Southend United  0 (0)     
Friday 10th August 2012                              
Venue :  Roots Hall
Tottenham Hotspur  2 (6)

Kick off  19:45
None Coulibaly  16
Kane  37
Kane  66
Townsend  67
Kane  74
Obika  82




Crowd :   2,737 Weather :  Warm, dry
Referee :  Mr. F. Graham (-) Assistant Referees :  -
Fourth Official :  - -
Southend United kicked off and played towards the North Stand end in the first half.
Southend United : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Bentley

  3  Straker
  6  Prosser
  5  Leonard (14  Hurst 64)
  2  Clohessey

  7  Hall (15  Martin 64)
  8  Ferdinand
  4  Phillips
11  Spicer

10  Eastwood
  9  Harris (18  Benyon 52)

Unused subs: 
-  Barker
-  Chambers
-  Brogan
-  Donnelly

    1  Ryan (12  Priestley 82)

  2  N. Smith
  5  Ekong (15  Stewart 70)
  4  Hall
  3  Rose

  7  Falque (16  Gomelt 74)
  6  Carroll (14  Pritchard 70)
  8  Mason (c)
11  Townsend

  9  Coulibaly (15  Obika 81)

Unused subs: 
  -  -


Manager :  Paul Sturrock Manager :   Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor :   Insureandgo Shirt sponsor :  Aurasma
Kit Supplier :   Nike Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

What should have been a test for Tottenham's young guns turned out to be a shooting practice match, with Southend on the end of both barrels ... even from their manager, as he kept them in the dressing room for half an hour after the end of the game.  A 6-0 victory was nothing more than the fluid passing and movement of the youngsters deserved and puts big questions marks over the Shrimpers, just a week ahead of their season kick off.

I suppose you could say that Spurs had a strong team out, with Danny Rose coming back from Team GB service and Andros Townsend, Harry Kane, Neil Smith and Ryan Mason all played, having had experience higher than League Two.  But it was the passing and exchanging of positions which really caught the eye.  If this is the football that the first team are going to play, then it might be an exciting season.  But then, unlike this friendly, it won't be what the fans were singing for ... it won't be Southend every week.

From the start, a wayward clearance by Southend's keeper Bentley that went over the stand, signalled a lack of accuracy and application that typified their performance.  Sloppy passing was fairly easily picked off and then Spurs were reluctant to give the ball away. 

Adam Smith was involved early on, bombing outside on the right, then tackling back to win the ball and after ten minutes, it was he who had the first effort on goal, with a rising shot going a couple of feet over the angle from outside the box.  Spurs didn't have to wait much longer for their first goal.  17 minutes in and Andros Townsend did well to get to the bye-line on the left, pulling a low ball back to the near post.  Waiting there was Souleymane Coulibaly, who turned on the ball so quickly and smashed his shot across the keeper and high into the net, it was done in a blink of an eye.  A true finisher's goal and one that was celebrated by his trademark back somersault as Spurs went one up against the League side.

A minute later, it was almost two when Harry Kane and Yago Falque played a neat one two and Kane flashed a low shot from the right, that just missed to the left of the goal.  Another close shave for United came in the 22nd minute, with a free-kick given just to the right of centre and Townsend thumped the ball towards the top right corner from 10 yards out and Bentley did well to parry the ball up, but it hit him on the way down and Spurs had a corner.  From it, the ball dropped in the six yard box and William Ekong spun to shoot at goal, but his effort found the arms of Bentley.  Three minutes later and Kane was again testing the keeper, making him go full length o his right to keep out a low shot.

Spurs were moving the ball quickly and hardly giving Southend a chance to settle on the ball.  A lot revolved around Tom Carroll, who carried and moved the ball on, while captain Ryan Mason played a little deeper, playing longer through passes to the front two of Coulibaly and Kane.  It took the home team 30 minutes to get an effort on goal, with Luke Prosser rose to head a far post corner at goal and triallist keeper Mathew Ryan palmed the ball out as it was heading into the top corner.  Former Spurs youth trainee Prosser was also in the action at the other end, as Townsend turned the right back inside out, cut inside and unleashed a powerful drive the the Southend defender got his head in the way of and almost lost it !!

Spurs were using the full width of the pitch and wide-men Townsend and Falque were quite happy interchanging wings.  Also, Rose and Smith enjoyed the freedom to overlap the wingers to give more attacking options.  The movement of the players was frustrating the Southend team and Ryan Hall seemed intent on stopping that with a  series of fouls, for which he was spoken to by the referee.  It was a full half hour before I even realised that Southend winder-kid Kane Ferdinand was playing.  Looking like a young Jermaine Jenas, he was "Spurs and you know you are" according to a Tottenham follower behind me, but he has a way to got o match our young players, let alone forge a place in the first team on this evidence.

With Freddie Eastwood returning to Southend to partner Neil "Bomber" Harris up front, you thought it might have been a test for the Spurs central pairing of triallist Grant Hall and Ekong, but they got their tackles in well, didn't dive in and generally won most things in the air.  To keep a wily duo like this quiet was a job well done.

Ryan was called upon to make an easy save after 35 minutes, when Ryan Hall turned a couple of Spurs player son the edge of the box to make some space, but then could only fire a weak low shot at goal.  With eight minutes to half time, Coulibaly picked up the ball on the left and ran across the face of the penalty area to feed Falque, who played in Neil Smith on the right wing.  Getting to the dead ball line, he pulled the ball back low across the face of goal and Tom Carroll scuffed his shot, but it went to Harry Kane, who poked it past the goalie to double Tottenham's lead.  It was a poacher's goal and one of the sort that Tottenham do not score enough of.

Just before the break Southend had their best chance, with Harris flicking on a corner and Ryan Leonard coming in at the far post could only direct his free header over the bar.  Ferdinand looked distraught when he burst through right at the end of the half, only to be stopped for a whistle, but it wasn't for an offence, the ref was just blowing for half time.

Neither team made any changes at the break but the game went Tottenham's way, with the Southend side unable to live with the passing, which got sharper and more purposeful.  Five minutes into the half, Spurs created a great chance which went begging.  Townsend broke down the left wing and played a low ball right across the face of goal about two yards out.  Coulibaly and Kane slid in but could not make a connection, while Falque came in at the far post and his effort was going for goal, but hit the prostrate Kane.  To add to his disappointment, Yago slid onto the cinder running track and grazed his backside.

Ryan had to close Southend's Hall down and save his shot with his legs and Freddie Eastwood tried to catch the keeper out from near the halfway line, but  the shot carried little threat and the Spurs goalie saved easily.  Meanwhile Spurs continued to stack up then openings and Kane pulled the ball back form the left hand side of the area to Tom Carroll, who bent a shot inches wide of the right upright.  Then the floodgates opened.

66 minutes and Tom Carroll disguises a pass through the middle of the Southend defence, allowing Harry Kane to run onto it and dink it over Bentley as he came out.  Looking suspiciously offside, the flag stayed down and the Blues defence remonstrated with the officials, but to no avail.

From the restart, Carroll won the ball, gave it to Falque, who ran from right to left across the middle of the Southend half, before letting fly with a shot.  The ball hit a defender, but fell to Andros Townsend, who crashed a shot in that flicked off Clohessey taking the opposite way to the goalkeeper's dive.  A minute after the third and it was now 4-0.

The substitutions started to be made now, with the game all but won, but this did not disrupt the pattern of Tottenham's play.  Tomislav Gomelt was on for Falque and Alex Pritchard and Kevin Stewart for Ekong and Carroll.  Still the ball was passed with speed and accuracy.

Adam Smith went on a 50 yard run straight down the middle of the pitch before forcing a save from Bentley, then 16 minutes from the end, Townsend got the ball and passing it on to Kane, in the penalty area to the right of the goal, the England Under-19 striker slipped the ball between the keeper and post to score his hat-trick goal and to give Spurs a 5-0 lead.  At this stage it was getting embarrassing for the Southend team and a couple of heavy tackles went in on Ryan Mason, which prompted Adam Smith to tackle strongly on the Southend sub, but only in winning the ball.

Once more, when Townsend got away on the left, he crossed to the far post where Kane headed the ball back towards goal and substitute Jon Obika beat his marker and the keeper to the ball and headed in for the sixth goal in the 82nd minute. 

Spurs brought on first year apprentice Liam Priestly got on for the last five minutes, although he had little to do, but it was good experience for him.  Tottenham managed to keep the ball up the other end for most of the remaining time and Obika smashed in a shot that the keeper saved, but I don't think he knew much about how he had done it, then Pritchard and Townsend both had efforts saved by Bentley, who was probably the best Southend player on the night, as he had most to do [not Kane Ferdinand who was the official man of the match].

Tom Sherwood and Chris Ramsey seem to be doing a fine job with this group of players and those who did not feature tonight (John Bostock, Jordan Archer, Jonathan Miles, Dean Parrett, Milos Veljkovic, Jack Barthram, Cristian Ceballos, Giancarlo Gallifuoco, Nathan Byrne, Jack Munns, Cameron Lancaster, Jake Nicholson and not forgetting out on loan Ryan Fredericks and Massimo Luongo).  If even a third of these players make it to the first team (and I think that might be the  plan), then they will be coached in the way to play and will save the club a lot of money.

I was impressed with Carroll's and Mason's work in midfield, with the wide men providing an attacking option on both sides, as well as switching play themselves.  As Rose and Smith both added their services to the attack, there was double trouble on each flank.  The central defenders looked a good partnership and Ekong and Hall might be the  Dawson and King of the future.

At the sharp end of the team, Harry Kane never looks the most elegant of strikers, but he does get goals and that is what he will be judged by.  All three finishes were different even though none were from more than ten yards out, but that is the mark of a good goal-scorer.  In contrast, Souleymane Coulibaly is a player with a low centre of gravity, who has an innate instinct for finding the goal.  His strike took the keeper and most of the people in Roots Hall by surprise.  And the crowd will love him for his somersault, although doing it when he gets substituted might be a bit too much !!

Finally, the club have been blessed with a number of good goalkeepers over the last few years.   Mathew Ryan looks like one of them, as his handling is superb and he wasn't phased by facing up to two experienced forwards, who tried to get at him at corners.  Quick to throw the ball out and quick off his line, Tottenham should snap up this Aussie, whose decision making was sound.  Priestly also looked good in the warm-up with Perry Suckling and being that much younger, has time to fill out, as he looks quite boyish.

A good night's work for Spurs and a long night for Paul Sturrock and his men, who have just a week to work out how to stop that happening to them again.

Marco van Hip



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