Match Report - Watford v Tottenham Hotspur - 03 Aug 2002
Spurs snatched a 1-0 win in the latest game of a busy pre-season against Watford as former Hornet Tim Sherwood stole the show in the Nigel Gibbs testimonial.
The matched marked the return to action of Teddy Sheringham, Christian Ziege and Sherwood as second half substitutes but, despite their best efforts, a stubborn Watford rearguard resisted until the closing stages.
With Spurs sending a team to play Feyenoord in Rotterdam in Sunday, resourses were always likely to be spread evenly across the two days. Darren Anderton, Simon Davies, Goran Bunjevcevic, Dean Richards, Kasey Keller, Anthony Gardner, Steffen Iversen and Chris Perry were not called upon, while Les Ferdinand, Gus Poyet, Stephen Clemence are injured and Milenko Acimovic a doubt
Jamie Redknapp was handed the captain's armband for the afternoon and he lined up in the centre of a midfield flanked by fellow new boy Rohan Ricketts and trialist Diego Bortolozzo.
Neil Sullivan took over goalkeeping duties from Lars Hirschfeld, who kept a clean sheet at Crystal Palace in midweek. Sully was protected by a back three of Ronnie Henry, Gary Doherty and Ben Thatcher. Oyvind Leonhardsen and Matthew Etherington started at right and left wing-back respectively.
Sergei Rebrov and Qu Bo were given the chance to impress in attack.
Little emerged in the way of chances in the opening ten minutes, a Redknapp potshot and a Bortolozzo effort after good work from Ricketts and Rebrov was the sum total of goalmouth action.
A darting run by Qu Bo down the right caused panic in the Watford rearguard. He darted into the danger area before pulling the ball back in the direction of Rebrov, who unfortunately scuffed his shot.
In the next passage of play Watford won a free-kick on the edge of the Spurs area and Dominic Foley flashed his effort narrowly wide.
A Ricketts foul on Micah Hyde minutes later gave Watford another shooting opportunity, but Marcus Gayle was not as close as Foley with his set piece attempt.
Etherington created space for himself on the half hour mark and unleashed a shot that took a wicked deflection, but spun behind the goal rather than in it. Bortolozzo was unlucky not to find a team-mate with his cross a minute later after being played in by a clever pass from Ricketts.
Johnnie Jackson came on with ten minutes remaining in the half to replace Thatcher and, although not directly linked, Spurs then had their best chance of the half.
Qu Bo, now playing more to the left, got to the byeline and fed the ball back to Bortolozzo who, in turn, played across to Redknapp. The skipper for the day did not take a touch and took aim and fired in a shot that just passed Alec Chamberlain's right hand upright.
Watford started the second half brightly, but without troubling Sullivan. On 53 minutes some Etherington trickery down the right created the space for him to whip in an inviting cross - unfortunately, both Qu Bo and Bortolozzo attempted to accept the invitation.
Hyde then fired in an effort from the edge of the area but the ball drifted wide. Then, on the hour, Etherington was dispossessed by Hyde who proceeded to dance around Doherty but he created too much of an angle and was denied by the legs of Sullivan.
Straight after that scare Glenn sent on Sheringham and Ziege for Ricketts and Bortolozzo and the World Cup pair began their pre-season campaign.
A cross from the left by Jamie Hand cleared the heads in the penalty area and ran out to Lloyd Doley on the right who blasted in a low speculative effort that was just wide.
On 68 minutes Ziege and Sheringham really came into play. A superb cross from the German found the head of the England striker and only the foot of the post denied Spurs taking the lead. Qu Bo's attempt to latch onto the rebound was blocked by some resolute Watford defending.
Sherwood came on in place of Redknapp for the last 14 minutes and was followed a couple of minutes later by Paul O'Donoghue, who replaced Henry.
Ziege continued probing down the left and another searching cross just evaded the oncoming Sheringham and Rebrov.
Two minutes from time Ziege again instigated some goalmouth chaos from the left, his cross should possibly have been headed in by Qu Bo, but the Chinese striker headed down and Sherwood was on hand to bundle the ball over the line.
Team: Sullivan, Henry (O'Donoghue 79), Thatcher (Jackson 35), Ricketts (Ziege 60), Doherty, Bortolozzo (Sheringham 60), Leonhardsen, Redknapp (Sherwood 76), Qu Bo, Etherington, Rebrov. Subs: Ziege, Hirschfeld, Sherwood, Sheringham, Jackson, O'Donoghue, Barnard.