A Thursday night fixture against the champions of Slovenia would not, these days, exactly get everyone’s pulse racing. There is a comedown from Champions League football whether we like to admit it or not and the failure to sell out this fixture is perhaps testament to that. Despite the post CL hangover, there is (to […]
AVB and the Charismatic Carroll
A Thursday night fixture against the champions of Slovenia would not, these days, exactly get everyone’s pulse racing. There is a comedown from Champions League football whether we like to admit it or not and the failure to sell out this fixture is perhaps testament to that. Despite the post CL hangover, there is (to use an oft quoted Spurs cliché) a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ about a night under the lights at White Hart Lane; the all white kit, the unfamiliar players and the sense of urgency that accompanies any tournament fixture. Last night was no exception.
We needed to win to retain any hope of remaining in the competition and completely dominated for 40 minutes, looking like we could have scored 3 or 4 before Gareth Bale’s whipped cross found Jermaine Defoe to put us ahead. Then just before half time Lloris was sold short by Kyle Naughton (who didn’t play particularly well for someone pushing 24) and NK Maribor had an undeserved equaliser.
The second half opened up in terms of play with Maribor having a lot more possession, they’d obviously been given a bollicking for lazy ball leaking (ooh err) and Spurs tenacity began to drop as the legs got weary. Still though our dominance was plain and when JD was put through with a magnificent first time ball from youngster Tom Carroll on 60mins, there was only one outcome. The third goal was a fantastic team effort built from the back, winning the ball near our own 18 yard box, moving it forward for Tom Huddlestone to play a great pass over the top releasing Bale who simply had to square to Defoe to finish the game off.
The Europa League dream lives on thanks to those 3 point but last night was remarkable for many reasons; JD continues to prove people wrong and keeps getting goals in the right conditions and young Tom Carroll (my man of the match) played like a seasoned pro in the creative midfield role, his distribution, awareness and calmness under pressure were simply fantastic, he’s like Modric, except a lot younger and doesn’t look like an ugly teenage girl.
Apart from the performance and the result, the most wonderful thing about last night was the club and the fans. In this modern English era of loyal supporters being treated as expendable consumers, something quite beautiful happened, twice.
Firstly, the fans had been criticized and threatened for using the term ‘Yid’ and the club backed us. Secondly we asked them for a section in which we could sing our hearts out and encourage others for a game which may have been a little flat otherwise and they granted it. Not only that but it went extremely well. Block J in the east stand upper tier rocked from start to finish and encouraged the rest of the Lane to create the kind of atmosphere it became famous for. Long live this constructive relationship between supporter and club.
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