Saturday 9th August 2003 



Billericay Town   2    Tottenham   1     (Half-time score : 0-2)
Saturday 9th August 2003
Venue : -  New Lodge
Kick Off : -  15.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Hot !!
Crowd : -  Around 2,000
Referee : -  Colin Plummer
Teams : -  
Billericay Town : -  John; Jones, Dormer ( 46), Henty (Dormer 72) ; Steve Jones (Patterson 71), Penn (c) , Hunter (Henty 84), Patterson (Morris 42); Hobden, Ansell (Penn)

Tottenham : -  Burch; Henry, Foster, O'Donoghue (Hodges 79), McKie (Francis 61); Watson, McKenna (Hicks 46), Hughes (c) (Jenkins 79), Barnett; Galbraith (Thyer 61), Slabber (Malcolm 61)
Unused subs: Eyre, Dobson

Colours : -  
Billericay Town  -  White shirts, black shorts, yellow socks

Tottenham - All light blue

Scorers : -  
Billericay Town  -   Dormer 9, Patterson 27

Tottenham -  Thyer 67

Cards : -  
Billericay Town  -  None

Tottenham -  None

Phew, what as scorcher !!  The weather that is, as the football wasn't up to a great deal in the sweltering temperatures. In fact, it was the first football match I have been to that had three drinks intervals !!

The match started with Tottenham fielding an inexperienced side, many of whom will form the reserve team this season.  Some f the players were from the Academy teams and some will only just be eligible to play for the Under-17s, they were so young.

We decided to sit in the shade, in the stand opposite the main stand, which seemed like a good idea, what with the sun being behind us.  But, two hours later, the metal sheeting at the back of the stand became as hot as a radiator in winter and what appeared to be a good idea at the time ... !!

The players were obviously feeling the heat and I don't know how the first team will function tomorrow if the temperatures hit the same heights.  But Billericay, under the guidance of Justin "Ricky" Edinburgh, must have been doing their training in a steam room, as they came out of the blocks like a steam train !!

Kieran McKenna had the first chance though and his shot went wide when placed on the edge of the penalty area.  It was a more accurate effort that came next and gave Billericay the lead, when in the ninth minute, James Dormer curled in a high ball from the right side, 25 yards out.  His cross, as that is what it really was, looped over Burch's back-pedalling and hit the top left hand corner of the goal.  It looked like a fluke and the home fans seemed to accept that too.  That was weird, as they and their players seemed to have a strange interpretation of the laws of the game whenever I heard them being discussed with ref and linemen.

The goal gave Town confidence and they were playing to their strengths - longer balls played through the Spurs defence, which caused them a lot of problems.  Especially, when they played them over the heads of the Tottenham players, leaving runners unmarked behind them.  Spurs got caught out a number of times by this tactic and although the diagonal ball is difficult to defend, the Spurs players should have worked it out.

Henry had to intercept a run through the middle by Hobden and in the next minute, the same player bamboozled O'Donoghue to set up Ansell with a one-on-one with Burch.  The tall keeper stood up as long as possible and saved the shot, with Foster picking up the pieces.  Spurs tried the use of the long ball too and Henry's direct route found Slabber get away for about the only time in the first half, but his shot rose way over the bar.  On twenty minutes, Galbraith took matters into his own hands and hit a hopeful 18 yarder that the Blues keeper got behind easily.

Burch denied Patterson on 26 minutes, when he burst in from the left wing to hit a shot that looked destined for the far corner, but the Spurs goalie pushed it away.  However, two minutes after this save, he was unable to do much about the second home goal.  A long ball into the box from the right wing cleared Watson's head and Patterson neatly slid the ball inside for Hobden to drive a low shot past Burch from 10 yards out.

Spurs escaped going further behind a couple of minutes later, when a replica move saw Leon Hunter meet the cross with his head and in trying to head it back over Burch, also headed it over the bar.  It was all Billericay until half time.

After the break, Spurs made three changes and with Mark Hughes still dominating midfield, they found new impetus.  Midfielder Jamie O'Hara, signed from Arsenal last season, was more dynamic and his cross gave Galbraith a headed chance that went gently wide of the mark.  With six minutes of the half gone, Slabber made room for a shot that got blocked, bounced back off him and forced the keeper to dive and hold the ball.  Marcel McKie did well to battle for the ball and win it near the by-line, pulling it back into the box for Slabber in the next attack, but Jamie's attempted lob was too soft and Jerome John beat his effort out.

Galbraith, who had played in more excitable atmospheres in South Africa, as had Burch, had the best Spurs chance up until that time, when his dipping 25 yard free-kick forced the keeper to go low to stop the ball in front of the goal-line.  Then Spurs put together a good passing movement with Hughes playing the ball out right to Barnett, who picked out O'Hara at the far post, but his header went very close to the left upright.  And it was a header at each end that produced the next action with both going wide, when players were well placed.

However, the next changes made a difference.  Michael Malcolm came on for Jamie Slabber and 16 year old Welsh schoolboy Scott Thyer replaced David Galbraith.  Now, I was going to say that from a distance it looked like they had changed the winger for a Mini-Me version, but Thyer is a bigger version of Galbraith.  His determination to make something happen contrasted with Slabber's performance, which was decidedly under par.

Michael Malcolm has a habit of being in the right place at the right time and on 66 minutes, he found himself in the area, when, from out on the left wing, O'Hara dinked a ball in for him to head home from inside the six-yard box.  However, the ball bounced and held up on the dry pitch and made it difficult for the striker to get any power behind his header and the keeper made it back to smother his effort.  With 67 minutes on the clock, a poor back-pass by a BIllericay player was seized on by Thyer and although he was driven very wide on the left by the keeper, he steadied himself and drove home from a narrow angle to reduce the deficit.

Hughes, who was impressive with his desire for the ball and to make runs off it all day, pinged one over the top from 18 yards out, while Thyer took out the keeper with a boot in the chest as he chased a long ball through the unguarded middle of the Blues defence.  With about a quarter of an hour remaining, it looked like Tottenham had carved out a chance to level the scores.  Ronnie Henry fed the ball into the feet of Lee Barnett, who moved it on quickly to Malcolm and his low drive was pushed upwards by the keeper, who then did well to recover and grab the ball on the line as it dropped from a great height.  A couple of minutes later, John was forced into the save of the match from Barnet, who cut in from the right to unleash a fierce rising drive that the goalie did very well to palm out.

With time running out, a late free-kick provided Spurs with one last chance and Hodges headed the ball over as players flew in.

Billericay deserved their win, as they played some neat football and many will be surprised that a team managed by Edinburgh could do so, but he has a solid squad here and might do well in the Ryman's League this season.  

For Tottenham, Hicks looked OK on the ball when he came on and Malcolm and Thyer looked a dangerous combination ... not that they will get too many chances to play together, with Malcolm aiming to make the reserves his team this year, while Thyer will be in the Under-17s.  The lack of a decent ball into the box let Spurs down in the first half and although it improved in the second, the service to the front men was a bit thin.  Joe Watson looked troubled at right wing back and things tightened up a bit in the second half, when hicks played there. 

There are some promising players in this bunch of nineteen, but they need to be worked into a unit.  It's not easy when there are calls on players and the squad might be different every week, but they need to be aware of the demands of their role in the side, which ever Spurs team they play in.


Marco van Hip

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