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Arsenal Reserves   1    Tottenham Hotspur Reserves  2      (Half-time score : 0-2)
Premier League Reserve League South Venue :  Underhill, Barnet FC 
Monday 27th February 2006 Kick Off :  19.00 p.m.
Crowd :   4,000 approx. Referee :  Mr. D. McDermid
Weather :  -  Clear, chilly
Teams : - 
Arsenal :

Almunia

Rodgers
Connolly
Kelly
Cole (Efrem 8)

Muamba
Simpson
(Randall 58)
Song
Bendtner

Lupoli
Stokes

Unused subs:
Mannone
Tracy
Elston

Tottenham Hotspur :

Burch

Bunjevcevic (c)
Davenport
Gardner
Lee (Martin 72)

Daniels
Lewis
Jackson
Davis (Hamed 79)

Dawkins (Maghoma 46)
Barcham

Unused subs:
Forecast
Smith
 

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Arsenal Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  

Arsenal

Lupoli 69
 

Tottenham Hotspur 

Barcham 15
Dawkins 24

Cards : -  
Arsenal

   
Bendtner (handball)

     

Tottenham Hotspur 

    
 

     

Match Report : -  
Tottenham’s reserves took a huge step towards securing the Southern Premier League Reserve title after a deserved win against title rivals Arsenal last night.  In front of a packed Underhill crowd that was evenly split between Spurs fans and Goons, our young line-up outplayed the home side for much of a high quality contest.  The Arsenal defence – disrupted after Ashley Cole’s early withdrawal – struggled to cope with the pace and movement of front two Andy Barcham and Simon Dawkins, both of whom were rewarded with first half goals.  Arsenal used the famous slope to their advantage in the second half (how many more goals are scored in that goal I wonder ?), but could only pull one back.  Spurs moved seven points clear at the top of the table with this win and Arsenal had to cope with the double disappointment of Cole breaking down.  He went down in the first five minutes and limped off soon after with what appeared to be an ankle injury. 

Spurs dictated play from the start and created their first chance after five minutes.  Daniels released Davis into the space where the indisposed Cole should have been and the right winger beat Almunia from just inside the area, but his low drive also flashed past the keeper’s right hand post.  Johnnie Jackson was pulling the midfield strings and Arsenal failed to get any foothold in the game.  A period of concerted pressure culminated in a corner in the 13th minute which was met firmly by Calum Davenport at the back post.  His header was blocked, but the ball was not cleared and the alert Barcham pounced to slot the opener. 

Spurs continued to pour down the slope into Arsenal territory and produced some excellent passing.  A quick interchange between Charlie Daniels and Barcham released the muscular left winger who crossed low for Dawkins to sweep the second under the advancing Almunia.  A two-goal lead after 23 minutes did not flatter us and Clive Allen must have been delighted with our response to defeat at Southampton last week.  The Arsenal players, notably Alexandre Song and Jay Simpson, showed some nice touches, but their passing and in particular their crossing, was poor.  Simpson made a good run into the Spurs box soon after our second goal, but he threw himself to the ground when in a crossing position.  The watching Nomad management, disappointed by Cole’s injury, would have been more encouraged with such playacting. 

Spurs continued to be more incisive with their passing and were disappointed not to increase their lead before the break.  Stuart Lewis sliced wide after good work from Dawkins in the box and Daniels shot at Almunia after a strong run from the halfway line.  He possesses a subtle touch and good left foot, but his wing play is based more on strength than pace.  Along with Jackson and the front two, he caught the eye the most.  Arsenal’s only threat before half-time came from a quick free kick from Nicklas Bendtner, but it sailed past Burch’s left post. 

Dawkins was replaced by Jacques Maghoma at the break after picking up a knock, and the substitute immediately missed a great chance to kill the game off; Barcham once again wriggled free to cross, but Maghoma shot straight at Almunia.  Spurs nearly regretted this miss as most of the second half goal action came at our end.  Arturo Lupoli showed his first team credentials by dropping deep and causing Tony Gardner some problems, first testing Burch from close range and then scoring in the 68th minute after Song had dispossessed Daniels. 

Arsenal were keeping the ball better, but we continued to threaten on the break.  Barcham shot wide after a twisting run and Lewis drilled over from a driven Bunjevcevic cross.  However, we couldn’t score the decisive third and being a derby, there were some tense moments as the game reached a frantic conclusion: Lupoli and Fabrice Muamba both missed the target when clean through and Davenport blocked a goal-bound strike by substitute Mark Randall.  At the other end Barcham was a menace right up to the final whistle, forcing Almunia off his line after collecting a Daniels through-ball. 

We held on for a satisfying victory, important not only as a win over the scum and in the context of the league, but also because some players really came to the fore in a big game.  I was impressed with Davenport (who inspired more confidence than Gardner) and Daniels definitely has potential.  Jackson looked extremely comfortable in a central position and Barcham was always dangerous up front, possessing pace, skill and an eye for goal. 

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  JOHNNIE JACKSON

Phil Oliver

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