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Rushden & Diamonds v Spurs XI - 04.08.08

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

      Pre-Season Friendly               
Simon Parsell Testimonial Match
 Nene Park,  Rushden, Northants.                                   
 Monday 4th August 2008, 7.30pm


  (All White)     (All Light Blue)

    4-3-3           4-4-1-1

    2(2)              4(3)

Martyn Margarson 1 Ben Alnwick
    Curtis Osano 2 Paul Stalteri
Gareth Jelleyman 3 Cian Hughton
   Phil Gulliver 4 Kieran McKenna
  Dean McDonald  5 Troy 
   Lee Phillips  6 Ricardo Rocha(C)
 Andy Burgess(C) 7 Adam Smith
 Scott Mitchell  8 Daniel Hutchins
Michael Rankine  9 Tomas Pekhart
 Rob Wolleaston 10 Adel Taarabt
 Justyn Roberts 11 David Hutton

        Joe Day 12 David Button
     Lee Tomlin 13 Takura Mtandari 
     (14)59Mins.   (2)46Mins
Jamie McGuinness14 Dorian Dervite
     (12)63Mins.   (6)27Mins.
  Jake Beecroft 15 Alex Olsen 
    (17)59Mins.    (4)46Mins.
   Marcus Kelly 16 Chace O’Neill 
     (6)63Mins.    (10)85Mins.
Michael Corcoran24
      Sam Smith 25
Aynsley McDonald

       Phillips 2  Pekhart 7, 36, 52
       Burgess  6  o.g. Jelleyman 38

       Gary Hill   Clive Allen

Referee:- Chris Knowles
Asst. Referees:- Sean Feerick, Paul McVey
Fourth Official:- Wayne Bright

Attendance:- 1,411
It was a warm evening for the last of the Spurs XI pre-season games. I was joined by Paul Smith making the trek down from his northern outpost.(Ed:- It's only Chesterfield!) Again Clive did not have a large group of players to call on and he only had sixteen players of which Adam Smith played having come back from his brief appearance against Dortmund and U-16 midfielder O’Neill started on the bench.

Spurs lined up with Archibald-Henville and Rocha at the back with Stalteri at right back and Hughton on the left. McKenna and Hutchins played in the centre of midfield with Smith on the right and Hutton on the left. Taarabt started just in front of them in support of Pekhart.

Rushden kicked off attacking the East end where most of the Spurs supporters were and soon put the visitors under pressure. They tackled hard and quickly causing the Spurs players to rush their passes and lose possession. After McDonald had fired wide, Osano got to the line down the right and when he pulled the ball back Alnwick failed to gather. With the ball bouncing around the area Phillips drove it through the legs of everybody into the net.

Alnwick was making his first appearance after injury, and his handling was bad. It took a while for him to settle which did not help his defenders. He did save from Mitchell in their next attack but could do nothing when Burgess cut in from the left and curled the ball into the far corner. Almost straight from the restart Taarabt played a through ball that Pekhart ran on to and reduced the arrears. It was Spurs first real attack.

The home side were still on top despite Hutchins hitting one wide with Rankine going wide and Burgess putting his effort over before Alnwick had to make two saves in the next attack before Stalteri cleared off the line. Rocha had to go off with what looked like an injured foot and was replaced by Dervite, with Archibald-Henville taking the captains armband.

Dervite had an uncomfortable few minutes before he adjusted to the pace and strength of the Rushden strikers and helped to settle the defence. Rankine had a good chance after a mistake by Alnwick but put the ball over which was punished five minutes later when Taarabt found a Hutton run on the left and his cross was headed home by Pekhart. Taarabt again found Hutton in a near repeat move only this time Hutton’s cross was put in at the far post by Jelleyman.

Rushden kept coming forward and Alnwick saved from Burgess with his legs as he went the wrong way. Rankine then drove the ball against the crossbar from a good position. Spurs finished the half in front having been under the cosh for most of the time.

Allen made three changes at half-time with Button replacing Alnwick in goal and Mtandari taking over from McKenna in midfield. Smith moved to right back to allow Olsen to play on the right in support of Pekhart in place of Stalteri. With only six minutes played, Taarabt played the ball through to Olsen on the right and he delivered a good cross for Pekhart to put it away coming in on the left.

The home side had two good chances to close the gap in quick succession. The first came when Archibald-Henville conceded a penalty for climbing all over Rankine at a free kick. Phillips hit his spot kick wide of the right post. In their next attack Rankine got past Archibald-Henville who pulled him down on the edge of the area. McDonald hit the free kick high over the bar.

The Rushden manager rang the changes to give the rest of his players a run out as he must have felt the game was lost. They kept trying with McGuinness firing over and then putting his next attempt wide. Olsen was played in on the right but put his effort wide. Hutton made a good run to pick up a long ball from Dervite which Margarson came out and saved. Sam Smith drove wide and Tomlin lifted his shot over as Rushden kept trying to the end.

This was a good result against a strong physical side that had more of the play than Spurs but lacked the finish needed. Taarabt provided the bullets from midfield when he opened up the home defence to set up the goals. This was when he had stopped trying to run rings around players who had no intention of allowing him to get away with it. Early in the second half he dribbled his way down the left to the edge of the area and instead of picking his pass he turned around to beat the two defenders again. He also has that Berbatov show of frustration when he does not receive a good pass.

Smith made some good runs down the right despite some very close attention by Jelleyman. The defence looked more mobile and solid when Dervite came on and his long balls provided a good outlet for counter-attacks. Button showed good handling while Alnwick was in need of match practice. The same could be said of McKenna who still looks a little off the pace. Pekhart worked hard to find the openings and get on the end of the crosses for his goals. We lost this game last year and perhaps were fortunate to get the result that we did. Anyway a gooner XI only won 2-0 here last week.


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