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Reserves hit for six

Posted on 25 July 2001  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

An experimental reserve side suffered a 6-0 defeat to Arsenal in a behind-closed-doors friendly at London Colney on Tuesday afternoon.

With the majority of the seniors at a training camp in Hampshire, a young side took to the lush fields of the Arsenal training ground in the stiffling afternoon sunshine.

Matthew Etherington and Alton Thelwell were the only Spurs players on duty with any significant experience as the team tinkered with different formations and positions. The main objective of the friendly was to increase fitness levels, but the boys were given a clear view of what they will be up against if they are to enjoy success in the new campaign.

Arsenal led 3-0 at half-time with goals from livewire strikers Joe Kuffour and two from Graham Barratt, completing the rout in the second period with two from Jermaine Brown and a late penalty.

The second string were set out in a 3-5-2 formation, with Maurizio Consorti and Johnnie Jackson occupying the wing-back positions and Etherington playing in an unfamiliar central role with Ciaran Toner and John Piercy. Yannick Kamanan and Stevie Ferguson were the supply-starved front two.

Spurs did establish a foothold in the game following a re-shuffle twenty minutes from time. Jackson was shifted into central midfield with substitute Lee Barnard and Etherington moved to his more familiar left-sided role.

For the first time in the encounter, Spurs placed their hosts firmly on the back foot, giving the management food for thought ahead of Tuesday night's trip to Conference side Woking.

"The positive things about that are to look at how well the Arsenal team worked together, which gives us a fair indication that that's the road on which we have to go," reflected coach Theo Foley. "They worked very hard, looked sharp, passed the ball around very well and generally looked a very useful side.

"Fitness will only come for after about four or five games. Some of these lads have only played two games - Barnet on Saturday and this one here. So, it's a little while to go yet, but it does give you an indication that there's a long way to go. What we've got to do now is work as hard as we possibly can. First to achieve the fitness and second to get the players stronger.

"That's the sort of thing you've got to measure yourself against, but they were very, very good, no doubt about that, all over the pitch."

On players adapting to unfamiliar systems and positions, Theo commented: "That's is hard as well. That's a difficult one, but it is something that players have got to adjust to, make decisions on it and, all in all, as far as I'm concerned, you've got to get the players to fit the system in order to play - and that's going to take a little bit of time."

Team: Kelly (Jalel 80), Bowditch (Henry 50), Thelwell, Hillier, Consorti (Barnard 60), Jackson, Toner (O'Donoghue 70), Piercy, Etherington, Kamanan (Snee70), Ferguson.

By Richard Hubbard at London Colney