Wednesday 16th July 2003



Stevenage Borough   0     Tottenham   2     (Half-time score : 0-1)
Wednesday 16th July 2003
Venue : -  Broadhall Way
Kick Off : -  19.30 p.m.
Weather : -  Humid, warm; rained earlier in the evening
Crowd : -  6,449
Referee : -  P. Taylor
Teams : -  
Stevenage Borough First Half : - 
Burch; Warner, Flynn, Goodliffe, Laker; Wormull, Battersby, Cook, Holloway; Carroll, Elding
Stevenage Borough Second Half : - Burch; Travis, Gould, Langston, Costello; Watson, Richards, Laker, Flynn; Forinton, Baptiste

Tottenham First Half : -  Sullivan; King, Gardner, Bunjevcevic; Ziege, Anderton, Redknapp (c), Blondel, Marney, ; Acimovic, Slabber
Tottenham Second Half : -  Sullivan; Taricco (c), Kelly, Perry; Poyet, Jackson, Toda, Davies, Ricketts; Postiga, Etherington
Unused subs: Jalal, Henry, Barnard, M. Hughes, Yeates

Colours : -  
Stevenage Borough  -  Blue and black striped shirts, black shorts, black socks

Tottenham - All sky blue

Scorers : -  
Stevenage Borough  -  

Tottenham -  Acimovic 19, Postiga 51

Cards : -  
Stevenage Borough  -   None

Tottenham -  None 

Strange feeling turning up for this first game of the new season.  Not because it was still July, but the rush to get to the ground, the trouble finding parking and the delayed kick off all seemed to put a dampener on it.  Even more so than the earlier storm that had soaked the pitch, making it a greasy topped surface for their first action after the La Manga training camp.

Taking the field in their light blue strip, Spurs looked striking and it only took two minutes before they created their first chance.  A neat one-two between Acimovic and Redknapp ended with Jamie knocking his shot past the keeper's left hand, but seeing it bounce out of the inside of the post.  The keeper looked familiar and I was at a loss as to hwy Rob Burch was playing in goal for Stevenage.  I am still not sure why he was between their sticks.

There was little of note from the home side in the early exchanges apart from Carroll trying to inscribe Anthony Gardner's shins with his studs.  Ziege looked as fit as his proclamations had predicted and he was lively throughout the first half, with a shot over the bar, a quick free-kick on target without power and Redknapp got onto the end one of his through balls, which saw him through on the keeper.  However, the midfielder dragged his shot across goal and a foot wide of the far post.  

It was Bunjecevic who helped shape the game, by producing a defence splitting low pass through the middle to Acimovic.  One on one with Burch and shaking off his marker, Milenko took the ball on and slipped it into the net to the keeper's left in the19th minute.

Stevenage had their best moment shortly after the goal, when they broke on the right and a low cross was met by a forward, but it lacked pace to beat Sullivan, who looked leaner and more lithe than when he returned from injury last season in the reserves.  He had to be alert to stop and Elding (who the home fans humorously call "Eldinho") shot.  However, Acimovic almost added to his goal, when a 24th minute Ziege corner was fired in and the Slovenian met it with his head at the near post.  Unfortunately, it had a little too much height and it glanced off the bar and over.  It was nearer than Redknapp came from another corner from the German.  Playing it to the edge of the box, the captain hit the ball on the volley with great power, but no great accuracy ... the ball almost reaching Ziege again !!

It was Christian who finished the half with the last bit of action.  As he seized on a poor back pass from Holloway, he tried to bend the ball past Burch, but the keeper managed to get a hand on it and deflect it out for a corner.

Hoddle ran through some aspects of the game with the retiring first half side as they warmed down and the second half side came out to warm up.

Taricco took the armband and hardly set a shining example to his team-mates, as he unsportingly threw the ball away after a free kick had been awarded against him.  He got a ticking off, but by then Spurs were two ahead.

Five minutes into the half, the ball was worked out to the left, where Johnnie Jackson put in a first time low, pacy cross and racing into the six yard box was Helder Postiga to dive in with a defender to get to the ball first and knock it in for his first Tottenham goal.  It was the sort of goal that Spurs fans have been looking for a forward to score for a long time and we hope it is the first of many.  Ten minutes later, he showed his goalpost geographical knowledge to fire in a first time shot just wide, after Poyet had set him up from the right wing.

Stevenage came into the game a bit more in the second half, with the speedy Baptiste and Watson breaking forward from midfield, but there was little to trouble Sully apart from a free-kick that spat up at him from the wet turf.  He was alert to tip a late shot from Baptiste over the bar and from the resulting corner, Taricco nearly sliced into his own goal.

Gus had a double effort in the 72nd minute, with the first blocked and the second way over the top, then it was on to the last ten minutes before Spurs seriously threatened again.  Jackson played in Toda to drive wide of the goal and in the final minute a neat one-two between Poyet and Davies inside the area set up a volleyed chance for Simon.  Unfortunately, even though he was only two yards out, the delicately flicked pass from the Uruguayan was scuffed and bumbled wide of the net. 

The game was played at half pace by Spurs and although Borough put in a lot of effort and passion, they were not in the same class.  The ball was passed well by Spurs and not given away too often.  They held a good shape and didn't look in too much trouble at any stage, while managing to produce a few chances.

A "loosener" for the pre-season, with a gentle build up to the new season and Hoddle would have been grateful that Postiga is off the mark and that the team seem to be fit and playing a nice game.  


Wyart Lane

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