Ricky shines for Legends
27 May 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
Ricky Villa capped a fine outing by scoring from the penalty spot as the Spurs Legends team ran out 3-1 winners against the Patmore Stag XI at Sun Postal Sports Club in Watford on Sunday (May 25).
The legendary Argentine World Cup winner bagged the Legends’ third goal on a rare appearance for the ex-White Hart Lane side, having earlier been denied by the crossbar after gliding past two defenders on a nonchalant run in from the left flank.
Steve Slade and David Howells were also on the scoresheet as the Legends built up a 3-0 lead in the first half, but it was Villa – visiting the UK from his homeland – who gained much of the plaudits as he belied his 61 years with a calm yet faultless performance as part of a three-man central midfield operation.
Howells showed his nous early on, spotting the opposing goalkeeper off his line and instantly launching a 45-yard free kick towards goal following a foul on Slade, only for the ball to drop inches wide of the upright.
That was a sign of things to come as the Legends controlled the game for long periods, Slade lofting a shot over the top and Villa producing a save from the keeper inside the opening 12 minutes.
A second effort from Slade clipped the bar on its way over, while Howells curled beyond the far post as the lads searched for a breakthrough.
A moment of brilliance from Villa almost unlocked the Patmore Stag defence in the 17th minute, the evergreen midfielder tricking his way into the box after receiving Mark Falco’s pass from the left – only to see his eventual sumptuous right-footed curler cannon off the crossbar with the keeper beaten.
And in a crazy few seconds afterwards, Slade’s header from the rebound also hit the bar, the ball then falling to Howells, whose effort was blocked on the line.
The Legends did finally open the scoring four minutes later as Slade latched onto a long ball down field from Justin Edinburgh and finished low inside the near post after cutting into the box on his left foot.
Goalkeeper Gareth Howells ensured the visitors stayed in the lead with a good low save at his near post and, in the 28th minute, Villa teed up David Howells from the right to double the Legends’ advantage with a finish almost identical to Slade’s opener.
And three minutes later it was 3-0 as Slade won a penalty, with Villa stepping up and firing high into the net – to the delight of the 1,000-strong crowd.
Neither side managed to fashion many clear-cut chances in the second half with the Legends content to hold onto their lead, although keeper Howells was forced to make a vital block with his legs at the edge of his own area as the hosts tried to make the most of a high ball over the defence.
The Patmore Stag XI did pull a goal back two minutes from time, however, with Joe Hansard smashing home from eight yards after a fine initial save from Howells to thwart an attack down the left.
Spurs Legends: Gareth Howells, John Lacy, Mark Stimson, Justin Edinburgh, Andy Polston, Graham Roberts, Brian Statham, David Howells, Steve Slade, Ricky Villa, Mark Falco. Subs: Andy Edmonds, Micky Southam, Warren Gravette.