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Villa Reserves vs. Tottenham - Match report


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by OutByEaster

A 3-1 win for Villa in an entertaining game between two very well matched sides, settled eventually by the excellence of Moustapha Salifou and the indiscipline of Clive Allen's young charges.

Tottenham brought a strong line up including two players with lots of Premiership experience to Villa’s winter cottage as the Bescot welcomed our top of the league reserves side for the first time this campaign.

We lined up with Sorensen in goal, a back four (l-r) of O’Halloran, Clark, Davies and Lund. Osbourne, Salifou and Herd manned the midfield and the rose that is Marlon Harewood divided the twin thorns of Mikaelsson and Delfouneso up front.

Tottenham had Tom Huddlestone playing just in front of their back four and former Holte botherer Wayne Neville Routledge out wide. They also had the wonderfully named Tommy Forecast between the sticks.

Against a backdrop of fireworks we kicked off and almost came out with a bang, Harewood charging down the keeper’s first touch, it was a bright start from Harewood who was fired up and enjoying the Captains role. The first chance of the game came on seven minutes when Salifou tried a very ambitious thirty-yard volleyed lob over the keeper and it almost dropped in too!

Young Ciaran Clark’s game was over on 12 minutes after a clash of heads, our trainer held his nose and promised him it wasn’t broken as he led him off. Broken? No. Untidy…..

Harry Forrester came on for his debut and Herd moved to right back with O’Halloran going to the centre and Eric Lund finding himself in the unusual position of left back.

Spurs were moving the ball around pretty well and looked dangerous on the break, Huddlestone was sitting very deep and playing good balls both over the top and through the middle and it looked like Spurs had scored on 20 minutes. It was ruled offside, I was too far away to see if it was.

Salifou tried his luck again from distance but chances were hard to come by with both teams playing some neat football and defending well. Harewood had a couple of digs from distance but our best two efforts came from Osbourne, firstly a cross which hit the post, then the keeper then went behind, then from the resultant corner a hooked volley which forced an excellent save from Tommy Forecast.

Nil-nil at half time and looking like it might be a difficult stalemate to break.

We started well in the second half, Salifou becoming increasingly influential in the middle of the park and Forrester buzzing down the flank. Harewood struck a free kick from 25 yards at least 25 yards wide, before almost redeeming himself with a long effort that just ran past the post.

The dangerous if bad tempered Danny Rose burst into our area and tempted Herd into a somewhat rash lunge, it was a pretty clear penalty and after the two Tommy’s had stared each other down. Huddlestone rasped it past Sorenson and in off the bar.

We replied very quickly with a good ball from Herd (or Forrester) finding Delfouneso on the back post and the Coolio-like striker nodded calmly across for Mikaelsson to level. It was a goal very reminiscent of Laursen’s against Derby.

It was followed by a volleyed effort from Harewood deflected just over and a blasted free kick that the keeper touched onto the crossbar and watched somehow bounce out from under it. If he’d hit it any harder it would’ve turned the ground round.

Salifou was by now pulling strings and running things in the midfield, and after dazzling the Spurs defence managed to smuggle a ball to Mikaelsson who turned neatly and rolled in a very tidy finish for two-one.

Spurs were starting to struggle to match us and tempers were fraying, their number five was booked for kicking a ball away then got away with a poor challenge on Harewood, and Salifou came in for some rough treatment that left him looking sore.

We were making plenty of chances and O’Halloran almost buried a header from a corner.

Osbourne then put in a hard tackle on a Spurs player, I personally didn’t see it as a foul and it probably looked worse than it was. No contact was made with the player, but seeing Osbourne come away with the ball seemed to flick his switch. What followed was a two footed jumping lunge at Salifou delivered with real spite. Livermore sent off and richly deserving of it. Salifou thankfully unharmed.

Spurs were spent and Forrester was far too clever for his man on the right hand side of their box, he could only bring him down for a penalty which Captain Marlon converted very well.

Salifou came off on 75 minutes to as good a reception for a player as I’ve ever heard at reserve game. It had been a very convincing performance. Yago Bellon replaced him, with Delfouneso being withdrawn for Weinmann soon after.

We finished strongly again, a feature of this reserve side and a credit to our coaching staff; we created a couple of chances toward the end and could possibly have added another goal.

That would have been unfair on a Spurs side that really stretched our team though. Three-one the final score and a decent crowd of 453 sent home happy.

Some ratings;

Sorensen (7) He made a good save towards the end and generally looked solid, there were a couple of unconvincing parries in there though.

Lund (8.) A really good performance, for a right back he’s a very good left back. He defended very well, and became more confident coming forward as the game went on. If we draw a small team in the FA Cup, I think he’s worth a go.

O’Halloran (7) Another very good performance, he’s now at a level where he has a certain authority in games like this, and he’s physically excellent. Won everything in the air.

Herd (6) He moved to right back early on and struggled with Rose’s pace. Grew into the game and never gave anything up though.

Clark – Ouch!

Davies (7) I don’t think we can find out anything else about him at this level now. He’s a physically very good defender who had another very solid game. The first team beckons.

Salifou (9) Some fantastic stuff, his range of passing was excellent, he worked hard, he looked a goal threat, he created chances, controlled the pace of the game, got forward and could have had a couple of goals. Tonight’s performance was better than I thought he was going to be.

Osbourne (7) In the shadow of Salifou a little but does an enourmous amount of work and plays the Barry role for the reserves very well.

Harewood (7) A hat trick last time out and I didn’t think he had a good game. There was a lot more good than bad tonight though, he looked keen, lively and a handful. Doesn’t hide his mistakes well, but played well overall. He likes being Captain, and there’s the air of a minder about him on the field.

Nathan Delfouneso (6) He looked decent in patches, but didn’t impose himself on the game, you can see he has a talent but he looks like what he is, a young player still finding his feet at this level.

Mikaelsson (7) He seems to have turned into a goal machine does big Mick! A good finish for his second and a hardworking performance, he’s not a player that thrills you, but he seems to do well and has a knack of being in the right place at the right time.

Forrester (7) A very promising game for young Harry. He’s fearless, both with and without the ball and I was impressed by his ability to always try and make things happen without necessarily overcomplicating them.

Weinmann and Bellon weren’t on long enough for a rating really, although both looked bright.

A special mention to Tottenham’s fan, who sang for the whole 90 minutes in a Midlands accent; bless his chavvy little heart.

Better luck next time son.

Next time isn't until the 7th January though I’m afraid, when West Ham will be the visitors to the Bescot stadium, unless anyone else fancies the reserves derby on the 3rd of December at the sty?

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Good job and a good read. I like the journalistic approach :)

the rose that is Marlon Harewood divided the twin thorns of Mikaelsson and Delfouneso up front.

Get you :lol:

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