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Tough return for Baardsen as Legends slip up

Posted on 11 August 2015  - 07:15

Espen Baardsen made a rare appearance in goal for the Spurs Legends on Sunday, but was powerless to prevent his side from suffering defeat against a young and agile Total Football XI in the shadow of White Hart Lane.

Espen Baardsen in action for the Spurs Legends team on Sunday (pics: Martin Taylor)Justin Edinburgh battles for possessionStuart Nethercott wins a header

The former Norway international, playing for the ex-White Hart Lane outfit for the first time in four years, was one of the star names involved as the lads turned out to mark the grand re-opening of New River Sport and Fitness in Tottenham – just down the road from the Club’s world-famous stadium.

But the veteran side suffered up against the pace of their opponents in the North London sunshine as they were repeatedly picked off on the counter – the Total Football XI building on a 2-0 half-time lead to run out eventual 7-1 winners.

Justin Edinburgh once again partnered Stuart Nethercott at centre-back for the Legends, with Tony Galvin returning at left-back. The absence of top scorer Paul McVeigh up top would prove costly, however, with Jeff Hammond setting Total Football on the way to victory by netting a seventh-minute opener after an initial save by Baardsen.

Edinburgh’s quickly-taken free-kick allowed Mark Gower to find Trevor Wilkinson in space in the box two minutes later, but the forward’s tame effort didn’t cause any real problems for the opposing goalkeeper.

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Pictured above: Tony Galvin on the ball.

Gower himself then went close on a couple of occasions with Baardsen keeping out a well-struck set piece at the other end, before the hosts doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time through Fabian Montana with the Legends appealing for off-side.

Baardsen made another diving save just after the break, before Gower halved the deficit with a magnificent 30-yard free-kick that sailed into the top corner on 55 minutes.

That was as good as it got, though, as the fast-moving forwards of Total Football frustrated their older opponents with a series of counter-attack goals and shots from outside the box – Steve Guaje, Hammond, George Tamne, Montana and Domenico Petrucci all hitting the target to extend their side’s lead as the second half progressed.

The final whistle yielded the Legends’ first defeat of the season, but they have a chance to make a quick return to winning ways when they travel to Bishop’s Stortford FC to take on a Celebrity XI on Sunday, August 23. Kick-off will be at 2pm.

Spurs Legends: Espen Baardsen, David Kerslake, Tony Galvin, Kevin Watson, Stuart Nethercott, Justin Edinburgh, Brian Statham, Andy Edmonds, Trevor Wilkinson, Micky Jarrett, Mark Gower. Substitute: Micky Southam.