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Youngsters' Suffolk punch

Posted on 12 December 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).

Two picturebook goals won the spoils for Ipswich but the plaudits went to our young guns after Wednesday night's reserve encounter at Portman Road.

Town kicked-off with nine players of varying Premiership experience including Fabian Wilnis and Gary Croft in defence, Jim Magilton and the exciting Martin Reuser in midfield and Pablo Counago up front.

Kasey Keller and Oyvind Leonhardsen provided the experience in our side which included three of the back four that had played in our fine FA Youth Cup win at Walsall last week.

That trio - Stephen Kelly, Ronnie Henry and Chris Herron, all 18 or under - were outstanding alongside Alton Thelwell as the home side dominated possession and pushed forward in the first half.

They were only breached by Town's fine football on two occasions and when Keller, back after ankle surgery, was beaten, the goals came right out of the top drawer.

Reuser, also back from injury, put down an early marker that he was in the mood with a 20-yard free-kick destined for the top corner until Keller's left hand somehow clawed it out. Counago lobbed back the rebound and Darren Bent managed to head wide from five yards.

Dutch star Reuser then unleashed a shot from nowhere that flashed just wide and the only hesitancy of the night between Henry and Thelwell handed Bent a half-chance that Keller saved comfortably.

Yannick Kamanan shot across goal after John Piercy's delightful chipped pass carved out our only opening of the first half and back at the other end, Darren Ambrose drove over from the angle and Bent flicked another header wide.

The impressive Tommy Miller, a freescoring midfielder yet to make his mark in the top flight after a move from Hartlepool, then brought the best out of Keller. He played a one-two with Bent that the American keeper saved low to his right, Keller was back on his feet to save Counago's rebound and then amazingly deflected a third attempt from Bent wide with his feet.

You sensed a goal was inevitable and it finally came after 35 minutes. It was a goal out of nothing - Miller picked the ball up 30 yards out, saw nothing on so let rip and found the bottom corner.

Ambrose had another pot shot before the second goal arrived on 42 minutes. This time the ball was played high into Counago who seemed to foul Thelwell but with the defender floored, Reuser picked up the loose ball and curled a cracker into the top corner from 25 yards.

If there were bright spots despite that somewhat one-sided half then the second half was even brighter as we got to grips with the home side and put together spells of possession of our own.

One of those led to Kamanan finding Steve Ferguson in space in the box only for the striker to snatch his shot wide.

Counago forced Keller into another flying save on the hour but with the youngsters growing in confidence, Ipswich found it harder to create chances.

Indeed, Ciaran Toner had the next two efforts of any note, firstly forcing Andy Marshall into action with a 30-yard free-kick and then shooting inches wide from similar distance.

Bent ended with a couple of wild efforts and that summed up what had been a frustrating second period for Town.

Colin Calderwood emerged from the dressing room with a smile on his face - the youngsters had done him proud.

Ipswich Town Reserves: Marshall, Wilnis, Croft, T Miller, J Miller, Gaardsoe, Ambrose, Magilton (Bloomfield, 45), Bent, Counago (Burton, 72), Reuser (Nicholls, 78). Unused: Salmon, Artun, Bonwick, Westlake.

Spurs Reserves: Keller, S Kelly, Herron, Henry, Thelwell, Toner, Consorti, Leonhardsen (Galbraith, 83), Ferguson (Sutton, 60), Piercy (Bowditch, 78), Kamanan. Unused: G Kelly, O'Donoghue.