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Spurs can't break Ducks!

English Barclays Premiership

Aylesbury United 0 - 0 Tottenham Hotspur XI

A mixture of our rising stars, first-team wannabees and the experience of Ruel Fox knocked, knocked and knocked again but brave Aylesbury United - famous for their duck-imitating celebrations in recent FA Cup runs - refused to let them in at Buckingham Road on Wednesday night.

The non-league outfit's defence stood firm throughout with goalkeeper Eric Talbot particularly outstanding as we pushed forward from the first whistle.

With Gary Doherty having few problems back in a defensive role and young full-back Blake Saker looking to push on at every opportunity, all the action was centred around Talbot's goal. Midfielder John Piercy, the player who looked most likely to make something happen all night, was denied what looked a decent penalty shout by referee Dermot Gallagher early on before providing Yannick Kamanan and Neale Fenn with chances hit straight at Talbot. When Talbot was beaten, another Kamanan effort was hacked to safety.

Fenn's snapshot was well parried by the home keeper and the same player lobbed just over on the half-hour. McEwen and Ian Hillier kept the shots raining in before Fox's 25-year free-kick was tipped onto the bar by Talbot. For all our pressure and possession, we went in goalless at half-time.

The second half was a disappointing affair. Kamanan went close twice but ended up limping off after a hefty challenge. McEwen flicked Fox's cross just wide with 12 minutes left before a late burst saw Piercy twice and McEwen go close again - all to no avail.

Manager Chris Hughton said: "I was very happy with the night. Probably the only disappointment was that you want to win games and when you have opportunities to win, you want to take them.

"I felt with the balance of play, particularly in the first half where we had a lot of efforts and a lot of ball in the final third, we should perhaps made a bit more of it. It's all about good habits. When you have a lot of chances you'd like to think that you will see a percentage put away.

"But the most important thing is match fitness and hopefully some of the qualities we're looking for will come along in the next few games. "It was a good work out, no injuries and full praise to Aylesbury United for their facilities. The pitch was very, very good, probably as good as I've seen at this level."

Spurs : Kelly, Saker, Hillier, Davies, Thelwell, Doherty, Fox, Piercy, McEwen, Fenn, Kamanan (Jackson 71).

The next reserve games are:

July 29 - v Chesham United at The Meadow, Chesham 3pm
August 1 - v Sittingbourne at Central Park, Sittingbourne 7.30pm
August 5 - v Dulwich Hamlet at Champion Hill Stadium, Dulwich 3pm
August 9 - v Kingstonian at Kingsmeadow Stadium, Kingston 7.30pm
August 15 - v St. Albans City at Clarence Park, St. Albans 7.30pm

Photographs courtesy of Action Images Ltd.

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