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Hearts v Spurs, 24.07.99

An eye witness report from Ray Lo

Pre-season Friendly at Tynecastle, Edinburgh
Saturday 24th July, 1999

Attendance:- 9,710

Referee:- K. Stott (USA)

Hearts (3-5-2):- Rousset; Preeley, Flogel, Murray, Severin, Ritchie, Makel, Fulton, Quitongo, Cameron, Jenkinson

Subs used:- James; Holmes; Wales; Locke

Spurs:- Walker; Carr, Perry, Campbell, Taricco; Anderton, Young, Gower, Ginola; Iversen, Dominguez

Subs used:- Edinburgh; King; Fox ( not used - Baardsen; Scales; Nielsen ( injured during warm-up) )

Spurs lined up as expected with Carr, Perry, Campbell and Taricco at the back with Young playing just in front sweeping behind the midfield of Gower flanked by Ginola and Anderton, so the formation was really 4-1-3-2. With the strength of Scottish football improving this was a better test coming close to the start of the new season than the tour.

Spurs started without Nielsen who injured himself during the warm-up and was replaced by young Mark Gower in the starting line-up. I got my tickets for this match late due to my moving being called off and I found myself in with the home supporters. This allowed me to see the Spurs fans in the Roseburn Stand to my left. There were quite a few hundred who had made the trip for this friendly match and they were in good voice.

Hearts kicked off and went straight onto the attack with Flogel shooting at Walker early on. Hearts continued to put a lot of effort into their play while Spurs were content to play the ball around looking for openings. Campbell - faced with Quitongo, Hearts answer to our own Jose - played much too casually getting caught out a few times and having Young rescue him a couple of times. Luke was having to do a lot of defending due to the running of the "Jambo's" midfield.

Richie should have put them ahead when he met a free kick from the left on his own, in the box, having got away from Sol. A few minutes later Gower missed the target with a header from a good centre by Iversen. For all the effort Spurs looked the most dangerous during the half and it was no suprise when they took the lead.

In the 37th minute Iversen got the ball on the right. After beating his man he came inside and pulled the ball back into Anderton's path. Darren's shot came off the advancing keeper and went in off the unfortunate Murray for an own goal.

This prompted renewed effort from the home side who won a number of free kicks before the end of the half. They were all fairly central as the midfield players ran at the defence. Only one of Makel's kicks was on target which Walker held comfortably. Just before the end of the half Jose made a run down the left and came inside before lifting the ball over the defence. The shot came off the crossbar to an unmarked Iversen who headed it past the despairing keeper for 2-0.

Graham made two changes for the start of the second half, Campbell and Taricco were replaced by King and Edinburgh. This, coupled with a more determined Hearts side, had us on the back foot from the whistle. Jenkinson nicked the ball after we had kicked off and within a minute Walker had to dive full length to stop a low drive from Flogel at the foot of the post.

Both subs had no time to settle into the game before the "Jambos" got a goal back. In the 50th minute Cameron was fouled just outside the box and from the free kick Makel scored. Faced with a wall of five players he fired the ball straight through it and despite Walker getting a hand to it, the ball hit the net.

Hearts kept pushing forward and took off Ritchie for James, a massive defender, and Wales came on for Quitongo to add fresh bite up front. Spurs were content just to maintain the passing game to open up the home side.

The equaliser came in the 70th minute when the hard working Fulton dispossessed Carr and hit a high centre. Cameron got in front of Edinburgh and just got his head to the ball causing it to spin up and over a stranded Walker. Fox came on for the hard working Gower at the same time as Hearts brought on Holmes and Locke for Jenkinson and Severin for the last quarter of an hour as both sides seemed to have settled for the draw.

It is difficult to assess performances from friendlies as that extra bit of bite is missing. Spurs basically played at half pace and should do better in real competition. They all played fairly well except for Sol. Ledley has to react quicker and Justin is going to struggle. Darren and Steffen stood out with the quality of their play and Chris WILL be Sol's partner. David was double marked but you knew that if he had stepped up a gear there would have been only one result.


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