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Match Reports
Spurs Reserves v Ipswich Reserves, 28.03.06

My thanks are due to my friend and fellow website/fanzine editor, Wyart Lane, for permission to use his comprehensive report on last night's game at Stevenage. Don't forget to check out the MEHSTG web site

NEWSFLASH! - Thanks to Arsenal Reserves getting a 5-1 pasting at Southampton, Spurs are declared the Reserve League Southern Section Champions!

at Broadhall Way, Stevenage
Tuesday 28th March 2006
Spurs Reserves 3 (1) Ipswich Town Reserves 0 (0)

Marney, 17
Jackson, 86
Barnard, 90

Ref. Mr. M. Bull
Assistants : G. Johnson, L. Venamore
4th official : A Degnarain

Attendance : Approx 400

Spurs (4-4-2):- Burch; McKenna, Huddlestone, Bunjevcevic, Martin; Marney, Jackson, Ghaly, Reid; Barnard, Barcham

Subs not used:- Forecast; Mills; Lewis, Davis; Hamed

No Bookings

Ipswich (4-3-1-2):- Petursson; McEveley (sub Ainsley 75), Krause, Casement, Mitchell (c); Leabon (Upson 75), Trotter, Brekke-Skard; Peters; Knights, Haynes

Subs not used:- Short; Webster

No Bookings

Tottenham’s Reserves all but won the Southern Premier League Reserve title last night after a win against Ipswich Town, even though the victory was not wrapped up until the last four minutes.

It was a comfortable win in the end, with an assured performance seeing the Tottenham side pass the ball confidently and causing the young Ipswich Town side plenty of problems. The visitors included three players from their FA Youth Cup winning squad of last season, while four of Tottenham's subs and starter Andy Barcham all featured in the semi-final against the young Tractor Boys last April.

Spurs started out playing in the direction of a stiff breeze, with Ipswich finding out how strong it was with the first keeper's clearance coming back at his defence after nearly reaching a third of the way down the pitch !! But they sorted out how to play against the wind and Joe Martin was soon making a good covering tackle in the right back position from his left back berth. Three minutes later, Kieran McKenna reciprocated with a good defensive header at the far post as Ipswich's fluid 4-3-1-2 system found it's way up the wings.

It took a while to get used to the following wind for Spurs, who tended to over-hit their passes early on, but an 11th minute corner, taken by Jackson, was pulled back to Dean Marney some 25 yards out and he took one touch before firing in a dipping drive that went just too high. It was good to see Marney back in action, as his dynamic running caused problems along the right and a minute after his shot, he put a tempting low cross into the six-yard box, which the Town keeper left, only for Barnard to read well at the far post. He knocked the ball intelligently back across goal and the in-rushing Barcham was just beaten to it by a defender.

It wasn't too long after that when Spurs finally had the ball in the net. McKenna was making good ground up the right wing, but on this occasion he cut inside and unleashed a powerful shot from 30 yards out, which the goalie fumbled. Ever alert, Lee Barnard seized on the loose ball and knocked it in ... only for it to be ruled out for him being offside when the initial shot came in. That was in the 15th minute and two minutes later, Spurs got one that did count.

The ball was well worked on the left wing this time and Joe Martin cut back onto his right foot, to put in a deep cross beyond the far post to Marney, who ran in and hit a low volley which the keeper got a hand to, but could not keep out. One of Marney's assets is his ability to strike the ball cleanly and this was a fine example of his art.

This was the first time I had seen Hossam Ghaly and he did well. Not a player who makes himself the centre of the play, but one who gets involved and looks to have a nice touch. His passing particularly caught the eye and he is a strong lad, who isn't afraid to get stuck in. When he broke forward in the 20th minute, he played in Barnard just on the left of the box and his pass to Marney ended with a 25 yard shot over the bar. Manoeuvring the ball across and up the pitch, Tottenham controlled the play and with quick bursts they broke on the Ipswich goal, almost at will. Ghaly set up Huddlestone from a cleared corner and the strapping midfielder curled a shot only just over the bar.

Tom was playing in central defence alongside Bunjy and looked extremely comfortable there. He took the through balls out with good reading of the game and used his passing array to springboard attacks from defence. It can't be long before his place in the first team is secure ... but where ?? He can play in defence or midfield so impressively.

Also showing a willingness to be involved was a slim-line Andy Reid. His wing play and passing helped control the midfield and his pace when chasing a long ball out of defence would have silenced many of his critics.

Twenty six minutes in and Ipswich got a free-kick outside the box and McEveley fired it into Johnnie Jackson's stomach and then Brekke-Skard hit the rebound well over the top. The Norwegian appeared to have his own fan club at the game, with flags being waved, cow bells rung and flashbulbs going off whenever he had the ball. The closest the visitors came to a goal was after 29 minutes when Reid played a loose flick at a pass and gave it to Knights, who impressed in the Youth Cup matches. He took the ball on and let go a 25-yard effort that fizzed past Burch's right upright.

Just after the half hour, it was Marney shooting at goal again and this time his drive almost unhinged an Ipswich player when it knocked the centre-half Casement off his feet !!

Barnard and Barcham linked up well on a number of occasions and their understanding pulled the Ipswich defenders around, with Barnard's overhead flick almost putting Barcham in on goal. But it was at the other end where the last action of the half arrived and Spurs were indebted to Dean Marney for being in the right place at the right time to clear a shot through a crowd of players from an Ipswich corner off the line with a minute to go to the break.

No changes at the start for the second half and no change to the course of the game. The wind had dropped and sporadic showers of rain fell, quickening the turf. Johnnie Jackson took a 52nd minute free-kick and bent it agonisingly wide of the far post, but it was Kieran McKenna, having a fine match, who made a great tackle as Leabon threatened to get a shot away inside the area. The game moved from end to end and a cleared corner fell to Reid, who drilled in a low drive which the keeper did well to stop and then just over halfway through the half, Clive Allen was almost incandescent with rage when Barnard was pushed over just inside the area with no penalty given. It was a blatant two handed shove by Brekke-Skard, who then released the ball and set up a move that ended with McKenna heading over his own bar as Peters came in behind him.

A one goal lead is always a fragile one and this proved not to be any different to any other. With 82 minutes on the clock, a one-two on the edge of the Tottenham box saw Trotter put Haynes in, but his shot was kept out by Burch's legs as he closed quickly on the striker. The save was crucial, as it protected the narrow lead and four minutes later, it doubled. The ball was played to Martin on the left and his first time cross was designed to put an early ball into the danger zone and panic Ipswich. Unfortunately, he got his delivery wrong and the ball ballooned up into the air. However, Barcham twigged that the ball was not going out and rose high at the far post to head back across the goalmouth and at the back stick Jackson was there to rifle the ball into the net for 2-0. I am sure it is not how it was supposed to work, but it resulted in a goal nonetheless. The Ipswich defenders were not happy that their keeper Oskar Petursson had left the high ball. Seems he didn't hit the right note with his team-mates !!

With the game going into injury time, Spurs continued to press forward and form a corner, the ball was knocked out to Marney who smacked a shot at goal, which Petursson did well to beat out this time, but his goal was not safe, as with almost the last kick of the match, Lee Barnard got his well-deserved goal. He received the ball from a give and go on the edge of the area from Marney and shot low across the keeper to hit the left hand corner of the net. His all-round play has come on so much this season and his strike rate is admirable seeing a show he has missed some games with injury. Unfortunately, Martin Jol had gone by the time this one went in, but I hope he had seen enough to go away with the impression that Lee deserves a chance in the first team.

With Arsenal playing SCBC tonight in the Reserves, all eyes will be on their result. If they fail to win, the title will be Tottenham's. If they do take the three points, then Spurs need one more from their remaining three games. It may only be a question of time, but this squad have done themselves proud and when you think that there is virtually another whole team out on loan, the youngsters have acquitted themselves really well.


Report by Marco van Hip Courtesy of My Eyes Have Seen The Glory www.mehstg.com

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