Reserves suffer first defeat in almost a year

Last updated : 22 January 2007 By SpursMAD

Goalkeeper Ben Alnwick and midfielder Adel Taarabt both made their competitive debuts, while Charlie Lee and Mark Yeates were available after loan spells, at home against Chelsea on Monday night.

Alnwick, signed from Sunderland and Taraabt on loan from Lens both appeared in the friendly at Norwich City seven days ago. Lee had spent two months at Millwall while Yeates had been at Hull City since the start of the season.

A scan had determined that central defender Dorian Dervite suffered a tear to his anterior cruciate ligament in the friendly at Norwich last week. He joined Lee Barnard (ankle) Simon Dawkins (groin) and Charlie Daniels (illness) on the sidelines. Tomas Pekhart had recovered after suffering concussion from a clash of heads in that game. Most of the players had a month off over Christmas and New Year.

Jamie O'Hara almost gave the home side an early advantage with a curled effort, before Alnwick had to deal with a shot from Fabio Ferreira. Then Reto Ziegler's attempt direct from a free-kick wasn't far away from being on target.

Gradually Chelsea took a foothold as Spurs struggled in the final third. Alnwick needed to block Phil Younghusband's effort in the 40th minute.
Otherwise, neither goalkeeper had a lot to do as both sides competed in the midfield.

Early on in the second half after some good work from Kieran McKenna and Yeates, Tomas Pekhart thought he had scored but the linesman had other ideas.

Leigh Mills missed a good opportunity in front of goal as Ziegler delivered a cross before Pekhart was claiming a penalty but no foul was given. Yeates then came close but Chelsea keeper Ma-Kalambay's leg denied him.

Spurs looked the more likely victors yet an upset was around the corner. There was a mix up between Alnwick and Ziegler and Younghusband pounced upon the error with just seven minutes left.

Clive Allen: "It was very disappointing to lose the game in the way that we did in that we didn't manage to produce what we are capable of."

"We've been punished for a mistake. We gave them the opportunity to take the three points. They were a young, energetic and technically good team.

"We were obviously weakened by a few injuries, we've had the break through the Christmas period which led to a long lay-off in terms of match practice and we didn't find that rhythm in the way we would have liked."

"It was very unfortunate that Dorian (Dervite) picked up a nasty knee injury against Norwich City. Simon (Dawkins) has made progress, he's had hernia repairs and has suffered one or two problems resulting from that but it has settled down well over the last couple of weeks."