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Match Reports
Spurs Reserves v Charlton Reserves, 13.02.06

(at Broadhall Way Stevenage)

Daniels, 15
Kelly, 75
Davenport (pen), 78

Referee: - Mr. M. Bull

Attendance: - Est. 350

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Cerny; McKenna (sub Martin, 46), Davenport, Lee (Capt.), Kelly; Lewis, Jackson; Davis (sub Smith, 87), Maghoma, Daniels (sub Dawkins, 71); Barcham

Subs not used: - Burch; Kyriacou

Booked: - Lewis

Charlton (4-4-2):- Anderson; Wilson, Sankofa (Capt.), Youga, Ashton; John, Euell (sub Weston, 73)), Phillips, Ambrose; Bothroyd, Lisbie

Subs not used: - Woolley; Walker, Brandao, Yussuff

A youthful Spurs Reserve side marched to their ninth successive victory to increase their lead at the top of the Southern section of the Reserve League, with a very impressive and ultimately convincing win over a Charlton side that blended plenty of youth, with the experience of goalkeeper Anderson and Ambrose, Euell, Bothroyd and Lisbie.

Spurs were missing their ace goal-scorer, Lee Barnard, who has a foot injury and included several in their side who have experienced Reserve football for the first time this season. This was a highly competitive and enthralling game, against a Charlton side with a history of success at this level, and who are still in fourth place in the Reserve League. Spurs had taken an early lead through a super Charlie Daniels goal, and only held onto that lead at half-time through some sterling defending, in particular by Calum Davenport and Kieran McKenna playing tonight at right back. It says a lot about Clive Allen’s protégés, that when McKenna had to be replaced at half time by rookie Joe Martin (I assume that McKenna had an injury), the younger players showed a maturity and a work ethic that not only meant the lead was maintained, but that was dramatically tripled in the last quarter of the game.

Spurs played in a “Chelsea-style” formation, with Andy Barcham a lone striker, supported by Jamie Davis and Charlie Daniels on the wings and Jacques Maghoma in the middle. Stuart Lewis and Johnnie Jackson were the more defensive of the midfielders, but both were very capable of threatening up front as well. Stephen Kelly started at left back, but switched to the right for the second half. Charlton’s formation was more conventional, with Bothroyd the main striker, and Lisbie beside him. Alistair John on the right side of midfield also supported Bothroyd in attack. Darren Ambrose played on the left, and with Euell through the middle, Charlton offered plenty for Spurs to think about. Indeed, there was an early scare as Euell got to the edge of the Spurs box, and Cerny was outside his area, looking ready to catch the ball. He then “dummied” and allowed the ball to pass overhead, and Davenport made a timely intervention to head aside then clear.

John Jackson showed what he can do with a dead ball, as he hit an early free kick round Anderson’s right post. The diminutive Danny Phillips led a useful Charlton attack, sending Lisbie away down the left. Lisbie gave Ambrose a chance, but the shot was wide across Cerny’s goalmouth. Lisbie had a chance himself, soon after that, and just as he was about to fire a shot, Davenport made a great saving tackle.

Spurs took the lead in the fifteenth minute, through a great move started by Barcham (not the biggest of strikers), who held the ball up just inside the Charlton half, passed back to Jamie Davis, who jinked across the field, and sent Daniels on his way for a storming run and great left foot drive that beat Anderson all ends up. Daniels (like McKenna) is a versatile player, able to play at full back, or on the wing. Charlie also loves to get into the area, but scored this goal from a good 20 yards out.

Mid-way through the half, Charlton broke out, after a Spurs corner, and were aided by a rare Charlie Lee error, with a poor pass. Ambrose was away with a blistering run, and Lee struggled to keep up with him. However, McKenna had read the play very well, and made a great tackle to steal the ball off Ambrose once he got inside the Spurs box. Ambrose soon had a chance from close range collecting a back-header after a throw on the left, but Cerny was sharp and made a great save with a dive to his left. Anderson had to stretch to save a Barcham 20 yarder, but in injury time it was Cerny’s turn to excel, parrying Bothroyd’s strong 25 yard free kick, after being fouled by Lee.

John Jackson moved to left back in the second half, and his place was taken by Martin, who settled in very well next to Lewis. Martin did not please Clive Allen too much when trying to dig out the ball for a shot from 12 yards, but otherwise received plenty of vocal encouragement from his coach, as did all the Spurs lads. Martin had been part of an incisive move when he had been on the pitch only two minutes, when he sent Kelly away on a run. Kelly’s cross was met by Jamie Davis who hit a good shot just over the bar.

Martin was penalised about 25 yards out for a foul, and Bothroyd again tested Cerny when Ambrose touched the free kick to him. At the other end, Daniels’ determination was rewarded, when Jackson went ahead of him. Jackson hit what was probably an intended cross, but Anderson just got a touch to send the ball rolling along the bar for a corner. With fifteen minutes to go, the win was sealed with a superb goal out of the blue by Kelly. From fully 30 yards, Kelly launched a screamer of a shot that hit the roof of the net, and sent most of the crowd to their feet to applaud an astounding goal.

In no time at all, Spurs were the beneficiaries of what looked like a generous penalty award, when Barcham was sent tumbling at the end of a run and a move that had involved Jackson and substitute Simon Dawkins. Davenport was an interesting choice of penalty taker, but he finished the job with great confidence, even after a considerable pause after the referee chatted to a couple of players for encroachment. Davenport did his chances of advancement no harm at all, with an assured defensive performance against decent opposition. Big Marty was present, as was Alan Curbishley for the opposition.

Spurs record in this season’s Reserve League can be found at this page:-

They have accumulated 41 points in 17 games with 13 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats, and 42 goals for, and just 9 against. They have scored 32 goals in this 9-match winning run, and conceded only three. Such consistency has been achieved with various personnel, and again, all credit must go to Clive Allen who has truly rejuvenated the “Spurs Development Team”. We had better watch he doesn’t get poached away from us!

Next Tuesday, the Reserves are away to Southampton, before a crunch game at Barnet against Arsenal on Monday February 27th. Entrance at Underhill will be free. There will be loads of people there, and you need to get there as early as you can to assure yourselves of the best view. I’ll be there!

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