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Falco, Sinton on target as Legends win again

Mark Falco’s first half strike, coupled with a penalty from Andy Sinton, ensured the Spurs Legends team emerged with a 2-1 victory against a hard-working West Essex FC at Highams Park near Chingford on Sunday (April 14).

The ex-White Hart Lane favourites made it four wins on the bounce, but they were made to work hard against a fast-paced and well-organised home side, who remained on level terms for most of the first half.

Spurs clearly struggled to get to grips with the swamp-like playing surface in the opening stages, with the central defensive duo of Stuart Nethercott and John Lacy both losing their footing in comical fashion within the first five minutes!

A similar slip by Terry Gibson allowed the hosts to launch a fast-paced attack, but Spurs goalkeeper Gareth Howells read the danger expertly and was quick off his line to gather the ball at the feet of the onrushing attacker just inside the 18-yard box.

Howells made a fine diving save soon afterwards to keep the hosts at bay, while at the other end, Ruel Fox latched onto a clever ball over the top from Garry Brooke, only to be dispossessed by a defender, with the home side being forced to concede a corner. The resulting flag kick was put behind again, but from the second corner, Fox caused all sorts of problems for the goalkeeper, forcing him to push the ball onto the bar close to his near post.

Sinton almost conjured a goal out of nothing when he suddenly turned and let fly from 25 yards, only to see the ball cannon back off the bar, while Justin Edinburgh later pulled a shot wide after finishing a clever three-man move that involved Sinton and Fox.

Spurs were starting to see more of the possession as the first half wore on, and after Falco and Sinton went close with separate efforts, Falco was denied by an excellent covering tackle inside the box after Paul Miller’s free-kick was knocked down into his path by Edinburgh.

Spurs broke the deadlock on 37 minutes when, after good work down the left from Fox, Edinburgh’s cross from the byline found Falco, who kept calm under pressure and beat two defenders before finding the bottom corner of the net.

The hosts were by no means out of the game, though, and only the selfless defending of Nethercott, who hurled his body in front of a goalbound shot, ensured Spurs’ lead remained intact going into the half-time break.

The home side started the second half brightly, hitting the post on 55 minutes, and after going close on a couple more occasions, they levelled the scores mid-way through the second period after an attack down the right.

Spurs recovered from the setback, and were grateful for the chance to re-take the lead on 75 minutes. The referee awarded a penalty for handball, and Sinton’s spot kick crept into the bottom corner under the goalkeeper, restoring the Legends’ slender advantage.

Spurs worked hard to retain possession during the closing stages, while Falco almost put the result beyond doubt four minutes from time when his left-footed shot from outside the box beat the keeper, only to hit the post.

Spurs Legends: Gareth Howells, Paul Miller, Tony Galvin, John Lacy, Stuart Nethercott, Garry Brooke, Justin Edinburgh, Terry Gibson, Ruel Fox, Andy Sinton, Mark Falco. Subs: Andy Edmonds, Micky Jarrett, Micky Southam, Trevor Wilkinson.

With thanks to Billy Shaw