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Match Reports
Spurs Reserves v Southampton Reserves, 30.01.06

At Broadhall Way, Stevenage)

Spurs scorers:-
Barnard, 2
El Hamdaoui, 70

Southampton scorer:-
McGoldrick, 57

Referee: - Mr P. Gibbs

Attendance: - Est. 450

Spurs (4-4-2):- Burch; Bunjevcevic (Capt.), Mills, Lee, McKie (sub Smith, 86); Davis (sub Dawkins, 62), Lewis, Martin, Barcham; Barnard, El Hamdaoui

Subs not used: - Forecast; Lake; Seanla

No Bookings

Southampton (4-4-2):- Jones; Anaclet (Capt.), Thomson (sub Hutch, 46), Lancashire, Bale; Lallana (sub Baseya, 65), Condesso, Sparv, Dutton-Black (sub White, 76); James, McGoldrick

Sub not used: - (GK) Douglas

No bookings

A youthful Spurs reserve side beat a similarly young Saints by the odd goal of three, to make it 8 wins in a row, and to maintain their challenge for the Reserve League Championship after 16 games. Lee Barnard, no doubt celebrating his new two year contract, scored his 18th goal of the season and his 14th of that 8-game winning run, but it took an El Hamdaoui 70th minute header to clinch the points after Saints had made a great effort in the second half. To be honest Southampton deserved at least a point, as in the end they made Spurs keeper Rob Burch work the hardest of the two keepers.

Four of Spurs starting line up and the two used substitutes are likely to feature in Saturday’s under-18 game at The Lodge. For Jamie Davis (on the right wing) it was a first start in the reserves, and Joe Martin might also be accorded that attribute. Indeed Martin played as part of a very inexperienced central midfield, with the battling Stuart Lewis partnering. Spurs had a bonus start in only the second minute, as goal-machine Barnard latched onto Charlie Lee’s long ball, and from the left side of the area, beat Zac Jones with a low left-footed drive.

Spurs dominated proceedings or the next half hour, but failed to test the keeper really, with only long range efforts from Barnard and Lee himself to show for their efforts, which were driven by Lewis’s tenacity, Davis’s runs and plenty of possession from Martin, whose passes did not always find their intended targets.

Saints’ first effort of note came after 32 minutes, when James sent Dutton-Black down the left wing, and McGoldrick met the cross, but turned the ball into the side netting, when he had time to test Rob Burch. Clive Allen was frustrated by some poor refereeing, especially when Lewis won the ball 35 yards out, and ran to the edge of the box, where he was blatantly subjected to shirt tugging to the extent he struggled to keep his feet. The offence was ignored by Mr Gibbs, who allowed the visitors to steal as much as 15 yards from dead ball situations during the game.

Such decisions can work against you, and as Spurs had failed to capitalise on their early domination, they might have gone in level, when Bale made a good run, crossed for McGoldrick, whose shot was deflected for a corner. Martin did have a free kick saved by Jones, before McGoldrick again failed to make the most of a chance in the Spurs area. Indeed the young striker had countless chances in the second half, but either shot wide, or crossed poorly. Southampton seemed to be attacking Spurs down their right flank (Bunjevcevic and Mills), where they had a lot of success, and even Charlie Lee looked uncertain in that second 45 minutes against a re-energised Saints team, that did not allow Spurs any sustained period of possession in this part of the game.

Spurs did get a free kick after El Hamdaoui was fouled on the edge of the box, and Martin’s kick was well held by the keeper. Saints equalised, when McGoldrick finally found the target with a flick across Burch, meeting a cross from the left. It was a well-deserved equaliser, and McGoldrick nearly followed that up with a spectacular 30 yarder on the turn as his left foot shot landed on Burch’s net.

Spurs did get back in the game in the latter phases of the game, and it was thanks to Barnard’s effort on the right of the area, when he chipped the ball to the back post, where both Barcham and El Hamdaoui challenged for the header, but El Hamdaoui claimed the touch. Burch made a great save, when literally stealing the ball from McGoldrick’s feet as it looked like the keeper had been rounded.

Spurs next game is at home to Charlton in two weeks time, when we must hope some of the first team squad are available to re-inforce our challenge. Regular reserves such as McKenna and Daniels are currently injured, and I am losing count of the number of players out on loan, who would otherwise be in this team.

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