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Fulham Reserves v Spurs Reserves, 04.12.07

Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

    FA Premier Reserve League, South  
        Craven Cottage, Fulham
     Tuesday 4th December 2007, 7pm
       FULHAM     V     SPURS     
    (White/Black)    (All Yellow)                     
       4-4-2            4-4-2
        1(0)            0(0)
      Tony Warner 1 Ben Alnwick
      Moritz Volz 2 Cian Hughton
     Jon Anderson 3 Joe Martin
  Adrian Leijer(C)4 Jamie O’Hara
 Ashley Thompson  5 Ricardo Rocha
      Rob Milsom  6 Ledley King(C)
     Lewis Smith  7 Wayne Routledge
     Wayne Brown  8 Danny Rose
     Ismael Ehui  9 Tomas Pekhart
Matthew Saunders 10 Simon Dawkins
Brad Hudson-Odoi 11 Andros Townsend

  Neil Etheridge 12 Tommy Forecast
                 13 Chris Riley
   Nathan Ashton 14 Dorien Dervite
      (2)65Mins.     (6)46Mins.
  Tyrone Cameron 15 Yuri Berchiche
  Lino Goncalves 16 David Hutton  
     (11)75Mins.     (9)65Mins.     


         Ehui 87    

   Milsom 52(Late)  Martin 69(Dissent)
                    Hutton 85(Simulation)

Attendance:- Approx 300

Referee:- Mr. J.Hopkins
Assistants:- N.Lugg, T.Power, G.Kendall

It was a cool evening for this London Derby which had been switched to Craven Cottage from Fulham’s training ground. I was in the company of Pierre Dervite and friends to see his son return from injury. We had to wait for the second half as two other players were also making returns from injury as well. The long awaited Ledley King and Ricardo Rocha were given 45 minutes to test themselves. With regular centre backs Mills and Archibald-Henville side-lined with injuries it was a makeshift defence leaving little in reserve.

Spurs lined up with King and Rocha at the back with Hughton at right back and Martin on the left. O’Hara, back from a loan spell at Millwall, returned to the midfield and was partnered by Rose with Routledge on the right wing and Townsend on the left. Pekhart returned to partner Dawkins up front.

Spurs started brightly with Routledge getting down the right and hitting a low cross into an empty box. After five minutes King flicked on a corner from Rose which Warner could only push out at the far post. Spurs were making the running with O’Hara spreading the ball and Routledge and Townsend making runs down the flanks while Fulham seemed content to defend deep and launch counter-attacks which King and Rocha dealt with most of the time.

Alnwick was called into action for the first time in the 15th minute to hold a well struck cross from Hudson-Odoi. Warner had a simple save to make from a O’Hara free kick before King was called on to block a goal-bound shot. This was followed by Hudson-Odoi hitting an effort wide. Pekhart failed to capitalise on a under-hit back pass before being put in by a Routledge centre which he controlled with his arm.

The home side came more into it as the game went on, with more telling chances. Alnwick made a good save from Brown and Hudson-Odoi again put the ball wide of the near post. Pekhart put his effort wide after being set up by Routledge again. Routledge then had a shot himself which was saved. Alnwick had to save twice from Ehui as the half finished.

King and Rocha were replaced for the second half by Dervite and Riley. Martin moved inside to partner Dervite with Hughton switching sides to allow Riley to play at right back. It took a little while for them to settle and when Riley and Dervite collided going for the same ball we held our breath for a moment. Townsend hit a ball across the goal and Ehui and Thompson went close for Fulham. O’Hara weaved his way across the field before Milsom caught him from behind which earned the defender a booking. Smith and Brown put efforts wide as the home side pushed forward more in this half as opposed to the first.

Dawkins fired over before a good run by Hughton to set up Pekhart for a shot in front of goal which the keeper saved. Riley then played in Pekhart who went down under a challenge, and did not get up. He was taken off on a stretcher and replaced by Hutton. With the loss of Pekhart the Spurs build-up play became confused as they kept the ball on the ground and played it around looking for opening. There was a reluctance to shoot from outside the area as they looked to play the ball to team mates.

Martin was booked for delaying a throw-in on the left as Fulham attacked down the flank. O’Hara worked his way out to the left and put in a cross that missed two Spurs heads before coming back off the head of Ashton at the far post into the grateful hands of Warner. Rose and O’Hara had efforts over the bar before the keeper had to save from Dawkins. Hutton then went to ground in the area as he skipped between two defenders which the referee interpreted as a dive.

With two minutes left, Spurs lost possession on the right and the ball was played through to Ehui who scored with an angled shot to win the game for the home side.

With so much chopping and changing in the Spurs line-up they never looked like they got into a steady rhythm of play. While there was a lot of good approach play the final ball tended to be missing its target. Fulham looked to play fairly defensive during the first half and more adventurous in the second which was similar to last seasons encounter when they came back to get a point.

The three centre-backs all played well and looked in control of the central zone. O’Hara was his usual busy self but looked to be trying a little too hard at times. Routledge had another good game on the right getting past his man and putting in some dangerous crosses. I hope that Pekhart has not suffered a bad injury as his aerial threat will be missed.

The reserves will be playing Liverpool on the 17th December in a friendly at Brisbane Road as their next competitive game is not until January.


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