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Match Report - Watford Reserves v Tottenham reserves - 03 Apr 2003

FA Premier Reserve League South

Mark Yeates made sure Rob Burch's heroics were rewarded with the only goal of the game in an eventful FA Premier Reserve League clash against title-chasing Watford on Thursday night.

But our victory at Vicarage Road was soured slightly when Anthony Gardner had to go off - probably more as a precaution - with what looked like an ankle injury just before the break and Jonathan Blondel was sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession, the second for what could have only been for intent when attempting a tackle because no contact was made.

Goalkeeper Burch, who impressed recently on loan at Woking in the Conference, produced six top-class saves including four inside the opening 20 minutes as the home side flew out of the traps in the first half.

Lee Barnard made a successful return from a broken hand as Colin Calderwood started with six Under-19s and trialist John Butterfield, who kicked-off as left wing-back in a 3-5-2 system.

The opening exchanges were feisty - Watford skipper Richard Johnson was booked inside a minute - before Burch produced a flying save to tip aside the first effort on goal from Lee Cook after six minutes.

Burch was soon called into action again, bravely diving amongst the boots and getting a decisive touch as he, Danny Foster and Scott Fitzgerald all converged on Johnson's teasing through ball. Fitzgerald then volleyed just over.

The youngster then won another two duals with Fitzgerald in a matter of seconds, first showing great agility to tip a close range effort over and from the corner, palming over the striker's downward header.

As Watford continued to dominate, Johnson wasted a good chance from Gifton Noel-Williams' knock down, snatching at his volley when Fitzgerald was in support.

Our first serious chance fell to Barnard after 28 minutes as the striker headed Mark Yeates' deep corner into the ground but we were soon ahead.

Ben Bowditch did the creative damage on the edge of the box as his perfect pass dissected the home defence and Mark Yeates produced a decisive finish from 15 yards.

Gardner picked up a knock, seemingly to his ankle, in an innocuous challenge just before the break and didn't re-appear for the second half as Colin Calderwood switched from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 and Ricky Dobson came on for his reserve debut.

Burch was back in action on the hour, flicking an inswinging Cook cross that evaded everyone wide before another splendid stop a minute later, this time renewing his battle with Fitzgerald and tipping another header over.

The game became a little niggly again and Blondel was sent off for two yellow cards in the space of a minute on the 70-minute mark.

To the credit of the side, Watford created nothing against 10 men until the final minute when, aptly, Burch made a more routine save from another Fitzgerald effort, this time a skidding half-volley from 18 yards.

Line-ups: Watford: Lee, Herd (Boothe, 45), Smith, Hand (Swonnell, 75), Dooley, Ifil, Saunders (Young, 77), Fitzgerald, Noel-Williams, Johnson, Cook. Subs: Godfrey, Watson.

Spurs: Burch, Hughes, Foster, Bowditch, Thelwell, Gardner (Dobson, 45), Blondel, Yeates (Barnett, 85), Barnard, Ricketts, Butterfield (Malcolm, 65). Subs: Black, Eyre.