international week, a young Spurs side took to the field for this game
and they acquitted themselves well against a more experienced Arsenal
team, who capitalised on two moments of indecision to win this meeting
at Broadhall Way.
bumper crowd of 3,107 packed into the Stevenage Borough ground, so much
so that the club had to call in extra stewards to meet the ratio for the
number of fans inside the stadium. The fans saw an early
domination of the game by the visitors, who threatened through a fifth
minute shot from a tight angle by Lupoli, which Cerny grabbed at his
near post. Gooner midfielder Patrick Cregg was booked for appeared
to be a number of incidents of dissent in the ninth minute, while his
team-mate Fabrice Muamba went around upending everything wearing a white
shirt without even a word or warning from the match official.
was after Muamba's fourth foul that Spurs were awarded a free-kick,
which was chested down by Stephen Kelly and volleyed into the
side-netting of the goal. Marcel McKie had a really good first
half, but after producing three expertly timed tackles to deny Arsenal
forwards with scoring chances, he was involved in a clash of heads,
which saw him leave the pitch at the interval and fail to
reappear. It later transpired that he had suffered a fractured
cheekbone. In the 25th minute Stokes made a run inside fro the
left wing and curled a shot just wide, although Cerny seemingly had it
minutes later, a free header from an Arsenal corner was well saved low
down on his line by the Czech keeper and with two minutes to half-time,
the ref pointed to the spot when Charlie Lee went into challenge Stokes,
whose feet went from under him, as he tried to stop his run. It
was a harsh award to say the least and when Lupoli stepped up to take it
and hit it low towards Cerny's left, we all waited for the
net to ripple. But Radek had dived full length to push the
ball away to make a great save. It set the crowd buzzing during
the break, with the second half to look forward to.
looked comfortable against this Arsenal side. The white shirts
stroked the ball about confidently and were getting stuck into what was
a physical game. Jacques Maghoma slotted into midfield, with
Charlie Daniels moving back to right back and Kelly inside to
centre-half. The changes did not affect Spurs too much initially,
but later in the half, it seemed to take it's toll.
tried to dribble out of the Tottenham defence, but lost the ball and as
Cregg was through on goal, he tried to set up a colleague, but messed it
up and the chance was gone. Spurs were making moves into the
Arsenal half and midfielder Stuart Lewis was prompting many of them,
with Jamie O'Hara having a quiet match. Lewis' 49th minute cross
was headed over by Barnard and then the flame-haired midfielder
unleashed a low 25 yarder in the next minute that Almunia had to dive to
stop. Lewis was then involved in an incident when he fouled Muamba
and the Arsenal midfielder raised his hands to Lewis in
retaliation. The result was a yellow card each from the
referee. This was shortly followed by another caution for Arsenal,
with Connolly the perpetrator this time.
67 minutes gone the deadlock was finally broken and it was a break from
Arsenal that did it. Cutting in from wide, Bendtner hit a low shot
from an angle and it beat Cerny to give Arsenal the lead. Spurs
hit back with some good passing and McKenna, Lewis and Barnard combined
for the former to strike a low 20 yard shot that the keeper had to keep
out in the 75th minute. But four minutes later the game was
wrapped up, with a long Arsnela free-kick lumped into the area for the
tall Bendtner to get in Cerny's way and set up a tap-in for Lupoli.
The Spurs keeper did earn his corn though, with a late tip around the
post from Lupoli again.
was not a fair reflection on the game, but Arsenal took their chances
and Spurs did not. It was a strangely subdued performance, with
some lack of passion after a fiery start. The next game sees
another which will be a tough battle - away to West Ham. With a
few more players back in the fold by then, maybe it will be a different
performance and hopefully a better result.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - MARCEL