Sunday 8 January 2012

Back to reality

Yes, it is really true...

We all hoped, and we all dreamed, but ultimately it wasn't to be.
Our Rubies had their little moments - Kaid Mohamed's run in the first 10 seconds, Russ Penn and Marlon Pack's half-chances, Junior Smikle's nutmeg of Danny Rose among the best - but the Premier League quality shone through.
Yes, Spurs made 10 changes from the side which had beaten West Brom last week, but I suspect if that was their first choice 11, it would comfortably hold its own in the top flight.
Eight full internationals, and three under-21s (Carlo Cudicini has one Italian cap at that level it seems) tells its' own story, and they were just quicker in speed and thought.

The Ruby Army filling up the South Stand

They were clinical too - it was credit to us that they only had two real chances in the first half, and they took them both, with Roman Pavlyuchenko's goal the real killer.
We kept our shape well, showed good discipline and didn't resort to kicking them and hoofing the ball up the field - we tried to stick to our normal game but were not able to impose it on them.
The pre-match line-up
 Our build-up play was neat and tidy, but they were happy to stand off and wait for the errors, and we just couldn't find that killer pass or telling cross that could really have opened them up.
Kaid was probably our best hope for that - he had some decent runs and again it was just that final decision which went awry.
At the other end, Scott Brown made some fantastic saves in the second half, the back four gave as good as they got against their pace and movement of Jermain Defoe, Pav, Aaron Lennon and Giovani, and our midfield competed well.

The press box view of White Hart Lane with the South
Stand packed full of the 5000 strong Ruby Army
The fans were superb - from my vantage point, about four rows behind Harry Redknapp (!!), they made great noise and kept their backing for the players throughout.
Yatesy talks to BBC Gloucestershire post match
It was a great day out. From arriving at the racecourse at 9am, with the tractor bedecked in balloons and the lines of coaches in convoy down the M40 and M25, it was great to see everyone enjoying the occasion.
... and Harry Redknapp faces
the media 
OK, so we didn't win, or get that money-spinning replay, but we can hold our heads high and, I think, say we gave it a decent shot and did not disgrace ourselves.
So we go back to the main aim - promotion from League Two, and Aldershot next week.

Player by player
Scott Brown - the national press gave him the man of the match, and he made some superb saves in the second half especially. No chance with any of the goals.
Sido Jombati - Will have done his reputation no harm. Held his own against pace of Lennon and Giovani.
Luke Garbutt - Wanted to prove he could play against top players, and did well. One moment when he took a corner, then a few seconds later won a tackle in our box showed his pace.
Alan Bennett - Good as ever, and made some brilliant interceptions and clearances.
Steve Elliott - Superb game, and very unlucky to deflect the third goal over Scott Brown's head.
Russ Penn - If only he had taken that chance at 2-0, then who knows... but had a decent game nonetheless.
Luke Summerfield - My man of the match for us. Was everywhere in the first half especially and looked to drive us on.
Marlon Pack - Quiet game by his standards but Spurs had him tightly marked and had obviously picked him as the danger man.
Josh Low - Disappointing game, and in hindsight I might have played Duffy or Spencer out wide, or given Junior a run.
Kaid Mohamed - Good game - tried to run at them every chance he got and had them worried on occasions. Just that final ball...
Jimmy Spencer - Frustrating afternoon for Jimmy as he did not get much service and had to go looking for the ball, but the experience will do him good in the long run.

Junior Smikle (for Josh Low 58) - Good display from Junior (despite the lime green boots...). He will want a DVD of his nutmeg of Danny Rose! Pushing for a start against Aldershot after last two substitute appearances.
Darryl Duffy (for Jimmy Spencer 62) - Surprised he didn't start, as top scorer and penalty taker (you never know...). Like Junior he improved the team when he came on and hope he starts on Saturday.
Jeff Goulding (for Russ Penn 77) - Won a couple of headers and set up Marlon's late chance.

For my full album of photos from White Hart Lane click the link below:

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