suffolk-cated

Spurs  3   Ipswich Town  0           (Half time: 0-0)
FA Premier Reserve League South
Monday 8th December 2003
Venue :  Broadhall Way
Kick off : 19.00 p.m.
Weather :  Light drizzle. Cold.
Crowd : -  approx. 300
Referee : -  S. Tomlinson
SCORERS
Spurs  -  Barnard 18, 70, Slabber 90
Ipswich Town - None
CARDS
Spurs  - 
Hughes (kicking ball away) 9, McKie (foul) 66
Ipswich Town  -  None
Spurs :  Burch; Mabizela, Bunjevcevic, Doherty, McKie; Marney, Hughes (c), O'Hara; Barnard (Malcolm 80), Acimovic, Slabber
Unused subs:  Eyre, Foster, O'Donoghue, McKenna.

Ipswich Town :  Supple; Mitchell, Collins, Hogg, Barron; Bloomfield (c) (Synnott 82), Reuser, Abidallah (Craig 82), Morrow; Armstrong (Flack 31), Bowditch 
Unused subs: Peat, Manning

COLOURS
Spurs  -  White shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks
Ipswich Town  -  Blue shirts, white side panels, white shorts, blue socks

A fluent performance from Tottenham saw Lee Barnard lead the line with great authority and it was his two goals that helped Tottenham to a comfortable win.

There was rain in the air (and that was where it stayed) as the match kicked off on a chilly night in front of Colin Calderwood, Joe Royle, Tony Mowbray, Pat Holland, David Pleat and Hans Segers, as well as about 300 fans.

In the first half, Dean Marney played a storming game at right wing-back and proved a thorn in the side for the Town players on that flank.  His pace troubled them and his dangerous crosses into the box were pacy and in the channel between the six yard box and the penalty spot.  His first was headed inches wide by Barnard in the second minute and fifteen minutes later, he picked out a low ball into the area.  He found Barnard with his back to the goal, but his first touch gave him the ability to turn tightly away from his marker and the space to shoot home form six yards out.  It was a neat turn, reminiscent of Clive Allen's ability to use small spaces in the box to leave defenders in his wake.

Ipswich had an early opportunity before the goal came for Spurs, with Martijn Reuser blazing high over the bar, when Morrow had headed a cross back for him.  Abiddallah is a lively midfielder, who gave Spurs a tough time last season, but he was restricted to long range efforts and a 10th minute drive was saved low down by Burch, getting a run out in the absence of the Plymouth bound Hirschfeld.

A flowing move in the 26th minute saw the ball ping across the width of the pitch from Acimovic to Marney and back.  Milo dinked a little cross into the box and Barnard got in front of his marker, but could only get his effort over the bar.  Then came a moment of concern for both sides.  A long ball forward caught Tottenham's central defenders out and Alun Armstrong latched onto it.  As he advanced on goal, Burch came out to close him down and as the shot came in, clattered into the striker.  The ball cleared Burch, but was off target and the Ipswich man was left prostrate on the floor and after treatment, he left the field on his feet.  However, within minutes, the stretcher was required for what looked like a severe dead leg, but was actually a bad cut to his upper leg.

As the half was coming to a close, Milo was finding space on the left side and his tricky turns were out-foxing his opponents, allowing him space to play.  A cross was headed over by the in-rushing Hughes and another good move ended with Acimovic making a good run down the left to pull the ball back to Barnard on the edge of the box, but his shot was not kept down and it cleared the bar.  It was a similar problem to that being suffered by Reuser, who was presented with a decent opportunity between the two Spurs chances, but from the 18 yard line, he managed to hit the top of the stand.

With the Spurs defence having the upper hand, with Doherty looking assured and Mabizela enjoying some time on the ball, there was little real threat to the Ipswich attack.  Twice in the first five minutes of the second half Barnard tested how Supple would deal with low shots from the edge of the box and he saved both, but Slabber quickly brought the goalie into a charge from his line to thwart his move into the area, after good work from Hughes and Acimovic.  Mark Hughes had a very good game, prompting play from his central midfield position and spreading play well with his passing.  He did pick up an early booking for kicking the ball away, but that didn't affect his game, as he still challenged hard for the ball, despite the possibility of the ref making it red next time if he missed one.  

Burch was brought into action just after the hour, when Abidallah's 30 yard drive had to be turned aside with a flying save.  Hughes and Barnard were soon on the offensive at the opposite end of the pitch and Lee's curling shot just missed the target by inches.  His next effort proved more profitable.

Spurs had earned a corner on their right wing.  Acimovic took it, but it was a poor low ball in and it was cleared out of the area to Marney.  Picking the ball up 20 yards out, he let fly and in the crowd of players in front of the keeper was Barnard, who stuck out a leg to divert it over Supple from three yards out.  2-0.

Only an amazing miss in the 77th minute let Ipswich of going further behind.  A O'Hara free-kick from the right wing was met by Mabizela who had a free header.  Unfortunately, he could only head it sideways from just five yards out and it fell to Doherty, who's luck in front of goal was exemplified by the ball ending up straight in the keeper's hands from only three yards.  Barnard left the field shortly afterwards when a tackle left him limping and Michael Malcolm replaced him.  

Jamie O'Hara was relishing his starting role and hit a 30 yard shot just wide of the right hand post and Reuser still couldn't beat Burch, this time with a low shot that the Spurs keeper gathered safely.   With injury time being played, the move of the match rapped up the Tottenham victory.  Acimovic found himself on the left wing and he exchanged passes (with the help of a back-heel) and spread the ball wide right to Marney.  Moving in support of him Milo took the ball and hit a cross into the area, where Jamie Slabber had made an astute run and his diving header hit the target, beating the keeper for pace.  It was the only contribution of note by Slabber in the match, as he had looked a little off the pace, but you can't ask for much more from strikers.  After being caught in the stranglehold of the Town defence, one moment of freedom made them pay.

It was a good performance, in contrast to the last match at Stevenage against Charlton and with Chris Hughton back in charge for the evening, the team looked happy on the ball and worked hard when not in possession.  The match rounded off 2003 nicely and they face three home matches in the opening fixtures of the New Year, which could bump them up the table considerably if they play like this again.

MEHSTG Top Man:   LEE BARNARD

Marco van Hip

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