SATURDAY 19TH JULY, 2003
FRIENDLY FIXTURE (Dave Jones Testimonial)
WYCOMBE WANDERERS 2 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (1)
Beasant (o.g.), 11
Referee:- Dermot Gallagher
Wycombe (4-4-2):- Beasant; Senda (sub Matthews, 73), Rogers (Capt.) (sub Harding, 65), Johnson, Vinnicombe (sub Fontana, 73); Roberts (sub McSporran, 46), Mapes (sub Bulman, 46), Simpson (sub Brown, 46)Currie (sub Cook, 46); Holligan (sub Antwei, 65), Harris (sub Dell, 73)
Spurs (3-4-2-1):- Sullivan; Kelly, Bunjevcevic, Gardner; Ricketts, Redknapp (Capt.), Toda, Ziege (sub Galbraith, 35); Davies, Acimovic (sub Yeates, 73); Postiga (sub Slabber, 73)
Subs not used:- Jalal; Henry, Foster; Barnard
On Wednesday night at Stevenage, following Helder Postiga's debut in Spurs' colours, I had a conversation in which I expressed the fear that he did not have a left foot. This was due to a scuffed shot he had tried in front of goal at Broadhall Way. I was proved wrong in devastating fashion today, as Postiga unwrapped another part of his ever-marvelling repertoire with a simply magnificent rising left foot shot from a narrow angle into the roof of veteran goalkeeper Dave Beasant's net. This goal was enough to justify the admission to this second match in Spurs friendly programme.
The match was billed as a Testimonial for Physio-therapist Dave Jones, who has served Wanderers for 17 years, and has seen the likes of our own Peter Suddaby, Martin O'Neill, John Gregory and now Lawrie Sanchez take the manager's job at this friendly club. No doubt the Sanchez connection has led to 44 year old Dave Beasant playing on a "match-by-match" basis, but judging by today's game, Wycombe have some exciting youngsters in their line-up.
Glenn Hoddle has decided to change the format this week-end with a different team likely to compete tomorrow at Oxford, as today's match was treated more in the traditional style, rather than fielding completely different teams in each half. The formation was the same though, with attacking wing-backs in a 3-4-2-1 line-up. The trouble with that is that it does leave holes inside the flanks, and with no defensive midfielder as such, Wanderers, using pace and power, were able to give the defence plenty to worry about. Kelly and Bunjevcevic lack the authority that will be required in top class competition in that slot, and tomorrow's team is likely to be stronger defensively.
The away stand was full, but there were plenty of gaps in the home stands, as Spurs gave a masterclass in passing and understanding in the first few minutes. However, Neil Sullivan had to make the first meaningful save after 5 minutes. He had already come to the edge of his area to punch clear, but the ball was returned inside the box to Richard Harris, who aimed a low drive straight at the keeper. Harris was to prove a real thorn in the Spurs defence. He has a powerful long throw, and also caused plenty of scares in the box with his strength and power.
Beasant then had to make a series of saves. Firstly, Redknapp sent Postiga away on the left, the ball was put in the path of Acimovic, but Beasant was able to head off the Slovenian on the edge of his box. Beasant then presented the ball to Ricketts (who was 40 yards out). Ricketts gave Acimovic a quick pass, but Milenko took the ball too far out to the right of the area, and the attack fizzled out, although he did deliver to Postiga, with whom he seems to be creating an understanding.
After 10 minutes, Postiga picked up an Acimovic ball, and headed goalward down the inside left channel. Helder tried to place a shot round Beasant, but the keeper was able to turn the ball round the corner. However, Spurs then went ahead thanks to Beasant, as he could only parry Ziege's corner onto his left post, and watch the ball go into his net.
Wycombe were level within two minutes, as a cross from the right drifted over the defence, including Sullivan, and reached Currie beyond the back post. His return to the middle of the six-yard box was fired in by Harris. Holligan then hit a nice shot on the half-volley at the end of a run. Currie had been the provider on this occasion too.
Kazuyuki Toda had the task of defending next to Jamie Redknapp, behind Davies and Acimovic, but after 25 minutes, Toda got forward, instead of Jamie, and brought another decent save from Beasant with his 20 yard shot from the left side of the area. Beasant was then having to beat out a long-range effort from Ricketts.
Anthony Gardner made a good defensive header, when Harris threatened him trying to meet a Vinnicombe cross. Simon Davies had not really been imposing himself in this game until now, but it was he that found Ricketts on the right, who, after an exchange with Acimovic, tested Beasant yet again. The old boy held the shot at the second attempt. Ziege was replaced at an early stage by Galbraith, but I saw no sign of injury, so maybe he will feature at Oxford tomorrow.
The flag stayed down, and this surprised Postiga who was in front of only Beasant, but Helder lost out in the one on one opportunity.Jamie Redknapp was next to sting Beasant's hands, and just before the break, Acimovic had a clear chance, thanks to a head down by Postiga. Milo hit his shot at least three yards over the bar, when goal beckoned.
Wycombe made 5 half-time substitutions, but Spurs remained unchanged. Lewis Cook on the left and Jermaine McSporran on the right caused much havoc down the wings, both having good runs. Cook, in particular was impressive, giving Ricketts and Kelly plenty of bother. There was a real scramble in Spurs goalmouth in the early stages, and Sullivan had to make one close-range save, before the ball was cleared. Shortly after, Stephen Kelly made a forward run, fed by Davies, and worked his way into the Wycombe area. Kelly looked to have been pushed in the back, but Dermot Gallagher was having none of the appeal for a penalty.
Beasant saved a Redknapp 53rd minute shot with his thigh, and the rebound drifted too far away from Postiga, following up. Cook had a scintillating run down the left, but made a bad pass, before McSporran crossed into the danger zone; Harris just missing the header. Cook then beat Ricketts to a loose ball, but put his shot wide of Sullivan's goal, in front of the home fans, who were getting more and more confident in their team. That confidence was soon blown away though, by Postiga's super goal. Redknapp and Davies advanced down the middle, and I thought Davies got the last pass through the defence to Postiga on the left side of the area. He could only have been three yards from the bye line, 10 yards to the left of Beasant's right post. Beasant stood large as ever on his line, but Postiga's rocket of a left foot rising drive blasted the net! Great goal!
Redknapp and Postiga then had two efforts on goal. Beasant saved the first shot, and Vinnicombe blocked Postiga's effort. Our new boy went off to great applause, and if you are going to Oxford tomorrow, I fear he will be rested. Maybe you'll see Zamora instead.
Acimovic also went off, and youngsters Jamie Slabber and Mark Yeates were given a chance to show what they could do. With their contemporary, David Galbraith on the left wing, the three of them created a few moves to much appreciation by the away support. With five minutes to go, a Yeates through ball clipped a defender but still ran for Jamie Slabber, who had a sharp angle to Beasant's left. Jamie chose to cross for Davies, who had a nonchalant flicked finish to give Spurs a 3-1 lead. It was soon back to one goal though, as McSporran, chased by Galbraith, sent a powerful cross which was finished in style at the back post by substitute Harding.
Maybe the team at Oxford will read something like:- Jalal; Perry, King, Taricco; Marney, Anderton, Blondel, Jackson; Poyet, Etherington; Zamora? I shall not be there, but shall be travelling to Norwich on Tuesday, for the first team's last friendly before their trip to South Africa.
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