Exeter City   0   Tottenham Hotspur    3      (Half-time score : 0-1)

Venue : -  St. James Park
Wednesday 15th July 2009
Kick Off :  7.45 p.m.
Crowd :   ,
Referee :  - (-)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the home end in the first half.
Weather :  -   Dry, mild evening
Teams : - 
Exeter City :

P. Jones

Tully (Burnell 46)
M. Taylor (Archibald-Henville 49)
Goldbourne (Duffy 46)

Sercombe (C. Allen 66)
Russell (Edwards 46)
Harley (Dunne 66)
Panther (Bennett 66)

Stansfield (Stewart 46 [Frear 86])
McAllister (Logan 46 [Corr 86])

Unused subs: 

Tottenham Hotspur :

Cudicini (Button 46)

Hutton (Assou-Ekotto 46)
Corluka (Dawson 46)
Dervite (Livermore 46)
Chimbonda (Gunter 46)

Rose (Lennon 46  )
Huddlestone (Palacios 46)
O'Hara  (Modric 46)
Bentley (Boateng 46)

Keane (c) (Pavlyuchenko 46)
Defoe (Bent 46  )

Unused subs: 

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Exeter City


Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Exeter City


Tottenham Hotspur

O'Hara 32
Lennon 69
Bent 75

Cards : -  
Exeter City



Tottenham Hotspur 



Match Report : -  
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 Exeter City, that could have been by a greater margin had it not been for the Grecians' keeper.

The tight little ground was bathed in early evening sunlight, with a sell-out crowd inside to greet the two teams as they came out ... and oh, yeah, there were a few cheers for Exeter too.  The Spurs players filled up both benches before the game began and the first half team warmed up, while the second half team occupied the dug-outs.  There was almost as much trouble finding a seat in the ground, as there was no allocated seating in the Stagecoach stand and you had to find a pew where you could, but that was simpler than trying to find a match programme, which we were informed had sold out an hour before kick off.

With this being the first game of the return to action, it was not one which would contain a great deal of information about how the season might go and while the 22 Spurs players put in a fair bit of effort, some might not have done their chances a lot of help, while others shone.

While Exeter did pass the ball pretty well, they lacked a real cutting edge in the final third and left the Tottenham defence with only a few moments of threatening action, mainly at the start and end of the game.

An early corner failed to cause Spurs much trouble and when David Bentley slung in a first time cross from the right wing, Jermain Defoe rose to head the ball towards goal.  Jones got to the ball comfortably, but managed to fumble the ball and had to grab it at the second go.  Exeter moved forward and Adam Stansfield hit a long range effort that got deflected wide and from the corner, the same player was first to a near post delivery, but could not keep his header down and it sailed a foot or more over.

Tottenham then started to knock the ball around with confidence.  A slim-line Tom Huddlestone was spraying passes to all parts of  the pitch.  Good pressure by captain Robbie Keane caused Taylor to cede possession and he laid it on for Hud, who struck a shot that ballooned off the leg of a defender and was put out for a corner.  He came closer from a cleared corner, that fizzed narrowly over the bar from 30 yards out.

It was in the 32nd minute when Tottenham went ahead.  Bentley and Hutton worked a good position on the right wing and the Scotman's cross was missed at the near post by Defoe, but Keane struck a good shot on target.  Jones did very well to beat the ball away, but it only went out to the edge of the area, where Jamie O'Hara smashed it low back past him to make it 1-0.

The remainder of the half saw Jones putting in an almost one-man show to keep Spurs at bay.  A keeper prevented a Defoe snapshot getting past him and then the Grecian's goalie was on hand to divert Keane's low volley from Huddlestone's pin-point pass just the right side of the post as far as the home crowd were concerned.  The half was ended with City only having ten men on the pitch following Stansfield having to go off for treatment after clashing heads with the solid Dorian Dervite, with the medical men deciding not to risk him for the remaining last few minutes before the break.

The half time entertainment featured Exeter City's Director of Football Steve Perryman busily rushing around the pitch in a number of efforts to raise funds for his club, including having photos done in the centre circle with some fans with a Yorkshire Spurs flag.

The rest of the Spurs players who were changed got a run out in the second half, with only Woodgate, King and Jenas not being involved on the field.  The second half became a little less feisty, with Alan Hutton off the field, as he had been caught late by a tackle and then proceeded to go into each subsequent tackle with glee.  Chimbonda had been playing on the left with Danny Rose nominally in front of him, but the Frenchman often ended up in a more advanced position than the young winger and this lead to Rose drifting infield.

The second period saw Gunter and Assou-Ekotto as the full backs, with Dawson and Jake Livermore in the middle of the back four.  It is not hard to see how Livermore was sent off twice at the end of last season, as he is a whole hearted player, who, if he mis-timed a challenge, will invariably look bad and reap the referee's wrath.

With Bent and Pavlyuchenko up front and Modric behind them, the chances were more plentiful in the second half, with another Spurs player, Troy Archibald-Henville featuring for the home team.  It was a Spurs centre half who came closest to adding to he score, when a ball dropped for Michael Dawson following a corner and he hit it low, only to see it flick off a defender's leg and back off the goal-post.  Later, Roman Pavlyuchenko suffered the same fate, when he made a yard for himself to hit a shot beyond the keeper's reach, but not the woodwork's.

The Russian also tried to curl a low shot past Jones, but the keeper got down to it and deflected it wide, with a similar, but higher save a short while later to stop Modric's effort going in under the crossbar.  We were behind Kevin Prince Boateng when he fired a shot that would have gone inside the post, but Jones tipped it around the post to keep it at 1-0.  Lennon robbed Duffy of the ball and slipped in Darren Bent, who was thwarted by Jones rushing out to block him, before Richard Logan finally broke forward to dip a 25 yarder just over Button's crossbar.

Following Roman's shot against the post, Luka Modric picked up the ball on the left and moved into the box via a nutmeg on a defender, before he pulled the ball back low for Aaron Lennon to shoot home into the left hand side of the goal, as Jones came across the goal to meet him.  69 minutes gone and Spurs were then two up.

Modric should have got more on his shot when Lennon set him up in front of goal, but within five minutes, it was 3-0 and it was Darren Bent who got it.  He had spurned a chance when played in by Modric, hitting the side netting as closed down by Jones, but when Pavlyuchenko struck a fierce drive, the keeper could not hold onto it and Bent snaffled the ball into the net from close range to wrap up the scoring.  There was almost a consolation for Exeter at the end when Corr rose to glance Duffy's left wing cross narrowly wide, but it ended with a clean sheet and a comfortable win to get the players back into the groove.

On the way out, I over-heard a most bizarre mobile phone conversation.  The bloke behind me said, "Yeah, it was 3-0.  But that Kevin-Prince Boateng.  I would have him in the Charlton team.  Some of his passing was peachy and he had a shot that was ten yards wide !"

The German midfielder was effective and looked as though he was interested in playing his part, moving and passing well, as most players put in a good shift, with the exception of Chimbonda really.  Where he will fit into the plans for the new season is a little hard to see, as he was sloppy in possession, moved out of position and allowed players to get in behind him.  With all the defenders we have at our disposal (and maybe more to come), he may be plying his trade at another ground come the start of the campaign.

One match down and on to Bournemouth for Friday's friendly, but who would be taking the field this time ?

marco van hip




Reaction : -



Don't forget the match announcer's nightmare pronunciation of Dervitte, which ended up as Deroote and him calling David Bentley Darren Bentley !!







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