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Friendly Report - Exeter v Spurs


O'Hara, 32
Lennon, 69
Bent, 82

Attendance: - 8,636

Referee:- Mr. S. Bratt

Exeter (4-4-2):- Jones; Tully (sub Burnell, 46), Golbourne (sub Duffy, 46), Russell (sub Edwards, 46), Seaborne, Taylor (sub Archibald-Henville, 49), Harley (sub Dunne, 65), Panther (sub Bennett, 65), Stansfield (sub Logan, 46) (sub Corr, 83), McAllister (sub Stewart, 46) (sub Frear, 83), Sercombe (sub Allen, 65)

Subs not used: - Marriott; Norwood

No Bookings (Details taken from Exeter's Express & Echo)

Spurs (4-4-2)

First Half: - Cudicini; Hutton, Corluka, Dervite, Chimbonda; Bentley, Huddlestone, O'Hara, Rose; Defoe, Keane (Capt.)

Second Half: - Button; Gunter, Dawson, Livermore, Ekotto; Lennon, Boateng, Palacios, Modric; Pavlyuchenko, Bent

Players present, but not used: - King, Woodgate, Bale, Jenas

No Bookings

There was a hearty welcome in the south-west last week, as League One newcomers Exeter City played host to Harry Redknapp's Spurs squad. Relations between the two clubs are cordial of course, with Steve Perryman the Director of Football for "The Grecians", and Harry Redknapp having taken a strong Portsmouth team to the other St. James' Park in pre-season last year. Relations between fans are good too. There was a party from Northern Spurs present to formally present a cheque for some £800 to Steve Perryman for the benefit of the Exeter Centre of Excellence - their equivalent of our Academy. Steve (along with Graham Roberts) had given an evening of entertainment for the Northern Spurs in April at Hunslett, in Leeds.

Spurs fans from far and wide made the trip down this corner of England, but there are many locals who love Spurs too, and they were pleased to see their heroes on their turf. They and Exeter fans turned out in force and made it a full house for a game which lived up to its title - it was very friendly. As could be expected, Spurs dominated throughout, and for the home team it was very much a master class of football, without ever being an embarrassment.

As you can see, Spurs played two teams for each half. One of those players has already left (Chris Gunter), and one wonders how many of the remainder will be on the move before the season proper starts. I spotted 26 players present with Heurelho Gomes and Giovani Dos Santos (International duties) the only notable absentees.

One or two of the Spurs players seemed to be out to impress, either their present manager, or perhaps anyone interested in taking them on. David Bentley was busy in the first half, although not always successful, whilst Kevin-Prince Boateng also worked hard in the second half, skying one good chance on goal, but tackling in a hard but fair way.

Defoe had a fifth minute header from a Spurs cross from the right, which Exeter's man of the match, goalkeeper Paul Jones held at the second attempt. There was little going on in the first period, and the home fans had something to cheer after a quarter of an hour when a free kick from the right was left by Hutton and fired towards Cudicini, but held. Defoe and Keane were involved in an attack which was blocked with the ball running to Huddlestone. His shot was deflected for a corner, and soon after that Tom had another shot, this time from a corner, which flew narrowly over the bar.

Spurs took a 32nd minute lead after good work by Bentley and Hutton on the right, which led to a Robbie Keane shot being saved by Jones, but going as far as O'Hara, who fired home from 10 yards out. Goalkeeper Jones made further saves from Keane and Defoe before the teams changed at half-time.

One of the early second-half substitutes for Exeter was Spurs youngster Troy Archibald-Henville, who impressed here at the end of last season, and is likely to spend some more time with "The Grecians"

The Spurs second-half team was far more penetrative in my view, with star players Modric and Lennon at the helm, and well in control. After a 48th minute corner, Jake Livermore won a battle for the ball, hit by Michael Dawson against the post. A left footed shot by Pavlyuchenko was held by Jones. Bent had won a battle for the ball which had run to his Russian partner. That man Jones picked out a dangerous Modric cross, then he saved a cracking Boateng shot, before Spurs headed over from the corner. Jones tarred again and just managed to clutch Bent's shot which followed an exciting run down the right by Lennon.

Exeter did have a good shot that whistled over the bar after 62 minutes, and Button may have actually tipped it over, but no corner was awarded.

Spurs increased their lead in the 69th minute, when Modric and Ekotto caused havoc down the left wing. Pavlyuchenko hit the post from Ekotto's cross, then Modric fed Lennon racing into position through the middle, before making no mistake with his shot. Both Lennon and Modric were more or less free agents, coming inside from the flanks at will, and to good effect. Pavlyuchenko had another shot blocked, before another attempt from 25 yards was not held and Darren bent finished off for a comfortable 3-0 lead. Even Palacios nearly got in on the scoring act with a shot from a corner that did beat Jones, but not his supporting defence.

Exeter nearly got on the score sheet in the closing stages, when Frear crossed and Corr glanced his header just over the bar.

The match was played in strong evening sunshine, and was a great opportunity for the fans to get closer to their heroes than is normally possible. Spurs stayed in nearby Woodbury Park for the week, until their next game at Harry's old stomping ground at Bournemouth.

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