you dirty old man

Spurs  2   Chelsea  0           (Half time: 2-0)
FA Premier Reserve League South
Monday 28th October 2002
Venue :  Broadhall Way
Kick off : 19.00 p.m.
Weather : Clear, cold
Crowd : -  approx. 700
Referee : -  S. Rubery
Spurs  -  Blondel 14, Doherty 18
Chelsea - None
Spurs  -  None
Chelsea  -  Terry (foul) 89
Spurs : Hirschfeld, Marney, King, Gardner, Thelwell (S. Kelly 46), Clemence (Slabber 65), Blondel, Ricketts (Snee 82), Anderton, Barnard, Doherty. 
Unused subs: Burch, Bortolozzo.

Chelsea :  Pidgeley, Ferrer, Bogarde (Huth 46), Terry, Babayaro (Boussoufa 68), Ross  (Cousins 60), Oliveira, Nicholas, Ambrosetti, Kneissel, Wooleaston. 
Unused subs: Alis, Wizik

Spurs  -  White shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks
Chelsea  -  Blue shirts, blue shorts, blue socks
The clear sky meant that the crowd of about 700 who gathered to watch this match ended it in very cold conditions, but there was enough to warm the heart of Spurs fans as they coasted to a 2-0 win.  Among them were Ronnie Henry and Mark Hughes, checking out their team-mates.

Chelsea started sprightly enough, but it was not a true reflection of how they would approach the rest of the game.  Lining up with Terry, Ferrer, Babyaro and Bogarde in the side, you would have thought that they would show some gumption, but apart from a few strong tackles, they showed little inclination to put themselves out for their huge wage packets.

Five minutes in, they won a free-kick on the edge of the Spurs box, which Nicholas hit straight at the wall and Babyaro's follow-up shot flew wide.  Two minutes later a cross lead to Ross having a header from the edge of the penalty area, but Hirschfeld comfortably saved the effort in the six yard box.

Rohan Ricketts showed once again that he has a nice touch on the ball and a fluid passing technique that brings others into the game.  He made a nice link up with Dean Marney, captain for the day, in the twelfth minute to free the defender on the right and his first time cross was well cleared.  However, from the next attack, Tottenham opened the scoring.

Darren Anderton, in the process of completing his first full game since the Celtic friendly, was positioned centrally and about 25 yards out.  He played the ball out to the left edge of the box, where Gary Doherty was stationed.  The Doc stepped over the ball, letting it run to the foot of Jonathan Blondel, who was running in and who struck the ball first time, crisply past Pidgeley in the Chelsea goal at his near post.  It was a well taken goal and well created against a packed Chelsea defence.

Spurs only had to wait until the 18th minute for their second.  Blondel won the ball in midfield with a suspicion of handball about it, but then set off on a silky run with the ball seemingly glued to his white boots.  He slipped a pass out to the right wing through Ross' legs, where Lee Barnard was waiting.  Barnard's cross was inch perfect to drop over Albert Ferrer's head for Gary Doherty to bring the ball under control and crash a shot into the net from the left hand side of the box.

It was a goal typical of Blondel's play in the match.  His quicksilver feet managed to control almost every ball played to him, however it arrived.  His passing was crisp and incisive and his runs with the ball were electrifying.  He is a real box of tricks and the experienced Spaniard Ferrer was reduced to kicking him over a couple of times.  This foul play did not fit in with the supposed classy ex-Barcelona defender's reputation.

Blondel was so involved that in the 21st minute, he ran to keep the ball in, only for the offender Ferrer to knock in a cross which Ambrosetti could not convert at the far post.  In fact, the Italian was involved in the Blues' best chance, when Wolleaston ran through the middle of the Tottenham defence and fed Ambrosetti, who hit a low cross into the six yard box.  Kneissel missed the ball altogether and at the far post Oliviera hit the ball well over the bar in the 27th minute.  In the very next minute the same player again shot high when a ball over the top found him with only Hirschfeld to beat.

Barnard linked sweetly with Marney down the right with five minutes to go to half-time and the captain's cross was kicked out for a corner.   It was a well worked move that left Marney in space to stride forward and his forays up the line gave Spurs a good attacking outlet, especially when Blondel shifted the play from the left with a cross field pass.  Marney ended the half with an athletic slalom-style run past about four Chelsea bodies, before he was halted on the edge of the area.

Unfortunately, the ref went through a stage just before half-time, where he seemed to be blowing up for everything. Almost every tackle was deemed too physical and then in the second half, he spoiled what had been a good game for him, by being too pernickety about the placement of free-kicks, which annoyed both crowd and players.

Winston Bogarde had ambled through the first half and seemingly unperturbed by the fact that he might have been playing for a place in the first team ,he did not appear for the second 45; replaced by young central defender Huth.  Spurs took off Alton (or Anton as the programme had it) Thelwell, who was feeling his groin injury at the break.

Tottenham continued to dominate with Anderton floating a free-kick that Barnard headed at the keeper, while a flowing move through Ricketts, King and Anderton ended with Shaggy missing the target narrowly from 25 yards.  Ricketts showed he can also be a useful player to have.  Lovely touch on the ball and plenty of energy off it, he linked play well and was as much a ball winner in midfield as anyone else.  The bloke sitting next to me (not a problem you usually have at a reserve game, but this was a bit packed) was obviously not Anderton's biggest fan.  Sarcastic cheers when he did anything right and quick criticism when something went wrong, he was amazed that he won five tackles in the match.  Well, he did well all round really.  Good control and sensible use of the ball allied with his winning tackles and good movement off the ball showed he is just a little match fitness off a return to the first team squad. 

The Chelsea midfielder Oliveira beat Gardner with a back heel wide on the goal line, but Anthony used his speed to get the ball back and stepped out with the ball imperiously.  He looked very god today and never in trouble, apart from a couple of early incidents when trying to lay the ball back to the keeper.  Alongside Ledley King, who also did not put a foot out of place, they could both be back in the first team picture sooner rather than later.  Their work in the middle of the defence left Hirschfeld with little to field.  A 70th minute save from a 25 yard shot from Kneissel was not too taxing and then he was more seriously tested in the 77th, when Ambrosetti cut in from the left wing to hit a fierce shot that Lars tipped over for a corner.  The only other problem he had was with a ball into the danger zone that Wolleaston challenged for, but Hirschfeld smothered the ball at his feet as he was a couple of yards out.

Doherty, who's touch was not great up front, but he did battle away to hold the ball up, had a header half blocked.  His link play with Barnard wasn't bad considering they don't play together that often, but Doc is surely better as a defender.  Barnard was a willing runner and his astute vision put others in good positions with his passing.  One such pass set Blondel off on a run, then slide a pass out to Gardner on the left wing.  He played the ball inside to Ricketts, who tried to play Doherty through, but the Irishman was offside.

Unfortunately, the game ended on a bit of a sad note as Terry was booked for a crude tackle on Blondel as he ran past the England under-21 player once too often.  It was unnecessary, but showed how on top Spurs were as this was in the last minute.  There was just time left for Spurs to carve out one more chance that saw Anderton waved offside before his shot hit the bar.

It was a good all round performance by Tottenham with both teams fielding a healthy number of players who could be first teamers.  The Spurs players application was much better than that of the West Londoners and the result reflected that.  Clemence looked very good in midfield, running well with the ball and using it intelligently and he will add to the squad soon.  Ledley looked not only fit, but positively thin, so that will stand him in good stead for the rest of the Premiership season.

With many of the regulars from the reserves squeezed out to accommodate returning injured stars and some having played in the Under-19s at the weekend, it was a well deserved win, with little to criticise.  Next up are Leicester City at home on November 11th, in which I hope the team can perform just as effectively.


Marco van Hip

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