off the mark

Spurs  2   West Ham United  1           (Half time: 0-1)
FA Premier Reserve League South
Monday 15th September 2003
Venue :  Broadhall Way
Kick off : 19.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Warm
Crowd : -  About 500
Referee : -  P. Melin
Spurs  -  Poyet 65, Dalmat 69
West Ham United - Garcia 43
Spurs  -  Blondel (a number of fouls) , Poyet (two footed tackle) 62,Galbraith (foul) 90
West Ham United  -  McMahon (number of fouls) 22, Laws (foul) 59, Blewitt (foul) 85
Spurs :  Burch; Doherty, Kelly, Mabizela; Marney (Hughes 54), Blondel, Jackson, Dalmat, Ziege (Galbraith 74); Barnard (Slabber 74), Poyet
Unused subs: Eyre, Henry

West Ham United :  Bywater; McClenahan, Lumsden, Kilgannon (Blewitt 46), Tattam; Byrne, Laws, D. Noble, McMahon; Sofaine, Garcia
Unused subs: Behset, Cohen, Pearson, M. Noble, Carrick

Spurs  -  White shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks
West Ham United  -  Claret and blue shirts, white shorts, blue socks

A star studded audience witnessed the birth of a new Spurs star in Stephane Dalmat.  Glenn Hoddle, Hans Segers, David Pleat, Trevor Brooking, former Tottenham winger Terry Dyson, Kenny Jackett, Spurs fitness coach Kunle Odetoyinbo, Spurs Under-19 manager Pat Holland, former Spurs and current West Ham Secretary Peter Barnes and former Spurs boss Keith Burkinshaw all witnessed a smooth performance by the Frenchman, who will surely get a starting place against SCBC at the weekend.

His movement with the ball and a full range of pin-point passing made fans purr every time he got the ball and his performance was capped by a fine goal, having already made the first one for Poyet.  He was not the only good performer, as most of the Tottenham team could lay claim to praise from the manager.  Jackson crunched into the tackle, OJ looked comfortable on the ball and his pass selection was very good, Barnard pestered the Hammers defence all night, while Jonathan Blondel looked lively and inventive.  Poyet came through the match intact and played very well, while Ziege was a little more circumspect in his involvement, but produced some good balls into the box.

From the first minute, both sides showed their attacking intent, with Garcia hitting a shot just a yard wide and Dalmat producing a 20 yard effort that bounced awkwardly in front of the keeper.  Almost straight away, Ziege linked neatly with Gus on the left and pulled the ball back from the dead ball line for Poyet to hit a shot that cannoned off the crossbar.  West Ham hit back and Burch took a free-kick in the midriff and held on, while Sofaine fired wide when in the box.

Johnnie Jackson was getting forward to support the front two and put in a lot of effort all game.  He was denied by Bywater after his touch let the ball run away from him in the box and then fired a shot into a blocking Iron.  From the resulting corner, Dalmat hit a rising shot from the right of the box, that the keeper did well to hold.  Jackson also had a nice one-two with Poyet later in the half that put him in on the left, but his effort was wide.

On the half-hour, Stephen Kelly made an outstanding clearance in the six yard box as the ball dropped and Byrne closed in.  The Irish Under-21 won almost everything in the air through the middle and his pace stopped Garcia and Sofaine getting away on more than one occasion.

Mabizela was advancing too and his run from half-way was stopped on the edge of the area, but the ball fell to Ziege, who played him back in and his fierce shot flew over the top.  OJ could step into Ledley's boots on Saturday and the watching Hoddle will have been heartened by his performance, even though it was against a load of kids !!  Spurs were pressing the ball when West ham had it all over the pitch, but then out of the blue Garcia let fly a rocket of a shot from 30 yards that flew past Burch and went in off the post.  It was the first Irons effort on target and came just two minutes before the break.

Spurs came out with the same eleven to start and nearly went 0-2 down, when a cross flew across the face of goal with two West ham players unable to make contact.  However, Poyet played in Jackso and from a narrow angle on the left, his goal-bound shot was pushed out by Bywater.  From the corner, Jonathan Blondel got a header on the ball, but it hardly troubled the keeper.

Seven minutes into the half and Kelly made his one mistake, when he slipped leaving Byrne through, but Rob Burch saved the first shot and the follow-up went wide.  As the play swung to the other end, Laws was booked for felling Blondel on the edge of the box as he bore down on goal.  He could have been sent off, but the ref, who booked many players for their first foul on the night, showed him yellow and all Spurs got was a free-kick.  Unfortunately, it was not one of Ziege's best efforts and flew out of the ground !!  At least he could smile about it !!

Tottenham were starting to get frustrated and Poyet was booked for a two footed lunge and Byrne had another chance to extend the lead, but slid the ball wide when in on Burch.  It was the turning point of the match.

In the next attack, Stephane Dalmat made a solo run in the right hand side of midfield and when inside the box, played a neat reverse pass to Gus, who swept the ball in for the equaliser in the 65th minute.  Just after the restart, Kelly lost a bobbling ball to Sofaine, but managed to get back to produce a great tackle on the winger.  He did the same to Garcia later on, just as he cocked his foot to shoot on goal, but Kelly's timing was perfect and he made a great difference in the heart of the defence.

69 minutes on the clock and Dalmat goes off on another strong run, this time down the middle.  His close control kept the ball glued to his feet and he laid the ball off to Poyet on the right hand side of the box.  This time, Gus returns the compliment and lays it square for our new number 11 to strike the ball home to give Spurs the lead.

Blondel had a chance to the left of the goal after Galbraith had chased a high ball down and his shot was pulled across the face of goal, while Poyet got back into his own area to defend and prevent Noble getting a shot on goal at the death.  Apart from a couple of late yellow cards - one for each side - the game was left to Dalmat to show his range of passing and Hoddle must have been pleased with the way this midfielder took hold of the match and turned it Tottenham's way.  Players do not often do that at this level and it was good to see that he was determined to do well.  His skill set him apart from many on the pitch and his link play with Poyet and Blondel showed an instant understanding which will bode well if he can transfer that to the first team.

This was the first win of the season for the Reserves and if they keep playing in this hard-working and entertaining way, it surely won't be the last.  If only the first team could do the same !!


Marco van Hip

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