back-pass, but having rounded Eyre (who did succeed in taking the attacker to a tight angle), could only put the ball into the side netting.
Orient made a number of second-half substitutions, and as the game progressed, Spurs began to assert themselves. Yeates worked his way through to the edge of the area on the left, and after a 1-2 with Barnard, it was Barnard who was behind the defence, but robbed of the ball before he could get his shot in. Then, after a free kick following one of Doherty's advances, Yeates was advancing on the right side of the box, hitting his low shot across the goal and out of play.
For the hosts, Newey made it past Doherty into the left side of the Spurs area, hit a left foot shot, which Eyre flew to save and hold, but his momentum carried him out of play for a corner. After 63 minutes, Jamie Slabber showed great skill, after combining with Ben Bowditch on the right, beating Billy Jones, then hitting a great shot which the keeper parried.
Alexander beat the offside flag, as Orient broke from their own half, and Eyre did really well as he advanced to the edge of his area, then dived sharply and low to his left to save the striker's shot when faced with only the keeper to beat. As full time approached, Doherty raced like a man possessed from the half way line to the edge of the area, before sliding the ball to Jackson to his left, rather than shooting. Jackson's angle was difficult, and the keeper held his shot comfortably. Foster then sent a cross from the right touchline, and McKie should have scored at the back post, but contrived to hit the ball over as well as wide.
The Spurs XI's next game is at Aldershot on Saturday.
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