FA BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP RESERVE LEAGUE (SOUTH)
At Broadhall Way, Stevenage
MONDAY 30TH OCTOBER, 2006
SPURS RESERVES 0 (0) CHARLTON RESERVES 0 (0)
Referee: - Mr D. Ford
Attendance: - Est. 350
Spurs (4-4-2):- Fulop; Ifil, Dervite, Lee (Capt.), Ziegler (sub Lewis, 63); Maghoma, McKenna, Livermore, Daniels; Pekhart, Barcham
Subs not used: - Forecast; Hughton, Mills; Martin
Booked: - Lee (Dissent)
Charlton (4-2-3-1):- Randolph; Sankofa (Capt.), Fortune, Thomas, Youga; Pouso (sub Yussuff, 46), Kishishev; John, Ambrose, Weston (sub Simmonds, 63); Gislason
Subs not used: - Woolley; Carvill, Staunton
With the UEFA Cup tie looming later this week, Spurs were once again forced to field a “pure” Reserve side, who gave a creditable performance to battle it out in a packed midfield against Charlton, who were able to field more experience in the shape of Fortune, Ambrose and Kishishev. Spurs maintained their unbeaten status in the small Reserve League, but the game rarely managed to excite those gathered at Broadhall way tonight.
Reto Ziegler was a prominent contributor, at least whenever he took the corner kicks which from Spurs point of view gave the Charlton defence the most problems all night, with the big and powerful Dervite and Pekhart trying to reach the headers, and Charlie Lee also getting forward to good effect at dead ball situations. It looked at first as if Darren Ambrose had a front running role beside Rurik Gislason, but it soon became evident that Charlton were playing “the Chelsea way”, with Ambrose supporting the striker, and wing men Weston and John either side.
Charlton made the faster start – literally – with Ifil and Ziegler struggling to hold back those flank players. Charlton actually had the ball in the net after 2 minutes, when left back Youga headed home a cross from the right, but was adjudged to have committed a foul in the process. Youga’s grin with a team-mate as he ran back gave his accepted guilt away really.
Spurs took a while to pick up the tempo, with Clive Allen urging this from his protégés. There was plenty of good work being done by the hard running Andy Barcham up front, and Jake Livermore and McKenna in the middle. Jacques Maghoma was also chipping in with good challenges and penetrative wing play, but most times, the Spurs men ran into a wall of red that they could not pass. Ifil did get in a 13th minute cross, which Barcham met in front of the near post, heading wide, and then Charlie Lee headed a Ziegler corner wide. Charlton’s keeper Darren Randolph had to make a sharp save from a really powerful header by Dervite as he rose at the back post to yet another in a series of Ziegler corners.
By this time, Spurs were on top, and Barcham did well to charge down the ball, sending Maghoma clear on the right. Maghoma put in a decent cross, but efforts by both Livermore and Barcham were somehow blocked with a hint of handball by the Charlton defence too. The referee had already proved to be on the lenient side, having “words” only with Kieran McKenna over an early strong challenge. Clive Allen was fairly quiet all night, so he must have been fairly happy with the officials – for a change!
McKenna forced one of Randolph’s better saves with a sweet dipping left foot shot, following Maghoma’s throw from the right on the half hour mark. It wasn’t all going Spurs way though, as Alistair John hit a useful shot across Fulop’s goal which was not far wide. As half time approached, Ziegler put in another excellent delivery, which Pekhart and Dervite just missed.
Charlton made a decent start to the second half, with Weston hitting a left footed free kick wide of the near post. Spurs got a free kick just in the Charlton half, which they played backwards, looking as if they would surrender the advantage. However, the ball was played forward to McKenna down the right channel, and Kieran hit a great right footed shot that whistled just wide. Fulop had what was probably the best save of the game, stretching his right hand high to force over Kishishev’s shot after 51 minutes. Fulop then had to keep an eye on Gislason’s left footed effort that passed his left post.
After a round of substitutions, Charlton changed tack, and Simmonds played beside Gislason. Ziegler was rested – perhaps to be in reserve for Thursday – and Stuart Lewis played on the right, with Charlie Daniels falling to left back, and Maghoma switching to the left flank. It was Lewis who quickly had Spurs best remaining chance, hitting a good shot just inside the left post, which Randolph dived to reach.
There was plenty of effort in the remaining half hour, but little to excite and entertain, except for a funny incident when Spurs gave Charlton the ball back from a throw following an injury, then when the Charlton player hesitated about what he would do with the ball, Maghoma took the initiative – and the ball – off his feet, leading to a Spurs attack, and a bit of “handbags” on the edge of the Charlton area. The referee once again “had words” only, but did book Charlie Lee for dissent after a McKenna foul.
Spurs Reserves next official game is at home to Aston Villa in three weeks’ time. There is a chance they may be playing at Harlow next Monday, as I understand Spurs are sending a team to a testimonial match.
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