Richard Wilkins Testimonial

Tuesday 23rd July 2002



Colchester United  1   Tottenham  3     (Half time: 1-1)
Tuesday 23rd July 2002
Venue :  Layer Road
Kick off : 8.00 p.m. (from 7.30 p.m. on Police advice)
Weather : Sunny evening, warm
Crowd : -  6,003
Referee : -  A. D'Urso (Billericay)

Colchester United  -  Johnson 37
Tottenham  -  Doherty 31, Leonhardsen 49, Barnard 69


Colchester United  -  None
Tottenham  -  None

Colchester United :  McKinney; Warren (White 62), Johnson (John 55), McGibbon (Gregory 62), Keith (Steele 84); Duguid (Hadrava 86), Pinault (Keeble 87), Bowry (Canham 80), Stockwell (Izzet 55); Rapley (Morgan 55), McGleish (Coote 69)

Tottenham : Sullivan (Hirschfeld 45); Taricco (Leonhardsen 45), Perry (Richards 45), Henry (O'Donoghue 84), Thatcher (Bunjevcevic 45); Jackson, Acimovic (Poyet 45), Ricketts (Bortolozzo 45), Anderton (Etherington 45), Davies (Rebrov 45);  Doherty (Barnard 45)
Unused subs : - Marney, Sutton, Snee


Colchester United  -  Blue and white striped shirts, blue shorts, blue socks with white tops
Tottenham  -  Navy blue and black shirts, navy blue shorts, navy blue socks with blue turnover


Arriving in Colchester at about 6.45 so there was plenty of time before kick off, the sun shone down on a pleasant Essex evening.  By the time the match started (at 8 o'clock), the night had fallen and so had most of the crowd's enthusiasm.  The players must have been knackered in the World's longest ever warm-up.  It was so long that the tubby official who was lapping the pitch was nowhere to be seen when the game kicked off - he had lost so much weight he was unrecognisable !!  The announcer made every Spurs player's name almost unpronounceable and in the end gave up all hope by saying, "I don't know who's playing anyway".

The official reason was that they had to allow supporters outside into the match on Police advice.  Not a great deal of space was filled after 7.30, apart from those who took their seats just before kick-off.  A crowd of over 6,000 got in to see a changed Spurs side take to the field.  No Carr or Redknapp, but in came Taricco.

The game started off slowly, but once a few efforts on goal flew in, the pace upped a bit.  Sullivan was stretched to save a shot from Ripley, while at the other end, a corner from Jackson was flicked on by Acimovic's head and flew just wide of the far post.  As Colchester had a period of possession, the ball was played into the box, before Perry nipped in to pinch it off the striker's toe before he could get his shot away.  McGleish also managed to conjure up a cross that rolled along the top of the bar, much to the excitement of the Colchester fans, who thought he meant it.

Milo was showing good skill again and in one instance turned away from his marker before being hit with a crunching tackle.  It was here he showed his ability in bringing to the referee's attention that he had been fouled by flinging himself to the floor.  Let's hope we don't see too much of that whether it was a foul or not.

Doherty made the trialist in Colchester's goal save a header, then Simon Davies made a characteristic forward run into the box to receive a chipped pass, but was just unable to get the ball down and his effort was hurriedly lofted wide.  Shortly after, a free kick from out on the right wing was swung in by Anderton and Doherty rose at the far post to head across the keeper for the first goal.

Spurs had a good shout for a penalty denied them, when Ricketts out-witted a defender in the box and as the Colchester man went down, he fell on our new freebie signing and he in turn fell onto a home player.  Mr. D'Urso, never a stranger to controversy, gave a Colchester free-kick !!  Acimovic had a shot that went a yard or two wide and Colchester showed that they wanted to get back into the game.  They forced a corner, when Sullivan pushed over a header and from it, Johnson met the ball with a downward header that bounced past Sully.

Just before the break Davies again got in on goal, but the keeper stopped his shot at pint blank range and Doherty couldn't get to the rebound before it was cleared from the six yard box.

Despite the now normal mass substitution at half-time, Tottenham settled very quickly and had the better of the half, playing some nice passing moves.  Three minutes in and Matthew Etherington went on a run down the left and his marker was trailing in his wake.  He pulled the ball back to Rebrov, who had his shot blocked, but it ricocheted out to the right, where Leo was standing and lashed it low into the net from the direction it came.

Rebrov was determined to try and get on the scoresheet and hit two shots wide of the mark when well placed.  One curled just wide and another flew over.  Sergei's best chance came late on, when a fiercely hit cross found him six yards out, but the ball was at a difficult height and he hit volley  over the bar.

Poyet hit a shot from outside the box over the bar and Colchester rallied with Izzet putting a header over the bar from about the penalty spot.

Tottenham's third goal came along when Bunjy strolled out of defence with the ball passed into left hand channel for Barnard to finish sweetly for the third.  The 18 year old took the ball down well and struck it early from 10 yards out to show that his ability might blossom in the reserves this year, as he has moved up from the under-19s.

Home sub Dean Morgan got on end of good cross from the left, but connected with his shoulder and the ball flew wide instead of on target.  Hirschfeld was forced to grab a dangerous low cross and field another under his crossbar, but was spared any shots directly at him.  The game finished with Tottenham going forward, with Barnard made to go wide by the keeper when released into a similar position to his goal, but he couldn't get a shot in and then Johnnie Jackson shot over at end.

A fairly competitive testimonial and a good crowd for Wilkins, who has served Colchester well.  Hopefully, Spurs can maintain this form for the bulk of the coming season and then we might finish higher than the "fourth team in London" as the home boys sang.  Still, better than being the fourth side in Essex !!






Treks like this pre-season and in our wonderful Cup competitions really open the eyes, don't they.  The Tottenham "end" was little more than a glorified Nissen hut with about 12 terraced steps.  I suppose we should be grateful that there was a roof.  The toilets were wholly inadequate for a club of our standing and even then only two could stand and one sit !!  And on the way out, if there had been a crush, then instead of turning left and to the exit, you might have ended up going down the stairs and ending up in the toilets.

How they cope with a big crowd, I don't know, as it took them an extra half an hour to fit everyone in tonight !!

The overall performance was good from Tottenham and they had a bit of opposition from Colchester, as they didn't want to be out-classed in front of their own fans.  In fact, the second half showing from Tottenham, with more of the fringe players in the side, was an improvement on the first half and a 3-1 win was about the right result.  As for the players, this is how they did ...

Neil Sullivan :  Had to dive to make a few saves, but didn't have a chance with the goal.  His new Kappa keeper's shirt made him look like he had been working out all summer, but I guess it must have been some inserts in the arms instead.

Lars Hirschfeld :  Another who benefited from the new look kit, making him look super-thin and a lot taller than he was last season.  Good handling and not really threatened during the second half when Spurs dominated.  Couldn't understand a word he was shouting at his defenders.  Don't know how they get on with it !!

Mauricio Taricco :  Coming in for Carr, he had a solid game.  Didn't go past his opponent on the wing too much, but did show tendency to get forward as much as possible.

Dean Richards :  Looked better today than Sunday, showing he wanted to bring the ball out of defence, but didn't look as accomplished as Bunjy.  Couple of good tackles to prevent Colchester getting in on goal.

Chris Perry :  Read the game well and looked more comfortable than Sunday.  Not hugely under pressure, but did what he had to effectively.  Made some timely interventions to stop shots on goal.

Ronnie Henry :  Another 84 minutes to make him the player who has been on the pitch for the longest during these two matches.  Did well and although up against some more experienced strikers, Ronnie showed he could be one for the future.

Goran Bunjevcevic :  A class act.  Hopefully, we will be able to see more of this ball playing central defender in the Premier League this season and that he will be able to replicate this sort of form. 

Ben Thatcher :  Ben didn't look to get to the by-line and get crosses in, preferring to put the ball in from deeper.  Did well in defence and linked well on the left wing.

Johnnie Jackson :  A full ninety minutes showed Johnnie is growing in stamina at this level.  Strong in the tackle, full of running and skillful on the ball, he could be one to break into the first team squad this season because of his versatility.

Oyvind Leonhardsen :  A fringe player this season I reckon, but did well in the second half here.  Got in the right place to score the second goal and was quite industrious.

Gus Poyet :  A quiet game for Gus, being happy to put the ball into areas for others to exploit.  Helped the team tick over and keep the ball moving.

Milenko Acimovic :  Another starring performance from Acimovic.  Showed he can turn on a sixpence (or 2.5 pence for you youngsters), open a defence with an excellent pass and although he might get more attention from Premiership defenders, his quick feet will get him out of trouble.

Simon Davies :  Played his usual dynamic game and tried to make things happen.  His trademark run into the box just failed to pay off this time, but always a worry to the opposition.

Rohan Ricketts :  A quiet game.  The man who links the defence and the forwards, he tried to ensure the ball kept moving, but got some rough treatment from Colchester's midfielders.

Diego Bortolozzo :  Although little is known about this player, he looked very good today.  Slipped a divine pass through the home defence for someone to run onto in the box.  Playing a similar role to Poyet, without getting forward as much, he looks a good player, with a great ability to play a little one-two.

Darren Anderton :  Flitted in and out of the game and provided the cross for the first goal.  Another who linked play well with the ball on the ground.  Showed good movement and wanted the ball regularly.

Matthew Etherington :  Again showed good pace, but tonight he used it better, pulling the ball back to oncoming forwards.  This is a skill he must develop, otherwise he will not make it at the top level.

Sergei Rebrov :  Showed another good amount of movement and passing, but easily knocked off the ball and did not look confident in front of goal.  Still looks classy, but will not show his true form unless given a run in the side.  Catch 22 comes to mind.

Gary Doherty :  Scored a goal that he will get if he plays up front.  Rising at the far post, his heading skill is good, but his touch on the ball made it difficult to hold it up while support came through from midfield.  Only playing there at the moment because of the lack of striking options I feel.

Lee Barnard :  Took his goal very well and showed good movement along the line during his second half performance.  Linked well and played energetically, nearly getting a second goal late on.  Promising showing.

Burton Coggles

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