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Match Reports
Spurs Reserves v Norwich Reserves, 30.08.05

(at Broadhall Way, Stevenage)

Referee: - Mr. D. McDermid

Attendance: - Est. 1200

Spurs (4-1-4-1):- Burch; Ifil, Bunjevcevic, McKie, Daniels; Davis; Lennon, Brown, O’Hara (sub McKenna, 64), Jackson (Capt.); Barnard

Subs not used: - Forecast; Mills; Maghoma; Hamed

No bookings

Norwich (4-4-2):- Lewis; Cave-Brown, Spillane, Quaye, Drury (Capt.); McVeigh, Jarrett, Howlett (sub Fisk, 80), Eagle; El Ouargi (sub Martin, 33), Henderson

Subs not used: - Herbert; Muddel

No bookings

A Norwich side full of Juniors, which had lost both its first two games in this league, gained its first point of the season against a strongish Spurs line-up taking the International break into consideration. Spurs had beaten Norwich reserves home and away last term, and lost their 100% record despite putting the visitors under considerable pressure at times. To their credit, the Canaries defended stoutly, and had a couple of decent opportunities themselves, whereby they might have snatched all three points.

Spurs had made several changes, firstly to accommodate Sean Davis, making his first appearance of the season (and lasting the 90 minutes), but also to deal with the absence of Emil Hallfredsson, who would normally play on the left flank, but is away with his Iceland team. Youngster Charlie Daniels was drafted in to play at left back, a position that might have been occupied by Marcel McKie, who moved inside to partner Goran Bunjevcevic in the middle. Sean Davis held sway at the back of the midfield, where Lennon and Jackson were the wingers, and Michael Brown and Jamie O’Hara were in the middle. That left Lee Barnard with little support at the front, and he was firmly marshalled by the aptly named Michael Spillane, and Alvin Quaye, who made plenty of determined and successful tackles. Norwich also included ex-Spur Paul McVeigh on the right.

The key to Norwich’s success was the fact that they got 9 or 10 men behind the ball as soon as Spurs broke into their half. The Spurs man on the ball would soon have three or four opponents buzzing around him, and creative life was very difficult at times. Having said that Phil Ifil made early advances with long passes left and right, leading to a cross held by young Norwich keeper Joe Lewis, and an O’Hara shot from 25 yards that went just over the bar.

Norwich had a fifth minute free kick, taken by Jarrett, but fired over after a somewhat reckless challenge by McKie. Overall though, Marcel again gave a very good account of himself, and proved adaptable, as he normally plays on the left. Jamie O’Hara was making a number of runs into forward territory, which is unusual for him as he likes to police the back of midfield where Davis and Brown were at work tonight. Jamie made a great run into the box, had a shot parried by Lewis, and then could not reach the rebound before it was cleared.

A period of check-mate football followed before after 19 minutes Michael Brown started and finished an attack with a typically battling run, and then received a lay-back from Lennon, before hitting a powerful rising shot just over the bar. Norwich made an early substation of their striker El Ouargi, being replaced by Chris Martin.

Sean Davis took a 38th minute free kick from 22 yards out, which hit the top of the bar, and went out of play. Two incidents before the break could have led to penalties at either end. Firstly Ifil found Barnard with another great ball, before Lee collided with Spillane, appealed for a penalty to no avail. Almost immediately, Martin went down in the Spurs area, screaming for a penalty, but referee Mr McDermid must have felt the decent thing to do was not to award a penalty, to even things up. It was at this point that Spurs coach Clive Allen made some disparaging remarks about the officials, and turned to the crowd to explain why those in his occupation had heart attacks!

After the break, O’Hara played more at the back of midfield for a while, and made some good passes, but it was Norwich who had the best chance after 53 minutes, when full-back Cave-Brown got ahead of his forwards and behind the Spurs defence to receive a chipped pass, but only half-hit a shot at Rob Burch. Michael Brown responded from a Spurs corner with a low shot held by Lewis. Now Spurs were lifting the tempo, and Brown brought a great save from Lewis, tipping his shot over for a corner, after good work by Ifil and Lennon. From the corner, O’Hara tried a powerfully dipping shot across the goal that went wide from the back post.

Spurs now concentrated their attacks through the middle and a good move through Jackson, Davis, and Lennon ended with yet another Michael Brown shot held by the keeper, whose handling had looked suspect early on, but grew more and more confident as the game progressed. O’Hara now made one of his occasional lapses with a poor ball across the pitch, picked up by Martin, which he fed to Henderson, who thankfully fired over.

Charlie Daniels has a history of playing as a left winger with a liking to get into the box, and he demonstrated his scoring potential with a run inside, a slightly fortunate 1-2 exchange, but then a great shot that was parried by Lewis and scooped over by Lennon who followed up. O’Hara made way for McKenna, and in the 69th minute the second of two great Spurs moves through the middle ended with Brown’s shot being pushed around for another corner by Lewis. Brown had picked Davis’s ball up beautifully to make it a flowing move and shot.

Norwich nearly had a sensational winner when Robbie Savage look-alike Robert Eagle surprised and beat Burch with a fantastic 35 yard shot that hit the top of the bar and rebounded into play.

Spurs remain top of the Reserve League, having played three games, but Fulham and Charlton have won both their two games, and Arsenal are also breathing down our necks with 6 points from 3 games, having beaten Leicester 5-2 tonight.

Next up for Spurs will be Fulham at home on Monday 12th September – kick-off 7 p.m.

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