BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP RESERVE LEAGUE (SOUTH)
(at Broadhall Way, Stevenage)
MONDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER, 2005
SPURS RESERVES 2 (1) FULHAM RESERVES 0 (0)
El Hamdaoui, 62
Attendance: - Est. 1500
Referee: - Mr R. Lee
Spurs (4-4-2):- Cerny; Kelly, Huddlestone, Bunjevcevic (Capt.), McKie; McKenna, Davis, O’Hara, Jackson; Barnard, El Hamdaoui
Subs not used: - Fulop; Mills, Daniels; Lewis, Hallfredsson
Fulham (4-4-2):- Davidson; Rosenior, Christanval (sub Omozusi, 59), Leacock (sub Watkins, 46), Green (Capt.); James, Orelaja (sub Gowland, 86), Milsom, Casal; Pearce, Hudson-Odoi
Subs not used: - Brooks-Meade; Hall
Spurs continued their fine form in the Reserve League (Won 3, Drawn 1) with a comfortable two goal victory over an inexperienced visiting side that has nevertheless also made a good start to this season’s reserve campaign with 2 wins and a defeat. The win came courtesy of two stunning goals. The first of these was stunning in its quick execution from a position near the half-way line, started by Mounir El Hamdaoui, continuing his come back from injury. The second was a superb strike from easily 25 yards, that rattled the post, before rebounding into the net past a beaten goalkeeper – Mark Davidson, who was called to make several important saves, whereas Radek Cerny was rarely threatened.
It was a strong Spurs line-up, despite the absence of Phil Ifil and Calum Davenport, who have been released on three month loans at Millwall and Norwich respectably. Of the defence, only left back Marcel McKie does not feature in the first team squad, and if Kelly is absent from this level, then there is a very capable deputy in Kieran McKenna, who tonight played on the right of midfield, but who has played at right back in the past.
McKenna was nominally on the right wing, and he did make plenty of good crosses, but he was also given an interesting role to work a diagonal or cross-field line from right to left, even turning up on the left side at times. McKenna worked like the dynamo he is, and in my view was one of Spurs best players. Sean Davis played in his usual relaxed style, and may be working towards a place in the League Cup side at Grimsby next week. The trouble is he is so laid back at times, that he is prone to the occasional rickett. His midfield partner was Jamie O’Hara, like McKenna another highly rated and progressive youngster. O’Hara was given the more attacking role, and laid on Hamdaoui’s goal beautifully, later having a scorching shot saved himself. On the left of midfield, that left John Jackson, struggling to make real progress in the Tottenham set-up, and still waiting for a Coca-Cola side to snap him up. Jackson does not look in the best of spirits these days.
Barnard and Hamdaoui were busy, with Hamdaoui the more prominent tonight, getting more out of the game when coming deep for the ball in the second half.
On the Fulham side, only Rosenior, and Ian Pearce strike me as having real Premiership experience. Pearce, usually a defender, was playing up front, and in fairness put in loads of work. Leacock at centre-back has just a few Premiership games under his belt, and was replaced at half time.
Sean Davis did show some industry, and led the first attack from Spurs, winning a ball in the middle and feeding it to Hamdaoui, whose shot from the left of the area was held by the keeper. Without otherwise testing Davidson, Spurs had been on top, and the goal was no surprise when it came in the 13h minute. Barnard slipped the ball to Hamdaoui near the touchline just in the Fulham half. Mounir sent a lovely long ball across the field to McKenna, and by the time he hit a well-placed cross, Barnard had raced into the area, and got behind the defender, to hit a well-placed header beyond Davidson. It was a truly beautiful goal in its execution.
Fulham did then get a chance, when Bunjevcevic and Huddlestone failed to clear properly from Pearce, and Hudson-Odoi did hit the target, but found Cerny as sharp as we have found him, whenever he has had the chance in the Spurs goal.
Hamdaoui battled his way into the box, and hit a shot into the side-netting, before giving McKenna a chance, which was bit just outside the post. Mid-way through the half, McKenna’s deep cross reached Jackson shoes driven shot was held by the Fulham keeper.
The Spurs system these days often entails the so-called wing-men playing narrow, and allowing the full backs the freedom to get as far forward as possible. Kelly’s first real effort gave El Hamdaoui another chance, which again was put into the side-netting. For all their possession and dominance, Spurs were failing to capitalise. A good move from the back led to Barnard threading a great ball for McKenna, whose shot across the beaten keeper was just wide of the far post.
Fulham played with more gusto in the second half, and had a worrying moment when Christanval carried the ball forward, giving the left winger a shooting chance. From that, Spurs broke, and Hamdaoui sent Barnard away down the left channel. Lee hit a good low shot across the keeper, who did well to get a hand to the ball, and concede a corner. It wasn’t long before Spurs increased their lead, and what a goal it was! Jamie O’Hara was facing the left touchline about 10 yards inside, turned and beat his marker, before sliding the ball to Hamdaoui, who took one touch and WHACK! Hit a fantastic shot from at least 25 yards, which would have burst the net, had it not hit the post first. It was Mounir’s third goal for the club, and easily the best so far!
Now Spurs upped the tempo, without forcing too much danger. Fulham had another chance after Davis fumbled over the ball near the half-way line, and Hudson-Odoi had a run, taking a shot that was held easily by Cerny. The other keeper excelled 5 minutes before the end, when Jackson crossed for Barnard, who just couldn’t get on a shot, but laid the ball up for O’Hara, racing forward like a steam train, hitting a powerful low drive which Davidson saved well getting his right hand down low to push round for a corner.
The two team who were above us in the table before tonight’s game played against each other and drew, which means Spurs have gone back to the top of the Reserve League from Arsenal on goal difference. We will be playing catch-up in three week’s time though, because that is our next fixture – away to Charlton on October 3rd. I intend to be there!
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