With the two sides fielded - one in each half - Spurs gave the maximum
number of players a chance to shake the stiffness out of their legs and
get back to playing, as they eased to a 3-0 win over AFC Bournemouth,
that could have been by a greater margin had it not been for the
shone across the Fitness First stadium and the car park behind the empty
end that Spurs attacked in the first half. It was a welcome sight
after a day and half of rain preceding the game. That did not
prevent the home side turning the sprinklers on before kick off and the
kids team who were having a session on the pitch too great joy in
running beneath the sprinklers to get showered with cold water !!
A healthy Spurs contingent took up a large
part of the stand opposite the tunnel and while the team started in a
relaxed tempo, it didn't take some supporters long to berate Darren Bent
for ... being Darren Bent. Luckily Daphne was there to put them on
the straight and narrow about who they should be getting behind.
It was Bournemouth who had the first decent
chance, with a corner being beaten out from under his bar by Cudicini,
only for Jason Pearce to rattle the ball back on target and luckily,
Michael Dawson was there to block the ball from going any further.
Sloppy work on the ball by Chimbonda had presented the Bournemouth man
with the shooting opportunity.
An early indication that the Cherries
were going to bite in the tackle was evident when an agricultural late
challenge by Wayne Cummings on David Bentley left him nursing a dead leg
and Jake Livermore made an earlier than anticipated entry into the
action in the 15th minute. Having played with a deal of aggression
on Wednesday at Exeter, the young midfielder slipped into defence and
controlled his defensive play, producing some well-timed tackles.
His introduction also freed Danny Rose from a left back position to take
up a more familiar role on the left wing.
The young winger got muscled out of it a
bit at Exeter, but here, he threatened the defence with his pace and
looked much more attacking and much more effective. A 11th minute
cross found David Bentley at the far post, but he put his header wide
and then Darren Bent slid a pass through for Robbie Keane to go into the
area, only to be denied a shooting chance by a well-timed tackle by Ryan
Garry. Perhaps Keano should have shot a bit earlier and made the
keeper work rather than trying to be too certain of what he wanted to
The game went through a period of little
exciting happening, as Spurs appeared happy to hold onto the ball and
make Bournemouth do the running, but a well created move starting in
their own penalty area, saw Spurs move the ball quickly and it ended
with Danny Rose shooting high over the cross bar into the car park,
where his shot played pinball with the parked cars.
Bournemouth were not threatening that
much, with Cudicini only having to deal with a couple of crosses, but he
did need to come out when Goulding got in on the right and also when e
covered his near post to make sure Pitman's free-kick from the right
went into the side-netting instead of it going in the net.
Typically, Tottenham hit back and took
the lead with a well-worked goal. Bent once more slipped Keane
through the defence and as they appealed for off-side, he took the ball
on into the left side of the box and as former Spurs keeper Shwan Jalal
came out to him, the skipper coolly curled it wide of his dive and into
the net for the 27th minute opener.
The rest of the half saw Spurs enjoying
possession and Tom Huddlestone was not only spraying the ball around the
park, but was also getting stuck into the tackles, with the home players
being narked by this, only for Tom to explain that if it was good enough
for them to put Bentley out of the match, they should expect some back.
There was a weird bit at half-time, when
three police officers came and stood in front of the Tottenham section.
They might have been looking for fans who were at Portsmouth last season
and have banning orders, but they didn't appear after the break.
More bizarre on the pitch, was a fan's crossbar challenge, where one
Bournemouth supporter won tickets to a game because he managed to strike
the crossbar from the edge of the box. The other two competitors
barley got the ball off the ground.
At half-time, the numerous changes were
once again made, to give the players a further 45 minutes of playing
time to get their legs working. Cudicini and Hud stayed on to
complete the match, while Jake Livermore played out the remainder of the
match alongside Corluka in the second half.
It became a bit of a parade for
Tottenham, with O'Hara finding space inside the box However, Jamie's low
shot was turned aside by Jalal's dive, after Aaron Lennon had done well.
But ten minutes in, Defoe struck a powerful shot across the keeper that
ripped into the roof of the net following Livermore digging the ball out
to him from the middle of the penalty area following a corner. 2-0
and still plenty of time left, but Tottenham didn't really finish as
well as they could.
Defoe blazed one over the bar and later
ht the bar with a shot so powerful that Jalal could only stand and watch
as it shook the woodwork, but another effort produced a good save by the
ex-Spurs goalie, only for Wilson Palacios to run the ball in on the
rebound from close range to make it three in the 67th minute.
Tom Huddlestone was looking lean and fit,
with energy enough to get forward near the end and produce a curling
shot that would have found it's way inside Jalal's right hand post, had
he not reached up to tip it wide and it should have been four, when
Defoe unselfishly squared the ball to Roman Pavlyuchenko, only for the
Russian to take a touch and allow Jalal the opportunity to close him
down and for the shot to go way over the bar when well placed to score.
It showed Pav's lack of confidence at the moment and a goal would really
have done him good tonight.
The side looked more settled tonight,
despite all the changes. Bournemouth looked like they had the same
problem as Exeter, in finding a decent finish to any passing move they
put together and for much of the game, they were chasing shadows, with
Modric's move to the right in the first half following Bentley's injury
seeing him in a more comfortable role. Rose did well and nobody
really did badly, although following his lacklustre show at Exeter,
Chimbonda again looked less than focused on occasion.
One funny moment came in the first half,
when Dervite put a long ball through and Jalal raced from his area to
kick clear as Keane honed in on the ball. Unfortunately, it hit
his central defender smack in the face and almost put Robbie in on goal
!! A bit of luck like that in the new season will be most welcome.
Another game under their belts, the team
move on to Peterborough next week, but will return home for a change
after being away for a week. The game went off well and the three
police we saw escorting a drunk fan and his dog away from the ground
towards Kings Park was in contrast to the nature of the match.
"I've supported this club for years," he slurred. "Just wait until
I see some Spurs fans," he shouted at the departing officers.
Before he knew it some Tottenham
followers were alongside him.
"Are you Spurs fans ?" he asked.
Fearing the worst, I heard them replay
that they were.
"Was it a good game ?" the threatening
Bournemouth fan meekly asked.
I think they could have said that for a
friendly, yes it was.