Stevenage Borough


Friday 13th July 2001



Stevenage Borough  1   Tottenham  8   -  Friendly  -  13th July 2001

Weather : -  Heavy rain, then mild.
Crowd : -  5,914
Referee : -  P. Taylor
Scorers : -  Stevenage Borough  -  Hamsher (pen) 17
                      Tottenham  -  Poyet 8, 27, 30, Ferguson 21, 37, Freund 78, Kamanan 80, 85

Stevenage Borough:  Wilkerson (Hassell 45), Hamsher, Sturgess (Duckett 70), Goodliffe (Smith 45), Trott (Sodje 45), Arnott (Abbott, 65), McMahon (Armstrong 45), Walters (Clarke 45), Campbell (Morgan 45), Williams (Hay 45), Nazha (Bridge 75).

Tottenham : Sullivan (Kelly 45), Piercy (Taricco 45), Etherington (Jackson 45), Toner (Consorti 45) (Barnard, 85), Thelwell (Hillier 45), Bunjevcevic (Perry 45), Davies (Freund 45), Poyet (Sherwood 45), Ferdinand (Kamanan 45), Clemence (Anderton 45), Ferguson (Iversen 45).


This really was a game of two halves and despite it being Spurs' first pre-season match against a non-league side, it was memorable for many reasons.

With the rain teeming down as we reached Stevenage, our decision to take the open terrace tickets for a summer's evening game looked to be our first mistake.  But then it was Friday the Thirteenth.  Luckily, the blokes behind us didn't mind us keeping the brolly up and we managed to keep the worst of the weather off us.  Those lucky enough to be under shelter were joined by a small band of fans to the right of the goal who sang anti-S.Cumball songs, but I feel these will prove to be mild in comparison to those that might be heard on November 17th.

The game kicked off fifteen minutes late, meaning we all got soaked for a quarter of an hour longer than we should have, but it was worth it all in the end.  Or even the start for that matter.  Eight minutes in and Spurs are given a free-kick on the edge of the box.  Stepping up to take it was our new signing Gus Poyet and his shot hit both posts before going into the net for his first goal for the club.  What a start, we thought.  We were soon reminded that this is Tottenham we are supporting, when the referee gave a dodgy penalty against Bunjy for shirt-pulling on the perimeter of the area.  He may not understand much English and Bunjevcevic certainly had as much trouble as the rest of us translating the ref's thoughts.  Anyway, the tubby Stevenage player beat Sullivan from the spot and it was all level just after the quarter hour mark.

In between the goals, there was an incident, which the referee chose to ignore, but could have seen Matthew Etherington's season ended within 10 minutes of it's start.  One of the home players (who could have been McMahon), decided to try and amputate Matty's leg by going in far too hard for a friendly and well over the top too.  Gus took exception to this and grabbed the Boro player by the throat.  It was nice to see a player in a Lilywhite shirt get involved as we have been too nice for too long.  Their then followed a period of finger pointing, before play settled down again.  It might have been for this reason that a penalty was gifted to Stevenage.

Spurs had been pressing forward almost non-stop.  Clemence twice tested the keeper from long-range, while Les had a couple of efforts that missed the target, but not by too much.  Poyet pinged one over the bar and both Ferguson and Etherington failed when one-on-one with the goalie.  The second goal was only a matter of time and not a long time at that.  On 21 minutes, Les knocked a cushioned header into the path of Steven Ferguson, who stroked it past the keeper for two.  Spurs were on the back foot as The Boro boys gave it the gun, with Bunjy making a crunching last ditch tackle in the box to prevent a goal and the lead was preserved after the ball had been kicked against the bar and Sully had made a lows top with his left foot.

That lead was extended on 27 minutes, when a raking Bunjevcevic cross-field ball found Ferdinand and he set up Poyet to pass past the goalie for 3-1.  It was on the half-hour that Poyet completed a quick hat-trick with a volley, again laid on by Ferdie.  Young Steven Ferguson got a well deserved second goal when Les rose to knock an Etherington corner across goal and Fergie was on the far post to slip the ball away beneath the diving keeper with eight minutes left before half-time.

Just when the team were getting into their stride and knocking the ball about well, the half-time whistle blew and it was "All Change !!"  The whole Spurs team warmed down and then were replaced by another Spurs XI, containing a mix of first teamers and youngsters.  There was an appearance for Gavin Kelly in goal and not Alan Kelly as reported in one newspaper the next day.  He made three sharp saves in the second half, which were welcome after letting a soft shot from Segers in the warm-up slip gently through his hands !!

The game lost a bit of it's bite; for all except Sodje, who I presume is some relation to the head-scarf wearing defender who plays at Macclesfield and previously turned out for Luton Town among others.  The young defender gave Iversen a dead leg and then minutes later, scythed down Steffen Freund.  We were all expecting the Jerry Mental Man to charge after him in a rage, but he got up and offered his hand to pick the Stevenage defender up from the turf !!  Is this a new leaf he has turned over ??  Perhaps it was, because after 78 minutes, something no Spurs fan thought they would live long enough to see happened.  STEFFEN FREUND SCORED A GOAL.  Yes, don't worry, you did read that correctly.  STEFFEN FREUND SCORED A GOAL.  And a good goal it was too.  Iversen put him in on the right side of the box and as he was closed down by the Boro defender, he delicately chipped the young keeper and as the ball moved agonisingly slowly toward the goal, another back bore down and tried to kick it off the goal-line.  Was it in, was it not ??  The referee blew his whistle and pointed to the centre spot to start another 1966 style argument that people will debate for many years. " I was there when Steffen Freund scored for Spurs", "Ah, yes, but was it a goal ??" they will say.  Anyway, having been awarded, we awaited the delirious celebrations from Freund.  But what did we get ... just a waving of his index fingers in a "conducting" sort of motion.  Nobody mobbed him and the game restarted, just as if Gus had struck once more.  What a let down.  Perhaps he will be more animated when he scores on November 17th !!

With the game now about pride for Stevenage and about developing the passing game for Spurs, there were few chances.  Kamanan had three shots - one which the keeper pushed over, one he turned wide at the near post from a low cross and another when he tried to walk it around a few defenders, but forced a diving save.  Iversen had a couple of efforts off-target and Anderton a shot blocked.

As the game approached it's death throes, Yannick Kamanan came into his own.  Jonnie Jackson, who had impressed down the left, put in a low cross, that this time Yannick got right and powered in at the near post.  His second with just five minutes left was also well crafted.  Lee Barnard had come on and put in a good ball from the left and found Iversen just inside the box.  His shot was saved by the keeper, but Kamanan was on hand to dink it over him to wrap up the scoring.

In truth, Stevenage are a long way behind Spurs in their pre-season training programme and probably have trouble getting people away from work to train in the evenings.  For Tottenham, it was a worthwhile exercise in getting two teams worth of match practice and good to see a blend of players taking part to get further experience.  I am now optimistic that Spurs can do well this season ... as long as the 8-1 wins keep rolling in !!






For a pre-season friendly, the weather was awful.  The torrential downpour was just what wasn't needed - especially as the sun had been shining when we left home.

But, weather apart, it was an entertaining evening and mostly because other fans were trying to shelter under my umbrella !!  It really did bring us Spurs fans together after years of being split apart.

The game was a bit of a procession after Stevenage had got their consolation goal in the 17th minute.  Spurs strolled through the non-league teams defence at will and scored with almost every attack.  There was little for Sullivan to do apart from pick out the penalty and stick his boot out to stop one other shot.  Being replaced by Gavin Kelly in the second half, there was a bit more for the young keeper to do, making three good saves as Stevenage came through a bit more often.

The Spurs defence were pretty firm.  The first half version of Thelwell, Piercy, Toner and Bunjevcevic all did well and Bunjy got fed up being at the back after it got to 3-1 and advanced a bit to get in on the action upfront.  Piercy and Etherington played more wing-back like roles and got forward to help out on the flanks.  Thelwell did OK after a couple of tricky moments as did Bunjy.  He was the one who gave away the penalty, although you would say it was very harsh and could have gone either way.  He looked calm and controlled on the ball, hitting some long range pin-point passes.  although he might need a bit of time to settle in, it will be interesting to see how he gets on in the hurly-burly of the Premiership.

In the second half, Hillier, Perry, Jackson and Taricco came on and did OK, but the Spurs side sat back a bit more, so there was more for them to do.  Jackson looked good moving down the left and made a couple of things happen, while Hillier had a header go wide.

In midfield, the usual suspects turned out.  Anderton ran around with a little bit of menace, but ultimately failed to create very much.  Sherwood ran around once and sauntered through the second half, looking for all the world like a Brazilian ... unfortunately, he didn't play like one (although in their current predicament, perhaps he did).  Freund made the match one to remember with his first Spurs goal, dispatching it well as he dinked it over the keeper.  Aside from that he did was he always does.  Davies also reproduced his normal form and linked up well, while breaking forward whenever he could.  Clemence also showed he might have been told to increase his goalscoring output, by thundering a couple of rasping shots at the Stevenage goal.  The star of the show though was Gus Poyet.  His goals, his passing, his off the ball movement, his general demeanour, his grasping of the midfield (by the throat) were all class.  He will be a very useful purchase and we could do with a couple more like him.  Consorti who came on at the break was subbed later on and replaced by Barnard, who did well.  The Italian showed some good footwork and needs to fill out a bit to cope with the physical side of the game.

Up front, Les acted as provider and did it very well.  he was not so lucky when he tried to get on target himself.  Steven Ferguson looks like a natural predator.  He has pace, finds himself in the right areas at the right time and knows where the goal is.  All clichés, but he looks the part.  After a good season in the reserves, he would be ready for the first team although he is barely 19.  His two goals were well deserved and well taken.  Another who got two was Yannick Kamanan, the French reserve striker.  He looked like he was going to go unrewarded for some intelligent running, but with two goals in the last five minutes, he showed he has an all-round game that could make it at the top, although he is another who needs to muscle-out a bit to ensure he can hold his own.  Steffen Iversen came on at half-time, got injured, set up Freund for his goal and missed a couple of opportunities.  A fairly standard game for him too, but he will need to get it right come August as he will be an important member of the squad and we will need goals from him.

In summary, a big win, which is fairly unusual for Spurs pre-season, and a useful chance to get some of the younger players playing alongside those more experienced ones.  A good way for Glenn to ease the players back into competitive matches, although Hod himself did not seem to be around, leaving all the coaching matters to John Gorman.  Perhaps he was off signing up some big name superstar.  Wherever he was, at least he didn't get wet !!

The Funky Phantom

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