Monday 4th August 2003



Luton Town   2     Tottenham XI    1     (Half-time score : 0-1)
Monday 4th August 2003
Venue : -  Kenilworth Road
Kick Off : -  19.30 p.m.
Weather : -  Warm, dry
Crowd : -  About 1,700
Referee : -  
Teams : -  
Luton Town : - Jalal (Abbey 45); Foley, Neilson, Spring, Bayliss (Coyne 83), Boyce, Hughes, Nicholls, Howard, Thorpe (Crowe 83), Mansell (Davis 11 [Okai 74]) 

Tottenham XI : -  Burch; Kelly, Mabizela, Doherty; Marney, Jackson,  Yeates, Ricketts (Hughes 25), Galbraith; Slabber, Poyet (Bowditch 79)

Colours : -  
Luton Town  -  White shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks

Tottenham - All light blue

Scorers : -  
Luton Town  -  Howard 69, Foley 90

Tottenham -  Slabber 27

Cards : -  
Luton Town  - Nicholls (foul)

Tottenham -  Mabizela (foul)

I work as a steward at Luton and so had the rare privilege of being paid to watch Spurs (even if it was the reserves).  Thought you guys might like a first hand report of the debut of our South African stow-away.

Unfortunately, I only got to see the first half, as I was put on one of the gates for the second.  Mbulelo Mabizela isn't as big as I thought he would be, but certainly lived up to his tenacious reputation.  He landed a corker of a challenge on Luton's hard-man, Kevin Nichols that left him squirming on the deck.  I guess having a player like that in our defense would be handy, considering our defensive record last year.  He also looked very comfortable on the ball, pulled off a few good passes, tended to get in the right places at the right time and even managed to surge forward at one point (probably after a debut glory moment).  Unfortunately, his aerial ability wasn't great (frankly the same could be applied to the rest of the team).  Overall, I'd reckon Hoddle would do well to do a Bunje on him and turn him into the imposing defensive midfielder we're presently lacking.

As for the rest of the team, Gus was captain, and was stuck up front alongside Jamie Slabber.  Sully was in goal, and gave a good performance (although his rushing out left a lot to be desired, and he should be grateful for the linesman's flag).  The Doc (on his return to to his old hunting ground) was strangely stuck in left-back where he was useless.  The sooner we offload him the better: he's definitely first division quality.  As for the rest of the youngsters, they played well, and gave rare entertainment at the usually dull ground of Kenilworth.  Jamie Slabber was particularly impressive: lots of good movement, a few runs that panicked the Luton defense (not that that's difficult) and a goal to boot (although Luton's latest trialist keeper should have stopped it).  I can't help but wonder why we bought three new strikers when we've got him in there.  We could have saved the money on one of the three purchases and put it towards that defensive midfielder we're lacking.  Galbraith looked lively down the left (at least I assume it was him).  He needs to improve his crossing though, the one occasion when he did get a good cross in, unfortunately Gus was the only player in the box.  Left with only the keeper to beat with a fairly simple header, the ball instead skimmed off his head and flew towards the corner flag.  Thankfully Gus' feet were working better and he almost took my head off with one particular attempt (I was behind the left stick).

I'm not sure why they collapsed in the second half, as they were looking much the better side in the first.  I did catch the last ten minutes, and they looked like a side that wanted to go home, and consequentially, Luton were all over them like a rash.  This had the predictable result that Luton scored a slightly dubious, although well worked, last minute goal.  I reckon the linesman was being nice to the home side.  Unfortunately this left me standing on the gate with the home supporters singing 'We beat the scum 2-1'.  I don't know why Luton fans dislike Spurs so much, but whenever we get beat they cheer.  If anyone from the dim and distant past could fill me in on this one, I'd be grateful.


Dave Frearson

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