TUESDAY 6TH SEPTEMBER, 2005
BISHOPS STORTFORD 4 (1) SPURS XI 6 (2)
Bishops Stortford scorers:-
McKenna, 17, 61
Barnard, 36, 48 (pen),
Referee: - Mr. G. Monk
Attendance: - Est. 500
Bishops Stortford (4-4-2):- Gay (sub Young, 77); Thanda, Hodges (sub Garrard, 46), Lewis (Capt.) (sub Champion, 46), Gwillim; Howell (sub Jones, 77), Midson, Williams (sub Adejokun, 46), Martin; Jackman, Edwards (sub Gilman, 46)
Spurs (4-4-2):- Forecast; Ifil (sub Mills, 79), Huddlestone, McKie, Daniels; Maghoma, McKenna (sub Riley, 68), Davis (Capt.), OíHara; El Hamdaoui (sub Hamed, 46), Barnard
This was a match arranged at late notice, due to the late withdrawal of Derby from the Premiership Reserve League in August. Players returning from injury such as Tom Huddlestone and Mounir El Hamdaoui, needed a match in their fight to regain fitness and to compete for a place in Martin Jolís squad, and also Sean Davis needs more recuperation. So Spurs sent a 14 man squad up the M11 to Bishops Stortford, who have now entertained us 4 times in the last 6 years, since we played in the official inaugural match at Woodside Park in September, 1999.
The last meeting in August 2003 finished 4-4, and featured a Spurs Youth team whilst the main squad was in South Africa. Stortford included Roy Essandoh that day, whose claim to fame had been a goal for Wycombe in an FA Cup quarter final defeat of Leicester in 2002. Spurs also scored 4 in the match of August 2000.
Tonightís match was so low key that at the time of writing, even the official Spurs web site has not bothered to write anything. Perhaps they donít want to publicise the fact that a Spurs defence which included Ifil and Huddlestone did concede 4 goals to a team some 6 levels beneath them, playing mid-table football in the Nationwide South. The truth is however, that this was a run-out for Spurs, but Stortford played with a more competitive edge for much of the time. Spurs might have preferred this to have been behind closed doors, but the home team wanted to make a bit of money charging prices above Reserve League fees, and even £2 for a paltry programme. Still, good luck to Stortford, whose best gate last season was little more than the estimated 500 that turned up tonight.
Those that did attend must have been thoroughly entertained. Stortford were more of a team unit too, when you consider that the Spurs side included regulars from the first team squad, the Reserves and Youth team players too. Spurs only had a 14 man squad, without a substitute keeper, so their instructions must have been not to get too physical. Sadly, El Hamdaoui was nursing his ankle as early as the fifth minute, after a couple of determined tackles that did not aid his recovery. Mounir was replaced in the second half by Youth team player Radwan Hamed, who had some impressive moments.
Huddlestone was powerful at the back, and made some lovely accurate long passes. Sean Davis seemed to play at half pace in the middle, and the passing highlights came from Charlie Daniels and Jamie OíHara on the left. Spurs seemed to get exposed on their left flank at times, where McKie played beside Huddlestone, and Daniels was at left back. OíHara took the free kick following a foul on Hamdaoui, which he fired over after 4 minutes. Jacques Maghoma got plenty of ball down the right thanks to good delivery, and he drove over a powerful shot after 11 minutes.
Thanda made a crunching (but legal) tackle on Hamdaoui outside the edge of the box, after Hamdaoui had started a good move down the right, and Maghoma had crossed. Hamdaoui must have protested vehemently to the referee who had words. Sean Davis took the opportunity to explain to the ref that Mounir was back from injury. The first of the three goals in the first period came in the 17th minute, when Ifil sent McKenna away with a good ball. McKenna carried it into shooting territory and didnít spurn the chance as it opened up for him, beating Gayís dive with a great shot to his top left corner.
Edwards was strong for the home side, and got behind the defence, having the ball stolen off him by a good saving tackle from McKie. Then in the 28th minute, Jackman beat McKie with a short pass that gave Edwards a great chance which he took with a hard right footed shot across Tommy Forecast in the Spurs goal. Midson even had a chance to give Stortford the lead, after Maghomaís tackle had rebounded into his path and he shot wide across the Spurs goal. Superiority was restored 9 minutes before the break, when Barnard rose to head home Ifilís cross.
The announcer was confused by a bit of shirt switching by Spurs and had initially announced Davis as the scorer, instead of McKenna. In the second he got Hamed mixed up with Riley, but it was difficult to keep track, with numerous substitutions that often took place un-announced. Spurs increased their lead very early, after OíHara made a great run, and was brought down just inside the box. Barnard did the business from the spot, but Stortford came back with a vengeance. First Forecast had to make a great double save, as a ball was crossed from the left, and headed goalward from short range. Tommy made a great diving save, then saved with his feet as a forward tried to follow up. However, it was all to no avail, as Howell scored soon after, before Stortford had the audacity to equalise again, this time through Gilman with a low shot after a long cross was headed back across the goal. McKie was struggling a little against the strong forward line, I fear.
Spurs were sparked into a mini goal frenzy, as Maghoma crossed deep, Hamed did well to win the ball, hit a shot which was parried, then give the ball to Barnard, who laid the ball up for McKenna to score his second and Spurs fourth goal. In the 65th minute, Hamed won a corner with his pace and determined challenge, and was thoroughly rewarded, when Davis chipped a pass to the back post, where Hamed headed home. Straight from the kick-off, OíHara stole the ball and made a run to the area, where he beat Gay with a left foot shot to the back corner.
It was 6-3 to Spurs according to my count, but I never quite ran out of fingers, as the scoring stopped after Stortford got one more in the 70th minute, with a Adejokun shot that beat both Huddlestone and Forecast. Leigh Mills got on for Ifil, and Spurs shuffled their formation, with Huddlestone going to Midfield, and Riley playing at right back. Towards the end, even Jamie OíHara was helping out at the back.
The Reserves have a proper game next Monday, at home to Fulham. Iíll be there.
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