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West Ham Reserves v Spurs Reserves, 19.02.07

At Woodside Park, Bishops Stortford

West Ham scorer:-
Sears, 60

Spurs scorers:-
Lee, 7
Livermore, 18

Attendance: - 880

Referee: - Mr. M. George

West Ham (4-4-2):- Walker; O’Neil, Tomkins, N’Gala, Widdowson; Sears, Hales, Collison (Capt.) (sub Stanislas, 4) (sub Blackmore, 46), Fitzgerald; Hunt (sub Blackwell, 90), Jeffrey

Subs not used: - Miller, Bowes

Booked: - Hales

Spurs (4-4-2):- Alnwick; Ifil, Archibald-Henville, Mills, Daniels; Hutton (sub Mtandari, 81), Livermore (sub Fraser-Allen, 81), Lee (Capt.), Hallfredsson; Taraabt, Barcham

Subs not used: - Forecast; Hughton; Hutchins

Booked: - Daniels, Ifil

Spurs returned to winning ways against a genuine reserve side, after their home defeat last week against a Reading side, which ultimately featured 8 players who turned out at Old Trafford in the 1-1 FA Cup draw at the week-end. In truth, the West Ham opposition were at the other end of the spectrum, featuring primarily Youth players, whose team are firmly placed at the bottom of the table with just one point to their name.

Spurs were weakened without the injured Kieran McKenna, and the absent Jamie O’Hara, who perhaps is training with the first team squad this week. With last season’s top-scoring striker Lee Barnard still recovering from his long term injury, Andy Barcham was once again given the often lonely task of trying to make headway against the bigger defenders of the Hammers. Adel Taraabt played behind Barcham, whilst Hallfredsson often came inside to offer support, and to use his height to try and win aerial challenges. On the other flank, Spurs had little David Hutton, who had played 90 minutes on Saturday for the under 18s, and who made a great impact tonight – particularly in the first half.

Skipper Charlie Lee played in central midfield, beside Livermore, allowing the ever more confident Troy Archibald-Henville to partner Leigh Mills in the centre of the defence.

West Ham’s most experienced player was surely goalkeeper Jimmy Walker, who has played just three Premiership games since getting a serious injury in the play-off final two years ago.

The home side suffered an early set-back when skipper Collison had to be replaced after just 4 minutes by Stanislas, who was replaced himself at half-time. Stanislas took over on the left wing from Fitzgerald, who moved inside next to Hales.

Spurs made an impressive start, and took the lead in the 7th minute. Ifil passed forward from the half-way line to Taraabt, and then ran ahead of the midfielder, receiving the pass, and then crossing deep into the area. Charlie Lee was on hand 8 yards out at the back of the box, beating Walker with the deftest of touches that went just inside the keeper’s right post. Ten minutes later it was 2-0, as Lee sent Hutton away down the right wing, and this time it was Livermore who received the low cross, beating Walker with a finish to his left. Soon after the goal, Taraabt had a good effort touched just slightly to win a corner.

Spurs were so dominant in these early stages that they really should have scored another goal or two. Hallfredsson’s crosses were a little too close to the keeper, or passed out of play, and despite more good approach play from Hutton and Ifil, there was no-one big enough to connect to the crosses. Livermore was fouled just outside the box, and Taraabt was determined that the kick would be his, hitting a dipping shot just over the bar.

Charlie Daniels supported a Hallfredsson run down the left, and was inside to receive a pass, which he fired at goal, only to see the ball saved for another Spurs corner. West Ham had been trying to make headway, particularly down the right flank, and Sears was their biggest danger, finally forcing a save from Alnwick in added time.

After the break, Spurs won a few corners, but could not hit the target, whilst the Hammers upped the ante, and became more and more of a threat. After 55 minutes, the Spurs boys hesitated about 35 yards out, and this allowed Fitzgerald a chance, which was saved well by the body of Alnwick. The Hammers got one goal back on the hour, when Daniels made a mistake and lost out to Jeffrey, who passed inside where Sears hit a good shot to the left of Alnwick. Spurs best chance fell to Barcham when Hallfredsson threaded a ball through to him, but Andy’s effort was blocked for a corner.

In added time there was a melee, following a foul on Taraabt, who had clearly irritated the Hammers with his showboating. The referee needed a consultation with both his assistants, and ended up settling for a yellow card for Hales and Ifil. It was hand-shakes all round though at the final whistle and embraces from the keepers, who had played a full part in splitting up some of the protagonists in the dispute.

Spurs next game will be at home to Watford on Monday 5th March.

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