FA PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE
Spurs 1-0 Arsenal
That man Foley has done it again!
Since taking sole charge of the reserve side, Theo's young charges have now won four and drawn one - the latest on the hit-list being the neighbours.
Arsenal arrived with a team containing Alex Manninger, Matthew Upson, Alberto Mendez and Latvian international Tomas Danilevicius, and it quickly became evident that their line-up enjoyed clear physical advantages. With the obvious exception of the gifted and diminutive Jermaine Pennant, many of the Arsenal team were pushing 6ft or over.
Theo's preparations were hampered by four of his starting X1 - Maurizio Consorti, Neil Lacy, Johnnie Jackson and Yannick Kamanan - playing an Academy under-19 game in Bristol on Tuesday which involved an eight hour round trip. His selection was also limited by not involving any of the under-17 pool who are preparing for the crunch Academy League play-off quarter-final against West Ham on Saturday.
After the early exchanges, neither team really established a foothold in the game. Steven Ferguson and Kamanan looked lively in attack, while Dave McEwen and Matthew Etherington were providing the forward impetus from the flanks. John Piercy and Jackson continued their blossoming partnership in central midfield and Ciaran Toner was, once again, deputising in central defence alongside the excellent Ian Hillier.
It was Spurs who made the, what turned out to be, decisive breakthrough on the ten minute mark. Etherington picked up the ball at the midway point of the Arsenal half on the left, he took aim and swung a deep cross over towards the six-yard box where McEwen was stationed and the former Dulwich Hamlet man planted a downward header low inside Manninger's right-hand post.
Arsenal carried the greater threat in the second period, and Ian Walker had to be alert on several occasions. The team, as a whole, dug deep and showed the character to keep waves of Arsenal attacks at bay.
On 70 minutes Spurs were dealt what could have been a severe blow, skipper Hillier, the foundation on which reserve sides have been built in recent weeks, tweaked a hamstring and was forced to depart the action. The boys responded well, the all-action Piercy used a combination of skill and brute force to carve an opening, breaking clear and Manninger saved bravely at the midfielder's feet, while Ferguson failed to connect with Kamanan's low driven cross.
Several of the boys were labouring as the match drew to a close, and the team showed great resolve to hold out, take the points and deny their more experienced opponents.
By Richard Hubbard at White Hart Lane