|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)
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.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - JAMIE SLABBER