sing us a song


A bizarre night in Suffolk saw Tottenham emerge from Portman Road with a 1-0 win over a young Blue side in front of about 5,000 fans.

There was little to write home about, as the referee allowed the game to deteriorate as it went on and it almost kicked off just before it ended.  Spurs fielded Ledley King, Roman Pavyluchenko and Younes Kaboul along with a number of our Under-18 squad.  Ipswich had a lot of players I had never heard of so I imagine they are their new signings or their youth squad.  Tottenham seemed happy to play the ball around and find space, without quite finishing things off, while Ipswich seemed content to perform in the style of the manager ... if it moved kick it.

The assembled Spurs fans seemed to be having trouble with the team, as they have done all season, with Robbie Keane "looking skinny" and having "let his hair grow" with his normal shirt number being taken by Ryan Mason and some of the fans had more of a problem holding a tune, with some songs that were being made up on the spot and more thought had gone into the lyrics ("Ledley King ... Champions League") than had been dedicated to the melody, which lacked metre and harmony. 

Much like the play out on the pitch really.  Some players were hitting the right notes, while some were finding the bum notes.  Tom Carroll was finding good space moving up from left back, but his crossing was not accurate, while Ledley was picking off forward passes by the Town players with consummate ease.

Ipswich had kicked off, but Tottenham could have scored within five minutes, when Carroll's low ball across the box was too far ahead of Jonathan Obika and then Paul-Jose Mpoku struck a fierce shot wide after finding himself in space 25 yards out.  Pavlyuchenko was playing within himself and reserved his efforts for when the ball got near goal, bringing a 10th minute save out of Lee-Barrett, as his legs blocked Pav's low shot following a good pass into him from Ryan Mason.  Three minutes later, Pav had the keeper flying high at his near post to palm out another firm shot.  Spurs had the bulk of the possession apart from the flighty Lee Martin, who thought his skill would count for much up against the tough tackling Adam Smith .. .especially after Martin caught him late in the early part of the second half.  The Ipswich winger swapped wings to get away from Smith and then left the action shortly after that.

Spurs were making nice angles and produced a couple of shots off target from Parrett and Obika, after he turned Ainsley inside out.  It was halfway through the first half when Ben Alnwick had his first save too make and that was straightforward when a centrally placed free-kick by Martin took a deflection off the wall and spun gently for the Spurs keeper to grab.  In the 35th minute, Kaboul was up for a corner and headed towards goal, but the effort lacked power and it was hacked away as it dropped in front of the far post by Lambe.  Straight from the clearance, Ipswich had one of their most telling attacks, breaking away on their right and it ended with Murray hitting a shot from a narrow angle at the near post, but Alnwick showed some strong wrists to turn the ball round for a corner.

As the last five minutes of the first half arrived, Mason struck a long range effort that Lee-Barratt couldn't handle and had to grab before Obika could get there and then at the other end, Martin and Cawley combined to set up a shot for Ainsley, but his shot from the right at an angle, went too high to trouble Alnwick and then right on half time, Pav failed to get enough on a header to worry the Ipswich keeper.

Following an ejection in the Spurs section for a fan who was drinking from a bottle of beer that took three policemen and a steward to deal with, the half-time interval passed reasonably quietly apart from the hideous alarm and the Suffolk lady announcing that this indicated an emergency.  Really ??  She surprised me with that !!

The second half was much like the first, but with lots of substitutions.  Calum Butcher replaced Ledley and put in a good performance, without much to give him any nervous moments.  Ten minutes into the second period, Parrett picked out Roman with a fine pass from the other side of the pitch and the Russian struck a first time volley that almost caught the goalie out, but hit the side-netting instead of the inside of the net.  Spurs were making inroads into the Ipswich defence and Obika took the ball around Ainsley quite easily and only an interception by Troy Brown stopped the waiting Mason finishing it off.  Just before the hour, Lee-Barratt had to move his feet quickly to prevent Obika's cross sneaking under the bar, but it only postponed the inevitable.

61 minutes gone and when the ball was worked to Pavyluchenko a couple of yards outside the box, his shot took a deflection off Hourihane to defeat the keeper's dive and fly past him into the opposite corner.  And four minutes later, Mason almost created number two when his fierce drive was beaten out by Lee-Barratt, straight out in front of him, where Obika reacted first, but could not get his header on target, directing it just wide.

The game became a little more open and Obika turned his marker, but couldn't keep his effort down, then Mason looked set to get his shot away, when Brown robbed him of the ball with a well-timed challenge.  Pav made a good run out to the right and played a square pass into Parrett's path and the midfielder's shot bounced back off the keeper's hands once more, but nobody was on hand to benefit.  Ipswich broke with a good pass out left to substitute Jon Stead, who intelligently laid it back for Reggie Lambe to shoot to the near post, but Alnwick stood firm and beat the effort out. and then wasn't troubled when the same home player had a chance form a corner and put it wide.  Lambe was becoming the most dangerous Ipswich player, with Alnwick called upon to save with his legs, as the midfielder tried to beat him at his near post again.

The last opportunity came when Pavlyuchenko, Harry Kane, Parrett and Byrne combined to allow the substitute defender to have a shot that got blocked away and the game came to an end with the last ten minutes getting a bit tasty as some of the younger Ipswich subs were keen on seeing how far they could push Adam Smith, who restrained himself to one of his now trademark challenges that brought a few players in to have a handbags session.

So, once more, Tim Sherwood's development team (with a few additions) came away with a good result against a more experienced eleven.  The bulk of this team will be loaned out to get regular first team experience at this or a lower level and it was probably a good opportunity for Roy Keane to see if there is anyone he would like on loan (I suggest Smith might suit Keane's game plan).  But Tottenham played a passing game, with the onus on keeping the ball and they got the win with a bit of luck, but then it wasn't about the result.

As we walked out, we got a taste of Champions League football, with someone throwing a fire cracker that exploded in the midst of the exiting fans.  One Suffolk local said "They do that all the time in London."

It's amazing what you learn when you go to football.

marco van hip


  1   Lee-Barrett 
  2   Ainsley (c)
  -   Brown
  -   Eastman
  4   O'Connor  (  -   Griffiths 73)
  7   Lambe
  8   Cawley
11   Martin  (  -   Dunbar 61)
  -   Murray  (15   Counago 61)
  9   Hourihane  (14   Stead 61)
10   Healy  (  -   Clark 46)

Unused Subs :
  -   McLoughlin 



  1  Alnwick
  2   A. Smith 
  3   Carroll  (  -  Byrne 74)
  5   Kaboul
  6   King  (c)  (  -   C. Butcher 46)

 10   Mason
  4   Livermore  (  -   Kane  74)

  8   Parrett
   Mpoku  (  -   Dawkins 66)
11   Obika

  9   Pavlyuchenko

Unused Subs :
  -   Ranieri
  -   Oyenuga
  -  Durojaiye

Attendance :  5774


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