Cup Round 2
avoided relegation tot he Vauxhall Conference last season by beating
Barnet on the last day, the Gulls have started this season where they
left of last term. They are rooted at the bottom of Division Three
again and new manager Roy McFarland has a job on his hands to raise them
from the basement of the League.
He has only been in post for a few
weeks and has little money to work with, thus has had to rely on free
transfers and youngsters to build a squad around the existing experience
at the club.
In goal they have a
familiar face to Spurs fans of 10 or more years service. Kevin
Dearden, latterly of Brentford and Wrexham, has found his way to
Plainmoor and is the current custodian. He follows in a long line
of large goalkeepers including Neville Southall. There are a
number of other keepers at the club and Stuart Jones was the one who
played at the end of last season to keep them up, but he did make some
rickets on the way to safety.
In defence, the Gulls
have a number of players who have been at the club for a little
while. Robbie Herrera (formerly of Fulham and QPR), Paul Holmes
(from WBA in 1999), Lee Russell from Bournemouth in 1998) and the
referee's favourite Jimmy Aggrey all have experience in the lower
leagues, while Ryan Green and David Woozley are youngsters at Torquay
with experience at a higher level with Wolves and Palace
respectively. Stephen Woods has come in from Chesterfield, Jason
Rowbothan from neighbours Plymouth Argyle and Martin McNeil on loan from
Cambridge to provide some competition for places.
Midfield boats the
presence of a South African on loan in the shape of Anton Greyling from
Supersport United, who McFarland is assessing before making a decision
on a permanent move. Jason Rees has knocked around the South-West
football scene and had a place in the side at the end of last season,
scoring one of the goals at Barnet to help Torquay stay up. Mick
O'Brien and Brian Healey have been in and out of the side over the last
few years, but score important goals from midfield, while Richard Kell
was signed on a freebie from Middlesbrough in March and has the
potential to do well. Chris Brandon has come through the ranks at
United and could feature strongly this season. Alex Russell has
been brought to Plainmoor by his former manager from Cambridge United
and is an attacking midfielder.
David Graham is a former
Dunfermline striker, who grabbed the vital third goal at Underhill to
maintain the Gulls League status. Small, but nippy, he has given
the forward line a new dimension. Neville Roach has been brought
in from Oldham Athletic, and will be one of the strikers vying for a
place along with Eifion Williams the record signing from Barry Town and
Kevin Hill who came through the youth system at Torquay and was another
goalscorer on that crucial day in North London. The other strikers
available to the Torquay boss are Kevin Parker who was signed for free
from Norwich City and Tony Bedeau, another home-grown forward.
The Gulls have started
this season off with a few dodgy results - a loss on the opening day to
Bristol Rovers, followed by a 0-3 at home against York, then a 0-1 loss
at Kidderminster. The side got a 2-1 win over Carlisle at
Plainmoor, before going 2-0 up away to Cheltenham before being pegged
back to 2-2. Next Saturday they visit Plymouth Argyle in a Devon
derby before travelling for this match.
They did beat Bournemouth
of Division Two away from home to get to this stage and should not be
underestimated. Last time we met at the same round of the League
Cup, it was over two legs and they beat us 1-0 at their place on a rainy
night, but Spurs did the necessary in the second leg. This time
the result is determined on the night, so Spurs cannot afford to make
any mistakes and therefore, I think they will go through as long as they
keep the midfield tight and put away the chances that they make ...
PREDICTION : -
Tottenham 4 Torquay United 1
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
(Half time score: 0-0)
|WORTHINGTON CUP Round 2
|Thursday 13th September
|Weather : - Rainy, chilly.
|Crowd : - 20,347
|Referee : - Mr. M. Warren (Walsall)
Scorers : - Tottenham - King
61, Ferdinand 69
Torquay United - None
Torquay United : Williams
10 (foul), McNeil 19
Taricco, Doherty (Bunjevcevic 12), Perry, Ziege, Freund, King,
Leonhardsen (Sheringham 45), Davies, Ferdinand (Etherington 74), Rebrov.
Subs Not Used: Sullivan, Thelwell.
: Dearden, Tully, Alex Russell,
Hill, Rees, Douglin, Brandon (Nicholls 86), McNeil, Woozley, Graham (Benfield
77), Williams (Roach 74).
Subs Not Used: Lee Russell, Northmore.
As usual, Spurs did
little to set the fans nerves at ease with a performance that left them
a crossbar's width away form going behind to the League's bottom club,
before going on to win.
The impeccably observed
minute's silence for those who died in the American terrorist attacks
was only interrupted by a sudden, short heavy downpour of rain which
made the moment more poignant. When the match kicked off and with
the chance to rack up some confidence building goals, Spurs started
sluggishly. The visitors made themselves busy with terrier-like
tackling, earning two early bookings and some neat passing.
usual, when Spurs got near the goal, they missed the target by going
over or wide. Torquay were obviously going to give it a go and
Spurs started like they would never be in any danger, but they soon
were. A Williams hit a shot weakly after kicking the ground, when
well placed on the edge of the box with only two minutes on the clock,
then a Chris Perry clearance bounced off a Gulls forward and almost went
past Keller, who had to scramble back to grab the ball. By
this time Doherty was being laid out on the turf by a late tackle from
Williams that earned him a yellow card and it saw the Doc disappear on a
stretcher and take no further part in this evening's game. Nor
would he ready to play for quite a while by the look of it and we later
heard that he had suffered a suspected broken leg or ankle ligament
damage - both of which could mean a lengthy lay-off.
Balls into the box by
both sides were easily taken by the respective keepers and neither was
directly troubled until Taricco hit a shot straight at Dearden,
returning to White Hart Lane, in the Torquay goal. This was
quickly followed by Leo slipping Les in on the right hand corner of the
box, but his shot across the goal was easily held by Dearden.
Spurs had built some good passing, but Davies and Ferdinand both failed
to gather the ball on the skiddy surface when poised to strike on
goal. But, that was exactly what Woozley did from the edge of the
penalty area after a quickly taken free kick on the half hour.
Hill crossed the ball in low and the centre half on loan from Crystal
Palace hit a first time shot on the turn that crashed onto the crossbar.
ex-Spurs keeper played a controversial role in the match with two
penalty shouts going against Torquay and he was involved in one of
them. The first came when he went up to punch away a deflected
shot by Les, but a defender seemed to shove Leonhardsen over in the
area, but the ref did not give a spot-kick. The second featured
the former Tottenham custodian more strongly. This was in the
second half, when Rebrov was put through and he lobbed the ball over the
advancing keeper. Dearden got hands to the ball, but he appeared
to be outside his box when he did so. Once again, the ref let play
go on and nothing resulted from the move.
had Spurs' best chance before the break when Ziege's inviting low ball
was poked over the bar of his shin from a couple of yards out.
Ziege also had a weak shot, as did Rebrov, before Kasey ran out form his
goal to head away a through ball as Williams closed in.
the end of the half there was more silence as the teams trooped off and
the poor souls watching on ITV Digital must have wondered which was the
Third Division team, as Torquay had really played the better of the two
half saw things change, with that made by Glenn Hoddle - Sheringham on
for Leo. Ted's flicks didn't pay off straight away as he did give
the ball away a bit, but the longer the half went on the better he
linked up with Rebrov and Ferdinand. However, the best chance
early in the half fell to Torquay, when a cross form the right was
completely missed by Williams, before it fell to hill, who couldn't
compose himself enough to hit the target, blasting the ball high over
came the Dearden handball incident, before Brandon pulled Freund's
shorts down as the German ran away form him. This earned Spurs a
free-kick and the Gull a booking. Having kicked the ball away,
Brandon then handed Spurs an extra ten yards, which Ziege made the most
of. A wicked bending free-kick between defenders and keeper found
Ledley King racing in to prod past the goalie. Even though his
marker was trying to extricate Ledley's shirt from his back, the young
Spurs defender still managed to get ahead of him and get in a scoring
now felt that they could take the game to Torquay and Sergei flashed a
shot past the post as Dearden could only watch. But it was only a
few minutes later before Les got Tottenham's second. An intricate
passing move found Sergei running in towards the box with two defenders
closing him down. The little Ukrainian slipped a reverse ball
between the Gulls and left Taricco the easy task of hoisting a delicate
cross to the far post, where Ferdie leapt above his opponent to head
home form a foot out. It was a nicely worked goal and one which
showed the importance of a decent cross, not something that Spurs
practiced all night.
keep ball was the name of the game with time running down, Spurs made
the only remaining significant contribution of the evening, with Sergei
Rebrov bending a shot from 20 yards beyond Dearden, but unfortunately
not the post, which it struck firmly at the base. The Devon side
had not disgraced themselves and in fact, were unlucky not to go in
front in the first half with the chances they made. They could
return South with their heads held high and with confidence to pull away
from the bottom of their division.
some teams having succumbed to lower league opposition, it was important
that Spurs progressed, despite the slow start and the ranking of the
visitors. It was not the most convincing or thorough of
performances, but the result was what mattered. You would have
hoped that the passing game would have been more prominent tonight, but
the showing in the second half was better and more clear cut chances
were created. Hopefully, there is still better to come !!
|MEHSTG TOP MAN : - LEDLEY
|With matches like this against
teams from the lower leagues, it is always a nightmare. Not
because there are no easy matches any more, but Spurs would be expected
to thrash Torquay (currently sitting at the very of bottom of the
League) to within an inch of being relegated. The fact that Spurs
had lost to the Gulls in the past in this competition did add a little
spice. But when all is said and done, the match paled into
insignificance when compared with what went on in America this
week. Everybody stood silently while the minute marked by the
referee's whistle showed how it had affected every person in the
world. One man among the 22 players standing around the centre
circle had more to pray for than others - Kasey Keller making his Spurs
debut at a time when his fellow countrymen and some friends and family
might have been involved in the attacks in Washington, New York and
With the postponement of some
games across Europe the night before, it was thought that this game
might also be put off, but the FA decided that all the Worthington Cup
games would continue. Therefore, the teams kicked off in front of
a 2/3 full stadium and the visiting supporters made a lot more noise
than Spurs in the early stages of the match, mainly because Torquay were
more keen to tackle, harrass and generally put in some effort.
That is why the scares at the start of the match all happened at
Keller's end. One freak goal was nearly scored off a Gulls' back,
thanks to Chris Perry lashing the ball against him and it bouncing back
towards the Spurs goal. Spurs were lax and were allowing Torquay
to pass the ball to players in space, probably thinking that it would be
an easy game for them to win. However, when David Woozley hit the
bar from the edge of the box after 31 minutes, I think the team realised
it was a game they still had to win.
Not that it prompted them to
create a great deal more. Les sliding in got a Ziege cross over
the bar by connecting with his knee rather than a more pliant part of
his body that could direct the ball in. Kevin Dearden was coming
back home as he made a couple of appearances for Spurs before leaving
the club and he must have thought it was an easy life playing against
his former club.
The key move of the match was the
appearance of Teddy Sheringham a few minutes before the second half
began to warm up and then when play resumed, to replace Oyvind
Leonhardsen. It produced a supply to the forwards suddenly started
to reach them on the floor rather than in the air, where Woozley and
Russell won most of what was thrown at them. This also allowed
Spurs to maintain possession of the ball more, whereas in the first half
(and at the start of the second to be truthful) Spurs had given the ball
away to the opposition.
The breakthrough came courtesy of
Chris Brandon trying to debag Steffen Freund and then kicking the ball
away in disgust. The ref appeared to be booking him for dragging
the German midfielder's shorts off, but moved the free-kick 10 yards
forward. Now, I thought he could only do this if he booked the
player for dissent (i.e. kicking the ball away), but the ref knows
what's going on, doesn't he ??? Ziege stepped up to slide the ball
in the corridor of uncertainty (© Geoff Boycott) where Ledley King
arrived (although his shirt nearly didn't) to shoot home past Dearden
from close range. This goal seemed to hearten Tottenham and they
did begin to lay like they had in the pre-season friendlies.
Spurs were then denied a penalty
when Dearden rushed out to stop Rebrov's lob over him with his hands,
which were obviously outside the area to all save the assistant referee,
who, it seemed to me, had failed to flag for almost anything but
throw-ins and corners. Rebrov then decided that he should get
among the scorers and hit one wide, one that just bent wide of the post
and another that went around Dearden (quite a feat as he is a bit tubby
these days) and hit the upright. He didn't make it off the mark
for the season, but Les did, getting on the end of a Taricco cross after
he was put in on the right wing by a smart Sergei pass.
In the end the win takes Spurs
through to the Third round, but there will have to be a big improvement
in the way the team approach that game, because the opposition will be a
bit more difficult and Tottenham will need to be on their toes if, as
Glenn has said, they want to go all the way in this competition.