Five-star Legends win again
08 September 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
A late free-kick from Darren Anderton banished any lingering doubts over the result as the Spurs Legends defeated the Amy Winehouse Foundation charity team 5-3 at Hitchin Town FC on Sunday (September 6).
A four-goal haul from Paul McVeigh saw the team of ex-White Hart Lane stars cruise into a 4-1 lead, but after the opposition pulled it back to 4-3 it needed Anderton’s thumping set piece to make the game safe.
Former goalkeeper Ray Clemence stepped in to manage the Legends for the day, presiding over a strong side that included his son – former midfielder Stephen Clemence – alongside 1980s team-mates Tony Galvin, John Lacy and Mark Falco, plus the likes of Anderton and Justin Edinburgh.
The Legends found the opposing defence in stubborn form in the opening stages and it took them a while to make the breakthrough.
McVeigh’s eighth-minute drive was deflected wide, centre-half Stuart Nethercott went up for the resulting corner but saw his fierce right-footed shot blocked on the goal-line and McVeigh then forced a save from the goalkeeper after a nice move involving defender David Kerslake and Clemence.
Kerslake’s cross following a short corner was headed wide by Nethercott at the back post just beyond the 20-minute mark as the Legends continued to apply pressure, while Clemence curled just off target from the edge of the box. The ball was in the net on 28 minutes as Anderton diverted Falco’s shot inside the near post, but the ex-England international was flagged off-side and the goal didn’t stand.
McVeigh then went for an audacious bicycle kick from Clemence’s cross, but he couldn’t make a clean connection with the ball and it flew off target.
The deadlock was finally broken on 37 minutes when Clemence (pictured, below) slid across the face of goal from the right and McVeigh side-footed home – and it was almost 2-0 seven minutes later as Edinburgh caught a defender napping and set up Anderton to shoot, but the latter’s effort from 20 yards sailed the wrong side of the post.
Always looking for a goal, McVeigh helped himself to two more in first half stoppage time to complete his hat-trick. First of all he collected Anderton’s long ball over the top and chipped the advancing goalkeeper two minutes into the additional period and, after hitting the crossbar with a similar move, he made it 3-0 three minutes later when Falco controlled Mark Gower’s cross from the right and teed him up to finish from close range.
Stewart Ewens reduced the charity side’s arrears 11 minutes into the second half when he capitalised on a mix-up between Nethercott and goalkeeper Gareth Howells to roll the ball into an empty net but, after McVeigh was denied by the opposing stopper in a one-on-one situation, the ex-Northern Ireland international restored the three-goal cushion on the hour mark when he tucked home at the back post following Gower’s cross.
Back came the charity side, though, as Gem Samuel finished from six yards after an attack down the right in the 63rd minute before Rick McCullagh drove the ball into the bottom corner of the net nine minutes later to reduce the Legends’ lead to a solitary goal.
Anderton saw a fierce shot blocked on the line as he tried to build the advantage back up, while some frantic defending from Brian Statham and Andy Edmonds – who hacked the ball away from under the bar – after an initial save from keeper Howells ensured a goalmouth scramble at the other end passed without further score.
The game was finally ended as a contest with four minutes to go, however, as Anderton powered a free-kick around the wall and high into the net from 20 yards out to complete a 5-3 victory for his side.
Spurs Legends: Gareth Howells, John Lacy, Tony Galvin, Kevin Watson, Stuart Nethercott, Justin Edinburgh, Mark Gower, Stephen Clemence, Paul McVeigh, Darren Anderton, Mark Falco. Substitutes and guest players: Brian Statham, David Kerslake, Ralf Little, Andy Edmonds, Micky Southam, Micky Jarrett, Dan Richardson, Aaron Chinery, Trevor Wilkinson. Manager: Ray Clemence.