Spurs’ class just too hot for Boro
Stevenage Boro 0 Spurs 3 BOB BRYANT reports FORGET the scoreline. This game was purely an exhibition of technique and craft demonstrated with clinical perfection. On a hot and balmy night Stevenage Borough were, as expected, totally outclassed as Premiers
Stevenage Boro 0 Spurs 3
BOB BRYANT reports
FORGET the scoreline. This game was purely an exhibition of technique and craft demonstrated with clinical perfection.
On a hot and balmy night Stevenage Borough were, as expected, totally outclassed as Premiership Spurs easily brushed them aside.
Even though Spurs' three goals contained two penalties, if the eventual scoreline had breached double figures I doubt there would have been any complaint from the Broadhall Way faithful.
There was no way Spurs manager Martin Jol was going to allow a Conference outfit to blemish his unbeaten run of pre-season games and he sent out a team of undoubted class.
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To Boro's credit they played to the limit of their ability but to say they were totally outclassed was perhaps an understatement.
For long periods they were mere spectators as Spurs were the dictators with experienced soccer craftsmen with international pedigree like Edgar Davids, Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane, Ledley King and new £10.9 million signing Bulgarian international hot shot Dimitar Berbatov dictating proceedings.
Only the agility of goalkeeper Danny Potter prevented what at times looked like turning into a massacre with a string of outstanding saves.
Spurs rarely broke out of first gear allowing passing perfection to slice Boro's overworked defence apart but nearly always making the mistake of trying to walk the ball into the net when a shot would have been a better option.
Spurs set out their stall as early as the fifth minute when Hassam Ghaly flicked a shot wide with only Potter to beat.
The one-way traffic continued and Keane rolled the ball wide with a tame shot with only Potter to beat then Berbatov missed the kind of opportunity strikers of his calibre are expected to finish with ease from six yards out.
Only the defiance of Potter prevented Spurs from putting the game beyond Boro's reach in the first half hour as he kept out efforts from Davids and Keane that brought deserved applause.
But the goal that had been threatening to come finally arrived on 32 minutes when Defoe, lurking on the left side of the penalty area, curled a wicked shot inside the post just beyond Potter's fingers.
To the crowd's amazement the referee called a time out soon afterwards for the players to take on water on what was a very warm a sticky night.
On 34 minutes Spurs again carved a huge hole in Boro's overworked defence when Davids and King combined to release Berbatov whose low drive was prevented from entering the net by Potter's boot.
Stevenage boss Mark Stimson unfolded many changes in the second half with 17 players being used, but the quest to quench the Spurs fire never materialised.
Occasionally Boro had the temerity to test the Spurs defence through George Boyd, Hector Mackie, Craig Dobson and Tony Thorpe. Unfortunately they came up against a buffer zone superbly marshalled by Ledley King and Michael Dawson.
Jon Nurse came on near the end and looked to be close to full speed after his hernia operation.
But after Defoe had given Berbatov numerous opportunities to register a goal to go with the pair he had notched at Birmingham on Saturday, the expensive import from Germany finally netted in the 80th minute after being impeded in the area.
As expected Berbatov made no mistake sending a rising shot past Potter.
A few minutes later Spurs were awarded another penalty after Defoe was brushed off the ball and Defoe himself stroked the spot kick away.
The penalties were perhaps harsh on a gutsy Boro display but the scoreline does not reflect the true authority Spurs, as expected, demonstrated on the night.