Colchester United  0 (0)     
19th July 2013                             
Venue :  Weston Homes Community Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)

Kick off  19:00
None None




Crowd :   9,988 Weather :  Warm, Sunny
Referee :  Mr. M. Russell (-) Assistant Referees :  Mr. M. George; Mr.N. Kinseley
Fourth Official :  Mr. A. Waters -
Colchester United kicked off and played towards the North Stand end in the first half.
Colchester United : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
44  Sam WALKER  (  1  Mark COUSINS 70)

  2  David WRIGHT
25  Daniel PAPPOE (  4  Magnus OKUONGHAE 70)
18  Tom EASTMAN (  5  Josh THOMPSON 70)
23  Tosin OLUFEMI (26  Mason SPENCE 70)

-  Ryan DICKSON (35  Michael O’DONOGUE 70)
22  Alex GILBEY
30  Drey WRIGHT (15  Marcus BEAN 84)
  7  Sanchez WATT (21  Gavin MASSEY 70)

17  Jabo IBEHRE
11  Freddie SEARS (  -  Sam SZMODICS 70)

Unused subs: 
14  Andy BOND
10  Kemi IZZET
  9  Clinton MORRISON

  24  Brad FRIEDEL (25  Hugo LLORIS 46)

28  Kyle WALKER  (16  Kyle NAUGHTON 46)
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN  (33  Steven CAULKER 46)
20  Michael DAWSON  (62  Zeki FRYERS 60)
  3  Danny ROSE  (32  Benoit ASSOU-EKOTTO 46)

46  Tom CARROLL  (42  Nabil BENTALEB 60)
  6  Tom HUDDLESTONE  (52  Laste DOMBAXE 60)

31  Andros TOWNSEND  (41  Shaquile COULTHIRST 60)
22  Gylfi SIGURDSSON  (  8  Scott PARKER 46)
27  Yago FALQUE  (18  Jermain DEFOE 46)

10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR  (37  Harry KANE 46)

Unused subs: 

Manager :  Joe Dunne Manager :   Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor :   Weston Homes plc Shirt sponsor :  Hewlett Packard
Kit Supplier :  Puma Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

Lower league fans … don't you just love them ?

It must be thrilling for them to have the opportunity to boo well known Premier League players, marvel about which ones they would be happy to take on loan and then get over-excited when their first choice XI goes toe to toe with a mix and match Tottenham team, who were happy to have the feel of the ball at their feet rather than going for the jugular.
The club had also provided an Italian style atmosphere with smoke from a flare drifting across the ground, which was bathed in early evening sunshine. Oh, no. I'm mistaken ... it was just the product of a barbecue from just outside the ground.

It was difficult to determine which team was which, as both were donning their new away kits, with Tottenham's bright 'Capri' blue strip looking very good. Perhaps better than the team as they played out a goal-less draw with the League One club.

It was clear that Tottenham were approaching this game as a staging post for their preparation running up to the first day of the Premier League a month away. Colchester were perhaps more keen to do well after a poor season last time out and the fact that their season starts in two weeks time.

An almost full ground contained a good number of Spurs fans spread throughout the stadium, with the Colchester United fans making a bit of noise, seemingly with their chants sponsored by a telephone company … “Col U” !! They almost had something to cheer about in the first minute when a corner came in to the far post, was headed back where it came from and it dropped to former Gooner Sanchez Watt, who fired a ten yard shot against the post. Tottenham had been enjoying a lot of time on the ball and the use of Michael Dawson's diagonal ball over the U's right back's head to Danny Rose was annoying the home fan next to me. Although, when Friedel launched a long kick up field, he then said “Long ball down the middle as usual” !!

Rose was finding space on the left from left back, over-lapping and linking up with Yago Falque. On the other flank, Andros Townsend was also enjoying running at the Colchester left back – Dickson. He ran inside him into the box, stopped and then went again, firing a left foot shot towards the top corner that Chelsea loan keeper Sam Walker beat away for a corner. Andros then pulled another save out of the goalie, forcing him to dive low to his left to push the ball wide before David Wright went close with a shot that curled over the bar from the edge of the area.

Kyle Walker was linking well with Townsend on the right and his runs took him into good crossing positions, nearly setting up chances for Adebayor and Rose. Spurs had a great chance when one ball in cleared everyone and found Falque at the far post. The Spaniard flicked the ball up and hit a dipping volley that looked destined to go in under the bar until Sam Walker pushed it over the bar.

Tom Huddlestone and Tom Carroll were the two who were making themselves available to receive the ball and Carroll drifted left, while Tom held the middle position. Both were guilty of giving the ball away cheaply on occasion, with West Ham reject Freddie Sears taking advantage of one turnover in possession and ran straight at the Tottenham goal from the centre circle, but he lacked composure when in shooting range and the ball flew to the left of Friedel's goal without troubling the keeper. Tom did have a shot from outside of the box, but it was straight at Walker, who held it well.

The first half had seen Ade play up front more or less on his own, with the midfield supporting, especially in wide positions. The defence was rare troubled, with Jabo Ibehre (a extremely slightly slimmer version of Northampton's Adebayo Akinfenwa … look up the photos) was trying to throw his considerable weight around without a lot of success and Sears was too lightweight. Sanchez Watt seemed to get the home fans charged up when he got on the ball, with them thinking he was the best thing since Colchester got electricity, but his effectiveness was less than one might expect.

Few Colchester players stood out, apart from Magnus Okuonghae, who looked like a bloke pulled out of a pub to play. He was effective in that it took a long way to get around him, but his tactic against Harry Kane and Jermaine Defoe was to hang onto their shirt for grim death. There were a couple of iffy moments in the game. One when Dawson won a clearance, but went in with his studs up into the Spurs skipper's foot, another when took Parker out with a nasty tackle and Andros Townsend was frustrated by a foul on him which wasn't given, so he took his own action with a foul on Drey Wright and then with what appeared to be a tackle that made contact with the ball, but looked like a vicious swing of the boot.  Unfortunately, the referee, who looked as if he might have been pulled out of a local park game, such was his inability to keep up with play, let a lot go that wound players up.

At half-time, Spurs started with seven new faces and Colchester fielded the same eleven. And with that, Tottenham took a bit more of the initiative to push forward. With Defoe looking more lively up front than Adebayor, who had drawn boos every time he touched the ball and laughs every time he missed a chance, Spurs created more problems for the United defence and goalkeeper.

Attacking the end with the most Spurs fans in it, Townsend's dipping effort just flew over the bar, Defoe turned his man on the edge of the box to fire wide and Harry Kane was put through by Tom Carroll but was foiled by Walker in goal, as he tried to slip the ball past him. The loose ball could not be turned in by Defoe, who shot over from ten yards out.
Colchester fashioned a couple of opportunities, with Ibehre shooting at goal on the turn, but Dawson threw himself in the way to give the U's a corner, then Sears got a shot in which took a deflection, causing Hugo Lloris to dive to his right to push the ball aside.

With both sides making a number more substitutions with about 20 minutes to go, the game almost fizzled out, but replacement Colchester keeper Mark Cousins produced an inspired display to keep Spurs out. Prior to his arrival on the pitch, his ability was being questioned (along with his parentage) by the bloke on the other side of me. When he was given the Man of the Match award, the U's fan was almost apoplectic !! He did manage to kick one clearance against Defoe's back and as relieved to see it drop over the bar, but he made some good saves. Kane was set up by Parker, forcing the keeper to a good block and then he got a bit of luck when Defoe's effort from the rebound was bumped into the ground up onto the post and the keeper was grateful for it to bounce back into his arms.

Colchester made their last throw of the dice, bringing on Mr. Bean, who failed to make much impact nor make us laugh and Kyle Naughton had a shot when it opened up in front of him on the edge of the area, but Cousins was behind it easily.

Spurs had the last chance of the game, when they worked the ball to Defoe on the left. Cutting inside his man, he let go a shot that the keeper did well to stop with his feet and the ball dropped to Shaquile Coulthirst in front of goal, but the substitute couldn't get a good contact on it and the keeper saved it although the offside flag was raised.
At the end of the game, the home fans were more than pleased that they hadn't been beaten, without fully comprehending that Tottenham were at less than full strength and playing at less than 100% intensity. The fact that the Man of the Match was their goalkeeper (and would have been the original keeper had the sub keeper not got it), indicates that Spurs had been on top. The youngsters who came on looked good, with Nabil Bentaleb and Zeki Fryers impressing.

Flying out to Hong Kong, the challenges there are a step up from League One level and the progressive increase in quality and performance of the Spurs team will, we hope,  build to peak on August 18th.

Marco van Hip


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