FA PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE
Spurs 1-1 Nottingham Forest
Theo Foley maintained his unbeaten record in sole charge of the reserve team after a youthful side registered a 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest at the Lane.
Ian Walker, at 28, was the 'Daddy' of the side which contained two 18-year-olds, four at 19, two aged 21, 'veteran' Dave McEwen at 23 and the remarkably composed 16-year-old centre-half Paul O'Donoghue.
Sadly, McEwen's night did not last long, after two minutes the striker suffered a facial injury after a collision and was in no state to continue. The striker was taken to hospital and his condition was later described as a serious 'facial trauma'.
Steven Ferguson entered the fray to join Yannick Kamanan and the pair proceeded to terrorise the Forest rearguard with a combination of searing pace and no little nous.
The injury was a massive setback for McEwen, who was looking sharp and provided a superb pass for Kamanan to nearly open the scoring in the first minute. The French striker hit the post with his original effort and ball fell kindly for Kamanan to again apply the finishing touch but, much to his disbelief, he struck the post a second time.
On taking over, Ferguson was the next to test Forest keeper Barry Roche who reacted smartly, but he could do nothing to prevent the Scot giving Spurs the lead on 15 minutes.
Ferguson's pace was causing Forest all sorts of problems and he found himself in the clear down the left hand channel and cleverly lifted the ball over Roche before nodding the ball into an empty net.
Spurs were well on top, John Jackson and the excellent John Piercy were dictating play in midfield, Matthew Etherington's forays down the left were causing concern and Kamanan forced Roche into action again with a superb double block .
Forest came into the game to a greater degree as the half wore on, Marlon Harewood and Bernard Allou began to cause problems and Allou struck inches wide from an unmarked central position in the penalty area. Gareth Williams then weaved a path through the Spurs backline, but Walker reacted superbly to save low down to his left.
The east midlanders started the second half brightly and put their hosts on the backfoot. On 51 minutes Allou found himself in space on the left hand side of the penalty area and struck a perfectly placed sidefooted effort high to Walker's left to level the scores.
Spurs found their passing range again around the midway point of the second period and Kamanan, Jackson and Etherington all came close to scoring the decisive goal.
But it was not to be, the injury woes continued with Etherington limping off and Lee Barnard and debut boy Dean Marney were introduced to again lower the average age of the side. The boys, in front of the watching Glenn Hoddle, can be pretty satisfied with their night's work.
Theo Foley could hardly believe that Wednesday night’s reserve game against Nottingham Forest would see another two players added to the injury list.
Dave McEwen and Matthew Etherington were both withdrawn, McEwen with a facial injury and Etherington took a heavy knock on the back of his heel.
The duo were among the more experienced members of Theo’s side.
"The team were very good," said Theo. "And I must also mention Dave McEwen, who suffered what appeared not to be a bad injury, but was, and that unsettled us from the start.
"What he actually did, he was caught with an elbow and his tooth went through his lip. I didn’t think it was that bad, then the physio told me it was and he had to go to hospital.
"The injury list is just getting longer and longer, it’s amazing, you wouldn’t think you’d lose McEwen and Etherington as well, who are first team fringe players. With Steffen Iversen getting injured too on Tuesday, it all adds fuel to the fire, but there we go."
The reserves are now unbeaten in three as the fledgling side containing a number of academy players is beginning to find its feet in a higher level of competition.
"I thought it was very similar to Derby and Leicester, we had four or five great chances early on and how Yannick has missed the early one I do not know, the one that came back off the post," reflected Theo.
"But all credit to them, they’re very young. I thought Forest got a little bit on top with a little bit of strength, which you would expect. But we came back and easily could have won the game.
"It was good, it was a very, very young side. Ian Walker made one terrific save early on, and if they had scored then it might have frightened us a bit. I was delighted with people like John Piercy, he was outstanding, and he possibly could have won us the game.
"I think the last three games we’ve played have been good, but irrespective of what we do it’s only about the development of young players."
By Richard Hubbard at White Hart Lane