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Match Reports
Spurs Reserves v Charlton Reserves, 11.10.04

BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP RESERVE LEAGUE
MONDAY 11TH OCTOBER, 2004
SPURS RESERVES 1 (1) CHARLTON RESERVES 3 (2)

Spurs scorer:-
Defendi, 18

Charlton scorers:-
Sam, 38
Thomas, 45
Konchesky (pen), 50

Referee:- Mr. N. Kinseley

Attendance:- Est. 400

Teams:-
Spurs (4-4-2);- Fulop; Ifil, Richards (sub O'Donoghue, 46), Defendi, McKie; Marney (sub Yeates, 59), Carrick, Brown (sub Hughes, 76), Dilevski; Barnard, Silva

Subs not used:- Burch; O'Hara

Booked:- McKie, Brown

Sent Off:- Defendi (Professional Foul)

Charlton (4-4-2):- Royce; Fuller, Ricketts, Fish, Konchesky; Sam, McCafferty (Capt..), Long(sub Thanda, 88), Thomas; Walker, Varney (sub Wilson, 76)

Subs not used:- Elliot; Gross, Phillips

No bookings

Spurs young Brazilian Rodrigo Defendi had his name all over the game tonight at Broadhall Way, but sadly it was mostly for the wrong reasons. Having got on the end of a Phil Ifil cross to put the Reserves in the lead in the 18th minute, Defendi half-cleared for the Charlton equaliser, was caught exposed for the visitors second goal just before half time, then committed a professional foul after the break to get sent off and concede a penalty that ended the game as a contest.

Spurs started with a fairly strong line-up, that included Michael Carrick and Michael Brown in the middle, both no doubt vying for the vacancy for Redknapp in next week's Premiership game at Fratton Park. Carrick got a foot in to block one or two attacks and sprayed a couple of decent balls in the first half, but made no impact in the second, whilst Brown was his usual workaholic self, and did his chances no harm at all. Both may still be fighting for a place on the bench of course, should Sean Davis be fit for a return.

Returning loanees Mark Hughes and Mark Yeates were left on the bench, whilst Dean Marney played on the right and Spase Dilevski had a largely anonymous game on the left flank. Spurs rarely played as a unit in this game, and individual performances such as those from right back Phil Ifil, and Hungarian under-21 keeper Marton Fulop stand out in my memory. Fulop certainly had a good work out, being forced to make several fine saves in the second half, with only inexperience to protect him, as Richards played only 45 minutes, and then after Defendi's departure, Marcel McKie was a make-shift centre back beside Paul O'Donoghue.

Charlton featured one-time Spurs loan player Paul Konchesky at left back, South African International Mark Fish in the middle, and ex-Arsenal youth player Jerome Thomas on the left wing. Charlton had plenty more talent on the field too, who displayed pace galore to keep the pressure on Spurs for much of the game. In the first quarter of an hour, it was very much even stevens, but their were occasional flashes of skill from Edson Silva, looking more nimble now, cleverly beating Fish with one flick over his head, and linking well with Marney and Ifil down the right channels.

Marcel McKie got a justified early yellow card for a lunge upon Lloyd Sam, but five minutes later, Spurs took a lead after a cross from Ifil was glanced over the line by Defendi, who had come forward for a preceding corner. Three minutes after the goal, Simon Royce struggled to hold a Marney free kick, and then managed to swipe the ball away from the advancing Silva, to concede a corner. Konchesky at least got a free kick on target after a handball by Richards about 25 yards out, but this was easy meat for Fulop.

On the half hour, Silva lost out to a challenge just inside the Charlton half, and the ball was sent down the right wing, where Sam beat Defendi with a quick ball to Walker who was one on one against Fulop, but fired wide across the area.

On 35 minutes, Dean Richards was encouraged by Clive Allen to send the ball to Ifil, who was in space, cutting in and worrying Royce with a good shot that was just over the bar. However, Charlton got an equaliser in the 38th minute when the ball was crossed from the left and Defendi only half cleared to the back post, where Sam hit a terrific shot on the volley to crash into the net. Defendi's nightmare was only just beginning when, just before the break, an attack down the left left him stranded by a header that found Thomas on his own with only Fulop to beat. Thomas was able to run the ball round the keeper and almost walk it into the net.

Richards did not appear after the interval, and only three minutes had gone when Defendi was behind Varney going into the box. In my view it was an easy decision for the referee to show the astounded defender the red card for his professional foul that sent the Charlton striker sprawling to the ground. Konchesky made no mistake, and to be honest, I wanted the remaining 40 minutes to flash by, as I knew it was game over for Spurs.

To their credit, Spurs adjusted and tried to attack the visitors. Dilevski fell back to defence and McKie paired up with O'Donoghue, whilst Barnard and Silva took it in turns to support the three man midfield. Michael Brown did have a rasping shot held by the keeper, but then Fulop had to make two fine saves, both from Varney, diving once to his right and then to his left, to keep Charlton at bay.

Brown got yellow-carded for a strong tackle, and was soon substituted to ensure he did not see red, I suspect. Clive Allen was justifiably livid at the officials' failure to punish a late challenge by the reds, and might have seen red himself! Despite the efforts of the Spurs team, principally substitute Yeates and the strikers, it was Charlton who went closest, as Konchesky teed up Long, whose strike was well saved by Fulop, before Walker hit the bar to at least keep the difference to two goals.

The reserves are away to Coventry next Wednesday 20th October, and their next home game will be on 25th against Portsmouth.

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