TUESDAY 21ST JULY, 2009
PETERBOROUGH UNITED 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 (1)
Attendance: - Est. 8,000
Referee: - Mr. K. Wright
Peterborough (4-3-2-1):- Lewis; Lee (sub Day, 66), Morgan (sub Goughran, 80), Pearce, Williams (sub Rowe, 46); Frecklington (sub Batt, 46), Coutts (sub Coutts, 80), Toumani Diagouraga; McClean (sub Green, 60), Boyd (Capt.) (sub Torres, 80); Wright (sub Martin, 46)
Spurs (4-4-2):- Cudicini (sub Jansson, 82); Chimbonda, Corluka (sub Huddlestone, 46), Dervite, Ekotto; Lennon, Jenas (Capt.) (sub Boateng, 46) (sub Livermore, 65), Palacios, O'Hara (sub Modric, 46 (Capt.)); Bent (sub Defoe, 46), Pavlyuchenko
Spurs enjoy their "Posh" night out.
Rather than field two different sides in each half, Spurs played a more conventional team with full use of those substitutes available against a keen Peterborough side. Despite the improved scoreline in their third pre-season game, this was a tougher proposition, with the home side demonstrating speed and determination - even in the tackle. Similarly, Spurs players stepped up their efforts a gear, with Wilson Palacios (awarded the Spurs man of the match by the sponsors) and Benoit Assou-Ekotto winning many hard challenges. These two players were amongst the best performers for Spurs, with Dervite looking cool at the back, and Jermain Defoe looking particularly sharp when he came on at half-time.
There was a reunion of sorts as former Spurs Junior Charlie Lee played at right back for "The Posh" and directly faced his old Spurs Reserve team-mate Jamie O'Hara. The Posh captain was George Boyd, signed two years ago from Conference side Stevenage, who is a real crowd pleaser with his bursting runs down the left flank and regular supply to the middle. Goalkeeper Lewis was kept busy too, but at the other end Carlo Cudicini had a good work-out too, having to demonstrate sharpness and good handling skills.
It was not a full house, but there was a good attendance, with strong and vocal Spurs support. I was lucky enough to be near the Directors' Box in which could be spotted Harry Redknapp, and former Spurs players Martin Chivers and Paul Allen.
It looked to me like Spurs were denied a clear penalty after 4 minutes, when Jenas picked up a short pass and ran through the middle getting tripped before he could get his shot in. The referee generously awarded a free kick outside the box, which Jenas fired into the wall. The referee didn't let much go for the rest of the game, and his whistle spoilt the flow of the game at times. Palacios found Bent down the left channel, and Jamie O'Hara was supporting and calling for the ball which he received. Jamie carried the ball further to the left and Pavlyuchenko failed to connect strongly enough with the cross, when it came. After 17 minutes, O'Hara, Palacios and Pavlyuchenko were involved in some good short passing approach play, but Bent's effort was weak and easily picked up. Four minutes later O'Hara fed Ekotto who cut the ball back sharply for Bent, who hit a strong low shot that the keeper could not hold, seeing the ball cleared by his defence.
Ekotto was really impressing at this stage, covering not only his left back position but also coming inside to help Dervite, with some incisive tackles and timely interventions. Dervite could be cool on the ball also.
Peterborough did have the ball in the net after 27 minutes, but the offside flag had been raised well before the shot was taken. From the outset it looked to me like Aaron Lennon was being asked to pace himself for a 90 minute game, as most of the play was coming down Spurs' left. Lennon did put in a good deep cross after 28 minutes, which Pavlyuchenko connected with strongly, seeing his left foot shot beaten away by Lewis. Jenas was not far out with a long range effort. Jenas then got another chance after more good short passing approach play from Lennon, O'Hara and Pavlyuchenko, before Jenas's low shot passed just wide.
The Spurs goal looked a yard offside to me, but the flag stayed down for Darren Bent, after Dervite carried the ball out of defence, and Jenas chipped the ball over for Bent to finish well for the first half lead. The Peterborough keeper had to parry away another decent shot by Jenas, before the referee had words with the Peterborough number 8 and Jamie O'Hara, after the particularly hard challenge by the home player.
There were a number of changes on both sides at the break, and for Spurs this meant Huddlestone replacing Corluka at the back, Boateng for Jenas, Modric for O'Hara and Defoe for Bent. Ekotto was called into action three minutes into the half and defended strongly against the threat of substitute (number 18). Spurs attacked down the right channel after a good touch by Defoe just inside the opposition half, with Palacios carrying the ball on before finding Pavlyuchenko on the left side of the defence. Pavlyuchenko should have scored, but put the ball wide of the right post. Lewis was then down well to a Defoe shot that was fired low and hard towards the right post.
Charlie Lee had been switched to the left back position to try and stem Lennon, but Lennon was getting the better with a penetrative jinky run, leading to more Spurs pressure but no goal. Peterborough had a good move into the Spurs box, and Boyd's shot was held low by Cudicini.
Spurs doubled their lead after 65 minutes. Dervite won a header and placed it well for Pavlyuchenko who fed the ball on via Modric for Defoe, whose first shot was saved but bounced up nicely for him to finish at the second attempt.
Boateng had to be replaced due to an apparent hamstring problem, and Jake Livermore fitted in more than comfortably, continuing his impressive pre-season form. Spurs' third goal came after a good ball out to Chimbonda in an advanced position. His cross went to the back of goal, where Luka Modric made no mistake with his shot.
There was still some defending for Spurs to do, as between them Dervite and Cudicini managed to scramble the ball clear under "Posh" pressure. Then they made it 4-0 with an excellent goal from the back. Cudicini caught a cross, and picked out Lennon in his own half with a throw. Lennon made a forward run, then picked out Pavlyuchenko beyond the defence with a cross-field pass. This time Pavlyuchenko finished in style with a right foot shot across the keeper's left into the far corner. The Russian had another chance soon after. This one was from the right side of goal, but Lewis made a good save from close range. In the closing stages, Livermore forced a corner with a rising shot that was pushed away for a corner.
Things will get a little more serious and more intense at the week-end for the Wembley Cup, but it really is a case of "so far, so good" for those who have played so far.
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