Clemence wonder goal not enough for Legends
30 April 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
Stephen Clemence netted a goal of the season contender for the Spurs Legends team on Sunday – but it wasn’t enough for the ex-White Hart Lane favourites to get a positive result as they slipped to a 3-2 reverse against a Herts XI at St Albans City FC.
The Legends twice took the lead against a hard-working and mobile side, but a 90th minute goal consigned them to defeat.
Both sides had chances in the opening minutes, goalkeeper Gareth Howells being forced into a low save to his left while Darren Anderton tested the home custodian after a neat give-and-go with Clemence.
Mark Falco’s close-range shot was then deflected wide, while the Herts XI had the ball in the net two minutes later – only to be denied by an off-side flag.
The Legends took the lead on 13 minutes when David Howells ventured forward down the right before passing infield to Steve Slade, who squeezed the ball past the goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net.
The lead lasted less than two minutes, however, as Mark Blackburne beat the off-side trap to slot beyond keeper Howells, who was required to make a double save soon afterwards to prevent the Herts XI from turning the match on its head.
David Howells then let fly from 25 yards, forcing the opposing goalkeeper to push the ball over his own bar – but even that spectacular effort was eclipsed by a moment of magic from Clemence in the 21st minute.
The midfielder tricked his way to the right-hand edge of the penalty area, turned his marker inside-out with no less than eight stepovers in quick succession before curling a perfectly placed left-footed shot beyond the fingertips of the diving goalkeeper and inside the far post to the delight of the large crowd in attendance.
The Legends carried their slender advantage into the break but it took the hosts just three minutes of the second half to haul themselves back on level terms, Blackburne again on target as he swept in a right wing cross from close range.
Slade ballooned an effort over the bar as the Legends sought to take the lead for a third time, while the hosts again had an effort ruled out for off-side after keeper Howells had saved an initial close-range shot.
Slade cut in from the left but could only find the side netting, while Clemence might have won it for Spurs if his bullet header from Mark Stimson’s cross hadn’t rattled the crossbar with five minutes remaining.
The game appeared to be destined to end in a draw – with Chris Perry in fine form at the heart of the Legends’ defence – until Blackburne popped up in the 90th minute to complete his hat-trick, bundling the ball low into the far corner of the net to seal the win for his side.
Spurs Legends: Gareth Howells, John Lacy, Mark Stimson, Paul Miller, Chris Perry, Garry Brooke, David Howells, Stephen Clemence, Steve Slade, Darren Anderton, Mark Falco. Subs: Andy Edmonds, Micky Jarrett, Micky Southam, Warren Gravette, Trevor Wilkinson.
Another Spurs Legends fixture takes place at Cranfield United FC in Bedfordshire this Sunday (May 4), kick-off 3pm.
Garry Brooke, Stuart Nethercott and Andy Sinton are among those pencilled in for the match.
The full address of the venue is: Cranfield United FC, Crawley Road, Cranfield, Bedfordshire, MK43 0AA.