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Kids impress as Clem returns

Posted on 12 February 2003  - 12:00

FA Premier Reserve League South

All eyes were on Stephen Clemence and our established Premiership stars but the young guns certainly stood up to be counted in Tuesday night's lively reserve clash against West Ham.

Midfielder Clemence appeared to breeze through 62 minutes on his return to action following a summer Achilles problem.

Poyet was his usual enthusiastic self, always involved, Carr rarely looked in trouble defensively on the right flank and also looked a threat going forward, especially in the first half and Ferdinand, who only played the first half, was a handful.

All in all, as Colin Calderwood explained afterwards, just what you'd expect of senior players.

So it was up to the youngsters to play their part as well and they didn't disappoint. Rob Burch looked assured in goal, Ronnie Henry and Stephen Kelly impressed at the back, Henry in-particular, using the ball well, Lee Barnard buzzed about up front and Dean Marney (pictured) capped an impressive display in an unfamiliar left-back role with the goal.

It was high-tempo stuff, slick passing on a good surface and end-to-end action, especially in an eventful first half.

Barnard stole the show early on with two strikes at goal in a minute and then both sides hit the woodwork in the space of 60 seconds.

Elliott Ward rose well to hit the post from a corner after 13 minutes and at the other end, Poyet's audacious lob from 30 yards came back off the crossbar.

Ferdinand forced a save from Van Der Gouw and Carr went close, Burch denied Rahim only for Mehmet to fluff the follow up and Van Der Gouw tipped a 25-yarder from Rohan Ricketts over the top - all the in space of five minutes.

The home side took the lead with 25 minutes on the clock when the returning Don Hutchison headed down a corner and Iriekpen hooked the loose ball home.

Van Der Gouw saved well again from Ferdinand but the scores were soon level as Carr's cross was volleyed neatly home at the far post by Marney.

The second half served up similar fare although this time the end product was slightly off the mark.

Garcia, Mehmet and Byrne all fizzed shots just off target for the Hammers while Poyet's sidefoot effort skidded inches wide after good work again by Barnard.

Substitute Jamie Slabber's clever curler didn't quite arc back enough to nestle past a beaten Van Der Gouw after 75 minutes but straight up the other end, Rahim's volley stung Burch's fingers.

Slabber was then unfortunately sent off for what was seen as an elbow on Labant by the officials - he later claimed he was just trying to shrug the defender off - but with two minutes left, the chance to clinch the game as Barnard sent George Snee away. He managed to hold off three pursuing defenders but Van Der Gouw was equal to the one-on-one.

Line-ups: West Ham Reserves: Van Der Gouw, Byrne, Labant, Garcia (Ferdinand, 83), Iriekpen, Ward, Hutchison (Britton, 45), Rahim, Sofiane, Mehmet, Courtois (McMahon, 83). Unused subs: Forde, Allen, Khan.

Spurs Reserves: Burch, Carr, Marney, Henry, Kelly, Clemence (Snee, 62), Poyet (Black, 81), Bortolozzo, Ricketts, Ferdinand (Slabber, 45), Barnard. Unused subs: Rutherford, Bowditch.