Gallery: Olsen nets decisive goal as Spurs edge Saints
Pre-Season Friendly St Albans City 1 Spurs XI 2 David Brawn at Clarence Park ST Albans City put on a strong show against Clive Allen s Spurs XI at Clarence Park on Wednesday. City boss Steve Castle fielded an attacking side with striker Simon Martin
St Albans City 1 Spurs XI 2
David Brawn at Clarence Park
ST Albans City put on a strong show against Clive Allen's Spurs XI at Clarence Park on Wednesday.
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City boss Steve Castle fielded an attacking side with striker Simon Martin supported by forwards Lee Clarke and Paul Hakim both enjoying advanced roles. Trialist Sean Ridgway started in midfield alongside former Premier League player Jonathan Hunt while winger Hassan Sulaiman was left on the bench after picking up a knock against Barnet the previous evening.
Manager Clive Allen fielded experienced defender Anthony Gardner, once capped by England and midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng who joined Spurs for a reported £5m fee from Hertha Berlin in the summer of 2007 and made 21 appearances for the first team last season.
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Spurs took the lead on six minutes with the first significant attack of the game. A hopeful ball forward from Kyle Fraser-Allen was headed out by City goalkeeper Paul Bastock as he raced out of his box with striker Andy Barcham lurking. The City midfield reacted sluggishly and Spurs winger David Hutton picked up possession, composed himself and lofted a fine chip shot over the stranded goalkeeper into the empty net.
City responded and Clarke skipped away from Spanish youth international full back Yuri Berchiche on the right flank before crossing to the near post where striker Martin could only scuff the ball goalwards and Spurs goalkeeper Lee Butcher comfortably saved.
Spurs doubled the lead on 24 minutes when Hutton burst through midfield and fed the impressive Danny Hutchins who delivered a precise cross from the left flank which was met with a tidy back post finish from Norwegian striker Alex Olsen.
Midfielder Ridgway fired a shot straight at Butcher from 20 yards and on 32 minutes Hunt showed his class with a measured 18 yard chip shot which Butcher managed to flick over the cross bar.
Spurs went close to a third goal on 34 minutes when Hutton delivered a precise corner kick into the box and midfielder Boateng glanced a header just wide of the far post.
City lost powerful centre back Ryan Frater to an ankle injury on 37 minutes and Castle switched his side around. Former Spurs youth player James Quilter reverted to centre back from midfield and ex-Arsenal trainee Sulaiman was introduced on the right flank.
Winger Sulaiman made an immediate impact as he took a fine pass from Hunt and beat Berchiche before sliding a low cross through the corridor of uncertainty to Simon Martin who bundled the ball home to reduce the deficit.
City right back James Fisher headed off the line after a chip back from Olsen who surged away from the defence on the right. Fisher then burst forward in the final seconds of the half, took the ball from Sulaiman, beat Berchiche and got clear of the giant Gardner and delivered his cross only for the Spurs defence to scramble the ball away with Martin lurking.
Spurs made four changes at the break including experienced Portuguese defender Ricardo Rocha, signed from Benfica in 2007 for Gardner. City almost capitalised on the uncertainty with the first attack of the second half when the unmarked Clarke flashed a header just wide of the far post from a Hunt free kick.
Saints continued to push for the second goal and Sulaiman did well to set up Ridgway who saw his sizzling first time shot flash just over the cross bar.
Bastock made a fine save on 58 minutes when he came out quickly and blocked a shot from striker Barcham who was released by a quality pass from playmaker Hutchins.
Sulaiman was in lively form for City and set up Clarke who flashed a low 25 yard shot just wide on 62 minutes.
Substitute Rod Hicks came closest to levelling for City when a cross from the right drew hesitation from the Spurs defence. Butcher stepped off his line and Hicks lofted his header into the cross bar with the Spurs defence regrouping to scramble the rebound away.
Star man Hutton was a constant threat for Spurs and worked some space well to beat right back Fisher. The City defence covered well and Hutton slightly over-ran the ball before shooting straight at Bastock from a tight angle.
Rugged French youth international centre back Dorian Dervite headed the final chance of the game down and up over the cross bar as Spurs settled for a 2-1 win from a tough work out.
St Albans City: P. Bastock, J. Fisher, S. Cousins (P. Okai 60), J. Quilter, B. Martin (O. Williams 66), R. Frater (H. Sulaiman 38), J. Hunt (R. Mattos 72), S. Ridgway (A. Fry 60), P. Hakim (R. Hicks 72), L. Clarke (J. Eames 72), S. Martin (D. Chillingworth 60). Unused Sub: G. Heywood.
Spurs XI: L. Butcher, C. Hughton (T. Mtandari 46), Y. Berchiche (M. Clare 46), D. Hutchins (C. Hughton 66), D. Dervite, A. Gardner (R. Rocha 46), K. Fraser-Allen (Y. Berchiche 66), KP. Boateng (S. Asajile 46), A. Barcham, A. Olsen (K. McKenna 70), D. Hutton.