Sunday 20th July 2003



Oxford United   0     Tottenham   3     (Half-time score : 0-2)
Sunday 20th July 2003
Venue : -  Kassam Stadium
Kick Off : -  15.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Warm, breezy
Crowd : -  6,139
Referee : -  S. Bennett (Kent)
Teams : -  
Oxford United : -  Cox; Robinson, Crosby (c), McNiven, Bound; Hackett (Basham 63), Whitehead (Musgrave 89), Hunt (Townsley 59), Brown (Brooks 86); Alsop (Blackstock 76), Widdrington

Tottenham : -  Burch; Hughes, Perry, Henry; Hughes (Carr 46), Blondel, Anderton, Poyet (c), Jackson (Galbraith 71); Etherington (Yeates 81), Zamora (Keane 46)
Unused subs: Jalal, Foster, Barnett, Slabber

Colours : -  

Oxford United  -                       


Tottenham - 

Scorers : -  
Oxford United  -  

Tottenham -   Zamora 22, 45, Keane 64

Cards : -  
Oxford United  -   None

Tottenham -  None 

The first sight of Bobby Zamora in a Spurs shirt was one that will leave a mark in the memory.  His first touch was a mis-control, his second a foul for shirt-pulling, but two other touches in the 45 minutes he played showed real promise.

The first was capitalising on Gus Poyet's dribble.  When the ball got away from him slightly, Bobby swept the ball past Cox in the Oxford goal before Poyet had a chance to do anything with it.  His second was the sort of goal we have been waiting for someone to score.  After Etherington had been put away down the left, his low cross evaded the diving keeper and a defender at the near post and popped up off Zamora's leg to take the ball past both of them.  All that was left was for him to slam it into an empty net.  A real poacher's goal.

In truth, this match was as one sided as you might wish to see.  Oxford tried hard, but rarely troubled young Burch in the Tottenham goal, merely forcing him to grasp a low header here and field a bobbling shot there.  Possibly his most anxious moment came in the second half, when, at full stretch, he held a fiery drive from James Hunt, who took good corners, but could not steer his side to victory.

The pace of Etherington and Zamora began troubling the home defence early on, but Matty was denied by the keeper and put another shot side, while our newest signing forced Cox to save with his legs when put away in the 11th minute.  He also landed a lob just wide, when he beat a defender and just got a foot to the ball.  After a quarter of an hour, Spurs came the closest to a goal, with Poyet getting the ball stuck under his feet from a corner and setting up Johnnie Jackson instead.  The young wing back's drive was stopped low on the line by a defender.  Poyet did manage a shot a minute later, after playing a one-two with Zamora, but his effort ended up wide.

Then came Zamora's first goal in the 22nd minute, with a run down the right wing following that, which produced a low cross into the box.  Jackson stepped over it, but Matty was beaten to the ball by a defender.  He looked on the back foot for much of the match and despite having the legs on the Oxford defenders, he often chose to turn back when it looked like he could go on past his man.  Anderton was spraying the ball about nicely and his corner on the half hour found Gus at the far post, but his stretching volley went wide of the goal.

The two best chances for the U's in the first half came from Alsop's head.  He is a giant of a striker and managed to get his head around a ball that seemed to be behind him, but could not keep it from rising over the top and another he did get over, but Burch fell on the ball to save on the six-yard line.  Hackett went on a long run, with his pace embarrassing Perry, but his cross was to nobody in particular.

Cox made a good save when a corner was cleared to Blondel, who had a fine game.  The little Belgian hit a fierce drive that the keeper did well to keep out, but he was helpless when Zamora pulled a left wing cross back to Poyet on the edge of the area and the Uruguayan hit a screaming volley that flew inches over the bar.  Zamora sealed a very good display in the first half with his second just before the half-time whistle and his movement and willingness to work back were a joy to see.

In the second half, he did not re-appear, as Robbie Keane took his place and Carr came on for the solid, and not shy to go forward, Mark Hughes.  It was more of a subdued 45 minutes, with Oxford having the first chance, when they fired a free-kick over the bar from 20 yards and Brown shot over a few minutes later.  Poyet had the same result when he flicked the ball up to have a shot and he linked well with Carr down the right, to set up Keane to have a hard shot kept out by the goalie.  However, Cox didn't stand a chance in the 64th minute, when Keano did score.  Fed through the middle by Anderton, he drew no back-lift and rammed home the ball from 15 yards out, leaving everyone gasping at the ferocity of his effort.

As the rest of the game was punctuated with substitutions, it lost any flow it might have had.  Spurs had a panicky moment, when the blowy wind kept the defenders in their own penalty area, with the ball being sliced up into the air and finally over the top of their own goal.  A neat move going forward in the 70th minute saw Jackson put in a teasing cross that Poyet got to at the far post.  His volley was again on the stretch, but he managed to pull it across goal, where Robbie Keane just failed to get on the end of it.  Jackson was taken off shortly after this and had done well down the left.  His recent comments about looking after himself during the summer were obviously true, as he looks fit and determined to make an impression this season.

Carr flicked at a Galbraith cross and his shot went wide at the far post and Keane and Yeates played a neat passing movement to engineer some space in the box.  The younger Irishman was denied a shooting opportunity by Cox diving at his feet.

There was a surprisingly rousing ovation for the entry of United sub. Jamie Brooks, which puzzled all Spurs fans, but the lady sitting next to me explained that he had been out since April 2002 with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  This is a particularly virulent disease that leaves the sufferer almost paralysed and was what Marcus Babbel of Liverpool suffered with a couple of years back.  To recover and be playing football after such a short period of time is remarkable and we wish him well in the future.

Spurs were calmly in control for the whole match and never looked like losing.  I was told this was a better game than yesterday's and the passing was assured and accurate.  Solid defending and energy in midfield from Blondel (carrying a bandaged hand from being landed on in the first half) made Oxford's progress difficult.  A useful work-out with other squad members getting a game, who had missed out previously.  But where was Dean Richards, who's absence has been obvious in these matches ?  

There was an unsavoury incident with Spurs fans with a flag in the Oxford end being escorted out and set upon by home fans as they reached the bottom of the gangway.  This precipitated some intent on a fight coming out of the Spurs seating to confront the stewards and Oxford supporters.  It was all very unnecessary and in this day and age, a friendly against Oxford United is no place for such tribal aggression to be displayed.  What would U's fan Desmond Morris make of it ??  I suspect he would make monkeys out of them !!


I. Ball

Back to homepage