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Spurs Reserves v Aston Villa Reserves, 03.03.08

At Brisbane Road, Leyton

Dawkins, 5
Taarabt (pen), 34
Pekhart, 78

Referee: - Mr M. Stewart

Attendance: - Est. 150

Spurs (4-4-2):- Button; Gunter, Archibald-Henville (Capt.), Rocha, Hughton; Parrett (sub Fraser-Allen, 50), Martin, Rose, Taarabt; Dawkins (sub Kasim, 82), Pekhart

Subs not used: - Jansson; C. Butcher; Cox

Booked: - Martin, Pekhart, Rose

Aston Villa (4-4-2):- Sorensen; Hogg (sub Forrester, 65), Lichaj, Lund, Earls; Routledge, D. Bellon, Salifou, Y. Bellon (sub Albrighton, 58); Berger (Capt.), Clancy (sub Bradley, 73)

Subs not used: - Bevan

Booked: - Hogg

In their 12th competitive fixture of an 18 match season, Spurs Reserves gained a very welcome convincing win over top of the table Villa. It was Spurs Reserves first win since October and only their third of the season, thanks to surely their best performance of the season. The win was also ample revenge for the 3-1 defeat they suffered in the away game in November.

Both sides were bolstered by the presence of experience. Villa had Sorensen in goal, and our former winger Wayne Routledge on the right side of midfield, with skipper Patrick Berger taking every opportunity to test David Button in goal. Routledge gave Cian Hughton quite a tough time, but when Clive Allen switched the full backs mid-way through the first half, and Chris Gunter marked Routledge, the threat was more stifled. Hughton performed well down the right flank though.

Spurs played their strongest side for a while, with Ricardo Rocha at the back, who made a number of key blocks, Gunter of course, and Adel Taarabt weaving his tricks down the left. There was still plenty of room for young talent such as Dean Parrett, playing a strong role down the right wing, Danny Rose playing the attacking midfield role and supporting Dawkins and Pekhart effectively. The understanding between those two, Rose and Taarabt worked very well for Spurs.

Rose had an early half chance, which was easily held by Sorensen. This followed a throw on the right after a great long ball from Taarabt to Parrett. Routledge beat Hughton at the other end and was well blocked for the first time by Rocha. Pekhart hit a strong low cross/shot from near the right touch line, which tested Sorensen but was just outside the post. Then Spurs took the lead following a great passing move, involving Taarabt at the end of the play, putting Dawkins into play. Simon rounded the last defender and then beat Sorensen with a low shot. Pekhart headed the ball into the net within three minutes, but was offside. Dawkins had provided the final headed pass this time, but Taarabt, Rose and Gunter had been involved in the build up.

Having two strong strikers up front was working well for Spurs, as both were involved in feeding Taarabt, who miscued his shot, and then saw Danny Rose fire wide from the back of the penalty box.

After more good blocking by Rocha, Villa kept some pressure up, and David Button made a splendid diving save from Berger’s rasping shot. Button dived to his left and pushed the ball wide with his right hand. It was a save for any keeper to be proud of, and there was more to come from the young England International. Berger had another effort, this time wide, after Spurs failed to clear their lines. After 33 minutes, Cian Hughton sent Rose away down the left with a good ball. Rose carried the ball into the box, and went down under the challenge. The referee awarded a penalty, much to the disdain of the Villa contingent, but I think it was a correct decision. Taarabt fired home rather cheekily with a placed shot.

Rose had another chance on the break, which had been led by Parrett, who picked out the former Leeds youngster. Danny got into a scoring position, beat the keeper, but the ball passed across the goal and wide. Just before the break, there were bookings for Hogg and Joe Martin. The referee had allowed Villa to play on after Martin’s infringement, and on this occasion, Routledge got into the 6 yard area, but was blocked by the advancing Button.

Spurs had the early advantage in the second half, with Sorensen batting away a long Taarabt free kick, and then holding a Joe Martin free kick taken from a central position. After good work by Kyle Fraser-Allen (who had replaced the injured Parrett), Danny Rose switched the play to Taarabt, whose shot was held. Pekhart was added to the referee’s notebook for simulation, and then Rose was unfortunate to also be added, after winning the ball cleanly in a tackle, but catching Hogg with his trailing leg. The unfortunate Hogg was stretchered off and replaced by Forrester after a considerable delay.

Button made another great save (a reflex from close range) when Lund hit a powered header from a corner. Then Lund was the “Villan” as he deflected Cian Hughton’s well hit cross goalward. It looked like an own goal, but Pekhart claimed a touch to put the ball over the line. Moustapha Salifou hit a good overhead attempt over the net, and apart from a near mix-up between Rocha and Button, Spurs comfortably held onto their 3-0 lead.

The Reserves next home game is on March 26th against Derby. Before that they travel to Reading next Wednesday, whilst the first team are in Eindhoven, and the following week to Birmingham.

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