Steve Castle's Testimonial

Thursday 19th July 2001



Leyton Orient  0  Tottenham  2   -  Thursday 19th July 2001 
Steve Castle's Testimonial match

Weather : -  Light rain, Light wind.
Crowd : -   6,635
Referee : -  Barry Knight 
Scorers : -  Leyton Orient  -  None
                    Tottenham  -  Davies 62, Rebrov 73

Leyton Orient : Bayes (Barrett 45), Joseph (Winter 45) (McFlynn 73), Leoni (Smith 15), Castle (Opara 79), McGhee (Barnard 45) (Murray 80), Downer (Stephens 45), Beall (Jones 45), Harris (Canham 45), Charlery (Opara 45) (Minton 68), McLean (Hadland 45), Oakes (Ibehre 45).

Tottenham : Kelly, Carr, Jackson (Taricco 68), Doherty, Bunjevcevic (Perry 68), Young, Leonhardsen, Sherwood (Freund 76), Davies (Poyet 68), Iversen, Rebrov.

This being the third Spurs pre-season friendly, Glenn Hoddle decided to abandon the team for each half approach he had adopted at Stevenage and Swindon and stick to a more familiar style of substitution.

The match started in cool conditions, before driving rain swept in during the first half.  It wasn't heavy, but affected play and made conditions difficult when the ball was in the air.  Luckily, the way Spurs were playing, this wasn't often, as their measured approach work was mainly carried out with the ball on the floor.  They made few clear cut chances in the first half, with Davies shooting straight into Bayes' midriff when through on goal and Rebrov having another shot swerve to the keeper.  Iversen was pipped near the post when he looked odds on to score, while Leo took a split second too long when poised to score near the penalty spot, allowing a defender to nip in and dispossess him.  Some good blocking prevented Spurs shots getting through to the keeper, but there were few opportunities to test Bayes to the limit.

Meanwhile Orient had the best chance of the half, when Scott Oakes (formerly of Luton and Leicester and a player Spurs had looked at in his time) strode forward to unleash a low skidding shot that flashed inches wide of Gavin Kelly's right hand post.  The rest of the time, they were getting to the edge of the box, but were denied by a poor final ball or good defending from Spurs.

Teddy Sheringham didn't make the starting line-up, even though he only lives down the road from the Brisbane Road ground, so it was hoped that Rebrov and Iversen would strike up an understanding, but it rarely happened.  Often the balls through to the Spurs players moving forward were slightly over-hit or the Orient defence managed to smuggle the ball away without too much threat to the goal.  Sherwood tried a delicate chip that flew over and the home crowd gave him some stick as they were still unhappy about his performance in the FA Cup tie in January.  He justified their ire, when he seemed to floor an Orient player when running past him, but maybe that was just an accident.

Half-time and although Spurs had not named the full eleven subs as they had done in the two previous games, we awaited the arrival of some changes.  But they did not come.  The same eleven started the second half, unlike our hosts, who did change all eleven players and then made some more substitutions during the second period.  So many, in fact, that even their own fans didn't know who most of them were and one came on without a number to chants of "Who Are Ya ?" from the O's faithful.  One of their subs was Jeff Minton, who started his career at Spurs, but he failed to be noticed against our midfield that over-run Orient.

Spurs must have decided to step things up a bit in the second half, because Orient hardly got near the Spurs goal in that time.  The nearest was when a nice piece of skill by one of the subs (a young ginger haired waif) gave him half a chance, but Perry got in a block and the chance was gone.  As for Spurs they started to open up the home defence and have more goal-scoring opportunities.  

Iversen was alone on the edge of the box and could only hit a tepid shot straight at Barrett, while he looked a bit heavy-legged, when failing to reach a  good low ball into the box, which could have been converted if he had got there.  There were no such problems for Simon Davies, who managed to burst from the centre circle to take a through pass from Iversen and slip it past the keeper as he advanced on the Welshman.  Leonhardsen had done well to intercept a ball out of defence in the first instance, before feeding Steffen, but Davies' calm finish was what we hope to see more of this season.  Just minutes later, Davies was replaced by Poyet as a few of the subs got into the action.

This was when Spurs really pushed on.  Rebrov let one fly over the bar and hit another at the keeper from distance, while Poyet's header from a corner was saved easily by Barrett.  Then the second goal came after good interplay between Iversen and Rebrov, the ball bounced awkwardly for the little Ukrainian just inside the area.  With the goalkeeper no more than a couple of yards off his line, Sergei lifted the ball expertly over him and into the net.  It was a sublime piece of skill and showed that he can score from almost any situation, which will be useful in the coming campaign.

After this, there was little to note apart from the fact that Stephen Carr seemed to take a dislike to Scott Barrett in the home goal and was trying to knock him into the middle of next week with some thunderous shots as he broke forward into the box from right wing-back.  The goalie denied him twice and Carr missed on another occasion, but he looks determined to make his mark on the goal-scoring charts this season.

The match fizzled out and Steve Castle had been rewarded for signing for Orient three times and spending over ten years with the club with a good sized crowd.  The main talking point of the second half was a mystery man in a Spurs tracksuit on the Spurs bench.  The dark-haired chap was chatting to Steffen Freund and John Gorman and few other Tottenham players.  Was it Christian Ziege ??  We were in seats that gave us a poor view, so we couldn't tell, but maybe he was there to soak up the atmosphere !!  Games like this will not tell him much about how Spurs will so in the coming campaign, but at least he can see that the team are trying to play passing football and entertain as they go.  Three games, three wins.  Oh, for such a percentage come May !!






From the moment we joined the queue, we knew this would be no ordinary night.  Lining up to get in there appeared to be two turnstiles open, of which only one was being used. Moving into the empty doorway, the five of us queued and first off we thought things were going very well.  However, it soon seemed that buying five tickets, one after the other, was no guarantee that you would al be sitting together.  Having asked the perplexed woman behind the grille if this was possible, she set about finding us five consecutive seats.  This was not aided by a pushy steward who came along demanding two together as "there are loads of people dancing about up there going mad".  Perhaps they should have stopped playing that funky music, white boy !!

Anyway, we finally managed to get past the revolving metal barrier with tickets in hand, only to be greeted by the Tannoy announcement that the kick off would be delayed by 10 minutes.  This came as no surprise, as the queues were longer than when I arrived at the ground and with turnstile operators without a lot of change (Orient, please note : If you are going to charge 16, make sure they have enough pound coins.  Or, make it 15 to allow people to have the right notes) or too much common sense.  I had almost been run down in the queue by Daniel Levy, struggling to peek out above the wheel of his S reg Mercedes, as he tried to get to the Executive car park.  We decided to take our seats and found that one of us was in row A, two in row B and the other two half the alphabet away !! Not only that but there were loads of empty seats that they could have had given us five in a line if they had wanted.

Anyway, the Spurs were out on the pitch warming up, but I couldn't spot Teddy.  Perhaps he was going to tootle down the road from Woodford and sneak in after the rush.  There appeared to be less players out and it was because there were not eleven subs to come on at half-time.

The first half was a bit of a tactical battle.  Spurs were really concentrating on laying the way that Hod wants them too, rather than going out to batter the Third Division side.  Bunjy was bringing the ball out from the back and was trying to pick out killer passes through the O's defence.  He looks very assured and does not panic, although one header he did went straight up in the air, although the wind and rain might have had something to do with that.  Carr was solid, but looked like he was a little off full fitness, while Jackson put in a very good showing on the other flank.  Doherty was really getting stuck in and had a few free-kicks given against him as he had a physical battle with the diminutive, but nippy McLean.

The midfield were trying to break through, with Leo stumbling over the ball when well place and Iversen being too far advanced, when Sergei's back-hell would have set him up nicely.  Davies found the middle of the keeper's gut when through on his own and a couple of times the ball just evaded Spurs forwards feet from the line.  There was also some fairly desperate defending by Orient to block and keep Spurs out, but they had the best chance, when former Hatter Scott Oakes hit a low, skidding shot that whistled just past Kelly's upright from 18 yards.

The only other incidents of note in the first half were the early substitution of the Stephane Leoni, the Orient left back, who, some lads around us we were chatting with who were O's fans, said was on trial.  He only lasted about 10 minutes and must have been injured, because I don't think he did too much wrong.  Perhaps Tommy Taylor is a quick judge of players !!

After the second half started, Spurs made inroads into the Orient defence.  They made  a number of changes at half-time, with only the man who's testimonial it was retaining his place for the restart.  It wasn't long before Rebrov was setting his sights on goal and a ripping shot roared over the bar.  Iversen should have converted a chance, when he tried to curl the ball over and around the keeper, but only succeeded in plopping it straight into his arms.  Leo was robbed on the edge of the box as he was about to shoot, before he picked up a loose pass and played it on to his Norwegian team-mate Iversen, who slipped a ball through to the edge of the box.  There it was met by Simon Davies who had timed his run to perfection and kept his nerve to play the ball low past Barrett in goal.  It typified what Davies is about and I hope that Hoddle was suitably impressed enough by this to give the Welsh youngster a rest.  Poyet came on and managed to get through the remainder of the match without thumping anyone.

Rebrov again was just off target, when he tried a chip over the keeper and it wasn't long before he improved on that.  He and Iversen played about four passes between each other and the ball bounced nicely for Sergei to gently lift the ball over the goalie and into the net for the second for Spurs.  A few more shots flew towards the O's goal, mainly from the boot of Stephen Carr, who seemed to have set his sights on getting a goal, but he was denied by the side netting and the keeper.  Orient managed their closest effort of the second period when a long cross drifted to the far post and just over the bar, much to the relief of Gavin Kelly, who had the luxury of a full game between the posts.

It was a bit of a rip-off really. Given the choice of Fiorentina at the Lane with a decent view for 15 or Orient for 16 with a huge metal post in the centre of the goal to our right, I know which choice I would make in the same situation.  Added to that, I was really annoyed at the start of the second half.  Our group were forced to be sitting spread far and wide across the East wing of the stand, but they somehow found a seat for Christian Ziege on the bench with his new team-mates.  Not that they were that friendly at this match.  Freund chatted with him, until he went onto the pitch and Gorman had a couple of words with the German before moving on to sit with the rest of the Spurs subs at the other end of the row of seats.  Don't tell me he's an outcast already !!

Marco van Hip


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