The third game of Spurs' pre-season tour
of South East England (and Rotterdam) produced the third consecutive
victory. Seven more games and 23 days to the first Premiership game at
Everton. As with Colchester earlier in the week, AFC Bournemouth looked
the more aggressive and determined side with Spurs treating the occasion
as very much a glorified training session.
Bournemouth enjoyed the majority of
goal-scoring opportunities forcing Sullivan into several good saves.
However, Rebrov's tap-in in the 21st minute won the game for Spurs.
Unlike the first two friendlies Glenn Hoddle decided not to make
wholesale changes at half time, with the majority of the team playing
the full 90 minutes.
This was Spurs first visit to the rebuilt
Fitness First Stadium at Dean Court and there was significant Lilywhite
support in the East Stand. Judging by the number of Spurs shirts spied
on the sea-front during the afternoon, many had decided to make a day of
it. The stadium, typical of the modern breed, is only three-sided at
present. When the missing South Stand is eventually added this will be
an impressive lower-league ground.
Bournemouth had already created three
decent chances, with Sullivan making two good saves, before Rebrov
scored the first goal. Simon Davies crossed from the right, Milenko
Acimovic headed against the bar leaving Sergei to tap home the rebound
with keeper Rhys Evans stranded.
The home team created a further four chances in the first half - twice
forcing Sully into saves. Matty Etherington's pace on the left provided
many of Spurs best attacking moments, but that final delivery was again
lacking in quality. Etherington is the type of player who appeals to
Spurs traditionalists with his pace and skills but like so many others
in the category ... Jose Dominguez, Richard Cooke, Paul Moran, etc. it
just may be that Matt never quite makes the grade.
Steffen Iversen played his first pre-season game (lasting until the 58th
minute when he was replaced by Lee Barnard). Was it the new
figure-hugging Kappa shirt (also worn by many Spurs fans on its first
day of sale) or did Steffen look a bit porky? Jamie Redknapp also played
the first 45 minutes and looked as if he was taking his pre-season
preparation very gently. Is he truly fully recovered from injury? Too
early to tell but let's hope so.
At half time Leo and Johnnie Jackson
replaced Redknapp and young Dean Marney. Spurs started with slightly
more purpose with Etherington shooting over after a good run and Jackson
heading over from a Rebrov cross.
Gary Doherty, who had played as a striker
against both Stevenage and Colchester, reverted to a defensive role for
this game. Is he destined to be a multi-purpose player for ever or will
Glenn eventually make his mind up? He does not seem to have the
requisite first touch for an attacker (Ed - what, like Sir Les), but, as
a (solid) defender, he does provide a handy attacking option at
set-pieces. Flavour of the month Ronnie Henry replaced the Doc in the
58th minute for his third first team appearance in five days.
On the hour Bournemouth substitute Amos Foyewa made a pacy run down the
left, Sullivan came and dithered - looking relieved when Foyewa shot
wide. This let-off was followed by good Spurs pressure with Etherington,
Rebrov and Acimovic all getting shots in. Acimovic looks the part,
physically strong with good technical skill and an eye for the
unexpected opportunity. However, his frequent drag-backs and
"twisty-turnies" may not get much change out of Premier League
defenders. He also looks as if he enjoys a theatrical dive ... which
should provide some fun when the season gets going for real.
The one quality moment of the evening
came in the 83rd minute when Simon Davies, looking more and more the
real deal, chipped substitute keeper Gareth Stewart from 40 yards and
hit the post.
Bournemouth had one more good chance with seven minutes left, Wade
Elliott's shot being pushed away by Sullivan for a corner.
The last minute of the game saw Rebrov
being clattered from behind leaving him to limp off looking mightily
naffed off. He was replaced for the last few seconds by George Snee.
It's not the start of the annual injury jinx ... is it?
This was not a feast of football by any means and, in fact, Bournemouth
looked the more dynamic side. However, pre-season preparation is only
just underway and the team that runs out to the Z Cars theme at Goodison
on 18th August might not feature any of those who played against
Keller, Carr, Ziege, King, Gardener,
Bunjecevic, Richards, Taricco, Anderton, Poyet, Ferdinand and
Robbie Keane should all be there ...
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - MATTHEW ETHERINGTON