Stevenage Borough   1   Tottenham Hotspur    3      (Half-time score : 1-1)

Friendly
Venue : -  Broadhall Way
Saturday 7th July 2007
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   ,
Referee :  - (-)
Weather :  -  Warm, sunny with a ten minute rain shower in first half
Teams : - 
Stevenage Borough :

Julian (Ketteridge 46)

Fuller (Batt 46 [Hadge 88])
Nutter (Oliver 46)
Henry (c) (Arber 46)
Lewis (Bradshaw 46)

Gaia (Molesley 46)
Lawson
(McMahon 46)
Miller (Cruise 46)
Cole (Dobson 46)

Hakim (Eames 46)
O. Allen
(Sealey 46)

Tottenham Hotspur :

Cerny

Ifil (Riley 88)
Daniels (Hughton 88)
Rocha (Mills 63)
Gardner

Malbranque
Murphy (Livermore 81)
O'Hara (Maghoma73)
Taarabt

Keane (c)
Bent (Barcham 68)

Unused subs
Forecast

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Stevenage Borough

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Stevenage Borough

O. Allen 44

Tottenham Hotspur

Keane (p) 19
Bent 46
Taarabt 58

Cards : -  
Stevenage Borough

       

    

Tottenham Hotspur 

       

     

Match Report : -  

 

The traditional curtain raiser to Tottenham's pre-season programme at Stevenage Borough saw a young Spurs side with a sprinkling of first teamers ease to a win thanks to a better second half performance against the home side's second string XI.

The game was held up slightly, as the long queues made it difficult for everyone to get in on time and fans were still coming through the turnstiles 15 minutes after kick off.  The summer sunshine that had arrived at last shone down as the teams took to the field for their pre-match warm-up, with Darren Bent appearing for the first time in a Spurs shirt.  A huge over-sized bear was present at the toss-up, as the fans mixed in all the stands of the ground in a friendly atmosphere, with some good-natured banter between them.  The Hungarian flag waving Boro supporter on the standing terrace gave a few fans the benefit of his repertoire of Stevenage songs, although they might not have wished to experience them !!

Spurs links with Boro now abound.  Former defender Mark Stimson is the manager, Ronnie Henry skippers the side from the back, Stuart Lewis of our reserve side last season lined up in midfield and another reserve defender of years gone by - Mark Arber - played the second half.  It was Lewis who had the first shot of the game, with a low effort in the first minute, but Radek Cerny dealt with it easily.  The response was immediate, with Phil Ifil running up the right wing and setting up Robbie Keane, who struck a curling shot that cleared the far post and in the third minute, Keane struck an angled volley over the bar from six yards out on the left hand side of the goal.

Tottenham were moving well, even though it was their first game after starting training last week.  The passing was not quite as hot and Keane was growing frustrated with Taarabt, as he failed to release the ball when Robbie wanted it.  His dribbling tended to hit the brick wall of the Stevenage defence.  But then, in the 18th minute that all changed.  A neat one-two between Bent and Keane saw the new striker try to burst between two defenders, one of whom bundled him over and the referee, who was right on top of the incident, pointed to the spot.  After some words of wisdom from Ronnie Henry, Keane stepped up, shimmied and sent the ball past Julian in the Boro goal to put Spurs 1-0 ahead.

At this point, it looked like Spurs eased off a bit and Stevenage came into the game more.  A free-kick was curled over the wall, but Cerny comfortably grabbed the high shot, which lacked pace on it.  The same result came at the other end, when Taarabt could have played Darren Bent through, but chose to shoot straight at the keeper low down.  Some semblance of interplay began to take form, with Bent and Taarabt linking and the 16.5 million man hit his shot at goalie Julian, who was also on his toes to tip over the bar from Keane's free-kick as it arrowed for the top corner.  A free-kick gave Boro a good opening, but the original shot was blocked by the wall and Lewis' follow-up took a deflection for a corner.  The player taking the free-kick was Ollie Allen, the son of Clive, who was taking the Spurs warm-up duties today.

Anthony Gardner and Ricardo Rocha started off the game in the centre of defence and performed well against some physical stuff from the two Stevenage forwards.  Rochas stopped Allen's shot on the turn with a block on 37 minutes, but when the striker got the ball on the centre of the edge of the six-yard box, he turned Gardner and buried his shot into the corner of the net to make it 1-1.  It looks like his Dad has taught him well !!  Before that Rocha had to block a Mitchell Cole effort and Taarabt hit the target with a fierce shot that Julian had to palm over the crossbar.

It was a completely different side who faced Tottenham in the second half, with Stevenage making 11 changes, while Spurs kept the same 11 on the field.  It paid off for Tottenham, as a crisp pass through the middle of the Stevenage defence found Darren Bent and as the new keeper Ketteridge came out to meet him, the new signing struck the ball over him and into the net.  it was the sort of finish you would hope for from someone that Martin Jol has placed his faith in.

The passing was now reaping dividends and cutting through the home side, with Murphy and Malbranque exchanging passes to set up Keane, who laid it into Bent path, but he could only drag it across the goal a yard wide of the left hand post.  Then he was there a minute later on the end of a neat one-two between Malbranque and Keane to bring a save from Ketteridge from a half-hit shot.

Having decided to up their game, Spurs had Stevenage penned in and a sweeping move saw Bent return the compliment for Robbie, but his shot was well kept out by a low save from Ketteridge in the Boro goal.  Just after the hour, O'Hara ran through the home side's midfield and played the ball to Keane, who shimmied past Arber and hit a shot that was this time saved by the keeper's legs.

Ricardo Rocha had been doing well, but seemed to be having trouble with his foot in the first half and he was replaced by Leigh Mills, who looked comfortable alongside Gardner.  Not that he had too much to do, as all the play was at the other end.  Keane lofted a pass over the left back to find Steed and he cut in to hit a shot that the keeper pushed away and Robbie then played through Adel Taarabt, who curled a shot wide of the right hand post.  The young midfielder had a taste for a goal today and tried shooting at almost every opportunity.  Danny Murphy shot over from a good position on the edge of the penalty area following Phil Ifil's right wing run and Robbie Keane's dummy, before finally Taarabt got his reward.

Picking up the ball on the left wing, the big man cut inside a few yards to hit a shot from 25 yards that, as a few of his other shots, looked unlikely to trouble the keeper.  Unfortunately for Boro, the ball squirted under Ketteridge and into the bottom corner of the goal to give Tottenham a 3-1 advantage with 67 minutes gone.  The goal signalled an immediate substitution of Andy Barcham for Bent, who had taken a heavy tackle on his ankle and shortly after, the hard-working O'Hara left to be replaced by Jacques Maghoma and towards the end, more Spurs subs gave some of the youngsters a taste of playing with first-teamers.

Taarabt grew in confidence with his goal, hitting the keeper's legs with another shot, spraying his passes across the pitch and showing good skill to take on a number of Stevenage players before running into another one and losing the ball.  The home supporters had been giving him a bit of grief over his passes not coming off, but he had the last laugh with the goal and showing off what he can do on the ball.  In fact, the home support went pretty quiet in the second half, apart from a bloke in the Main Stand, who squawked out "COME ON BORO" like a nervous tic, making it sound like someone shouting out "KOOKABURRA" !!

Altogether, a good run out for the players after returning to training.  Stevenage played hard in the first half and in the second some of their players went in a bit hard in an attempt to prove something to their manager, which was a bit unnecessary - especially when Oliver went right through the back of Barcham.  But Spurs managed to play around them and ended up with a comfortable winning margin.

Marco van Hip

 

 

 
 

Reaction : -

 
 

BROADHALL SMILES

 
 
Stevenage Borough paraded the FA Trophy at half-time, which they won at Wembley at the end of last season.

Spurs paraded their new 16.5 million acquisition, who got on the score-sheet and showed enough hunger in a meaningless pre-season friendly to indicate that when the real action starts, he will be a useful player to have on our side.

Without going into too much detail of the action, which is covered by someone else, here is a run-down on the players taking part.

Cerny - A quiet outing for the back-up keeper, with just a couple of crosses and a couple of shots straight at him to deal with.  No real chance with the goal.
Ifil - A steady game, with some good runs up the right wing.  Looked back to the form he showed when he first came into the side, but needs to maintain his position rather than drifting in-field.
Riley - A late substitute, Chris Riley did what he had to do proficiently.  Missed much of last season with injury and will look to get back playing with the reserves this season.
Daniels - Did well as an over-lapping left back.  I learned that he looks so much like Gareth Bale (Ed - Really ??) that a bloke and his son near me before the game kept shouting "Bale" at him.
Hughton - Cian got on late in the game, showing a good touch on the ball, but was not threatened in a defensive capacity.  Looks a bit like his Dad when he first started playing for Spurs, but smaller.
Rocha -  Solid game.  Looked good in the air and tough in the tackle.  Precaution to remove him with slight injury.
Mills - Replaced Rocha and looked good.  Plays the ball well, has good awareness and not afraid to get stuck in.  Looks one for the future.
Gardner - Had a good game, winning the ball in the air and nicking it away with his long legs, although got turned for the goal.  Had a bit of a brain-wave on the edge of the area, when he received a goal-kick from Cerny and almost lost the ball.  Needs to focus for 90+ minutes.
Malbranque - Ran for the whole game and looked a lot fitter than previously.  Got into some good positions and linked up play well.
Murphy - Like Steed, looked fitter and his short passes created chances and made the Stevenage side chase the ball.  Unlikely to be a starter very often, but his experience from the bench could be useful.
Livermore - Jake had 10 minutes, in which he showed that he can tackle and pass.  Didn't have a great amount of time to get involved, but played with enthusiasm.
O'Hara - Likes to run with the ball and had plenty of chance to do so today.
Maghoma - Had slightly longer on the pitch, but didn't see a lot of the ball.  Highly rated by the backroom staff, Jacques looks strong and will be keen to play with the reserves again after missing last season with an injury.
Taarabt - Doesn't lack confidence, that's for sure.  Got some flak from Keane about running with the ball and losing it, when he should have looked to release his forwards.  Got a goal, more by luck than judgement, but he has bags of skill.  It just needs to be honed with an appreciation of what's around him.
Keane - Usual bag of tricks on display, some which came off, some which didn't.  Scored from the spot and had chances to get another, but denied by the keeper.  Directed play and developed an understanding with Bent as the game went on.
Bent - Looked eager to get a goal on his debut - and did, with a striker's finish.  I was right behind him and you could see what he was going to do when Malbranque put him through.  Won the ball in the air and made good runs, even if he didn't get the ball.  Looks a good player to have in the team.
Barcham - Andy got involved in the game when he replaced Darren, pulled defenders into positions they didn't want to be, but got few opportunities in the area.  Took a hefty tackle from behind, but got up and played on.

Burton Coggles

 
 
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