Tottenham beat Stevenage in friendly
STEVENAGE fell to a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur tonight at The Lamex Stadium in what was new Spurs’ manager Andre Villas-Boas’ first game in charge of the Premier League giants.
Second half strikes from Icelandic International Gylfi Sigurdsson and Yago Falque sealed the friendly win over Gary Smith’s men for the north Londoners.
The opening 45 minutes was an uneventful affair for an impressive pre-season crowd of 5,109.
The Boro fans did get the chance to see first home appearances from new boys Anthony Grant, Filipe Morais, David Gray, James Dunne and Marcus Haber, plus a few household names in the Spurs XI with the likes of England Internationals Aaron Lennon, Kyle Walker, Michael Dawson, Jake Livermore and Jermaine Jenas getting a run-out.
The first half was a case of Spurs largely spraying the ball around with plenty of time to pick passes in their own half and in middle of park without creating too much to worry Stevenage keeper Chris Day.
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New midfield signing Grant from Southend United showed the Lamex he’s quick in the tackle and likes to turn and look for an outlet.
The first cheer of the night came on 11 minutes, but not due to action from either side.
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Referee Darren Deadman was asked to change his black shirt, due to it clashing with the new Boro dark blue away strip, to a nice orange number.
Soon after, in a rare attack from either side, the home faithful made an unsuccessful penalty appeal as Dawson strong-armed trialist Nicky Ajose, a Manchester United youth product, off the ball in the box.
At the other end Spurs forgotten man David Bentley’s corner looked dangerous but Dawson’s header was deflected out for another set-piece, which was then well cleared by the dependable Jon Ashton.
Former Arsenal man Luke Freeman provided a spark on 20 minutes when he came off the left flank and skilfully turned Walker, but was fouled by the full-back.
The following free-kick from 25 yards out was slammed into the wall by Morais.
Frontman Haber acted as a target man and rarely got the better of Frenchman Younes Kaboul.
The first real chance of the game came on 24 minutes as Grant was robbed by Steven Pienaar 35 yards from his own goal, the South African slipped in striker Harry Kane whose drive was well saved by Day.
Morais enjoyed a glimpse of free turf down the right flank for the hosts and saw his cross headed clear by Dawson on 26 minutes.
A dangerous ball into the Stevenage box from Walker flashed across goal soon after, but a greater concern was for Ashton who collided with Day’s left hand post causing the club’s medics to race onto the field.
Players took on fluids during the enforced break on a warm evening, before Ashton returned to the action a little dazed, but play continued.
As the Premier League side looked to take the game to their League 1 opponents, Pienaar raced in from the right before laying the ball to Jermaine Jenas whose deflected effort looped out for a corner.
For the second period both sides made wholesale changes.
Spurs blooded signings Jan Vertonghen and Sigurdsson, while a host of new faces for Boro included keeper Steve Arnold, left back Lee Hills and centre halves Bondz N’Gala and Anthony Furlonge.
However, the most impressive newcomer to the second half was Tottenham winger Andros Townsend.
He pulled a drive well wide from 20 yards on 49 minutes and injected some pace and direct running into the clash.
As Spurs stepped up their attacking intentions Tom Carroll exchanged passes with Kane before unleashing a drive goal wards which Arnold parried out for a corner on 53 minutes.
The following short corner routine between Lennon and Walker resulted in Jenas blasting over.
Ten minutes into the second half the deadlock was broken.
Townsend got to the by-line getting the better of trialist Danny Shelley and pulled back for Sigurdsson who blasted past Arnold into the net.
In a carbon copy to the goal Townsend again raced past Shelley this time teeing up Kane who skied his attempt.
In a rare Boro attack on goal Danny Carr seemed to have time and space outside the box on the hour mark and shot low but wide past Brad Friedel’s left hand post.
Back on the Spurs left flank the impressive Townsend then slipped in Ivorian Souleymane Coulibaly and his deft attempt was deflected wide.
As Spurs hunted a second Sigurdsson found Coulibaly once more, he took a touch and fired low at goal, but Arnold stuck out a foot to save on 70 minutes.
Boro earned a corner in the dying stages.
Robin Shroot’s kick from the left was headed clear by Tom Huddlestone and Spurs counter-attacked in numbers.
Spaniard Falque carried the ball from the halfway line, into the Boro box and slotted into the bottom left low past a helpless Arnold on 87 minutes to round off the match.