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Brennan vs. Hirschfeld


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Traditional defeat for City

Norwich City 0, Tottenham Hotspur 3

Norwich City slipped to their now traditional pre-season defeat against Premiership opposition from the capital as a Darren Anderton-inspired Tottenham recorded a comfortable victory at Carrow Road. The former England midfielder opened the scoring midway through the first half with a quite magnificent 25-yard strike, with second half goals from Simon Davies and £1.5m new boy Bobby Zamora completing the scoring.

It was a deserved victory for the visitors from London who, like Arsenal and West Ham before them showed their Premiership quality in a game that produced plenty of goalmouth incident for a near capacity crowd to enjoy.

But City certainly weren't disgraced in what was their first serious test of the summer. They may have managed just two efforts on target all night but everywhere you looked there were good solid performances from men in a yellow shirt, with young defender Jason Shackell having particular reason to feel pleased with himself and Damien Francis fitting seamlessly into the midfield just 10 hours after completing his long-awaited move from Wimbledon.

There was certainly some room for improvement from the home side, with a lack of sharpness up front particularly noticeable, but there is still plenty of time to work on that before the big kick-off in two and a half weeks time.

Progress is clearly being made and manager Nigel Worthington will now be looking for his men to push on during their three-match tour of Holland which kicks off with a game against top flight side RBC Roosendaal on Friday evening.

In a match of no fewer than 20 substitutions City generally looked second best, as one would expect with players of the calibre of Robbie Keane, Davies and Anderton in their line-up. But the Canaries gave it their best shot and would have set up an interesting conclusion had substitute keeper Robert Birch not produced an amazing reflex save to keep out a close-range effort from Zema Abbey midway through the second period.

The Canaries barely got a touch to the ball in the opening couple of minutes as the classy visitors twice went close to grabbing an early lead.

There was barely a minute on the clock when £6.25m Portuguese import Helder Postiga headed wastefully over the bar before Japanese international Kazuyuki Toda sent a 20-yard drive just over the bar.

To their credit the Canaries responded well to the onslaught, stringing together some good football themselves. And they might have gone ahead on six minutes when Malky Mackay got his head on a free kick from Phil Mulryne, making his first appearance of the summer, only to direct his effort agonisingly wide of the target.

It seemed at that stage as though the Canaries had a reasonable chance of breaking their losing sequence against the big boys from the capital. But, on 30 minutes the complexion of the game was to change thanks to a wonderful piece of skill from a man who once graced the England stage.

There seemed little danger when former Ipswich defender Mauricio Taricco picked the ball up on the right and delivered a simple ball inside to Anderton some 25 yards from goal, but the enigmatic star, who has recently been linked with a move to Premiership new boys Portsmouth, had other ideas. He took a quick look up, spotted Robert Green ever so slightly off his line, and beat the City keeper with a curling right-footer into the top corner that David Beckham would have been proud of.

It then took a superb one-handed save from Green to prevent Keane making it 2-0 moments before the interval — but the 900-strong visiting contingent didn't have to wait long for a second Spurs goal.

With both sides fielding much changed line-ups after the interval it was Spurs who got into their stride the quickest and they took just nine minutes to stretch their lead.

It was another goal with Premiership quality stamped all over it as Davies played a neat one-two with the recently introduced Zamora before beating Green with a neat finish and at that stage it looked as though the men from White Hart Lane might run away with it.

But the Canaries regrouped well, with Francis quickly marking himself down as a neat and tidy presence in midfield and came desperately close to pulling one back on 65 minutes.

Youngsters Ryan Jarvis and Ian Henderson, who both had impressive 45-minute run-outs, combined to set up a chance for Abbey but Birch was equal to his close-range strike — and 12 minutes later it was Spurs who completed the scoring.

The goal was down to a rare error from defender Mackay, one of just four players who played the full 90 minutes. Attempting to guide a long ball from midfield back to Paul Crichton he failed to get enough power on his delivery and Zamora was able to nip in and slide the ball under the advancing keeper.

That completed a highly satisfactory night's work for Glenn Hoddle's men, who jet off to South Africa today for a pre-season tour but there was still a generous round of applause for the home side who could feel well satisfied with their efforts against quality opposition.

Norwich City: shots on 2, shots off 3, corners 5, fouls conceeded 10, offsides 5.

Tottenham: shots on 8, shots off 9, corners 9, fouls conceded 7, offsides 3.

Norwich City: Green (Crichton 62), Briggs (Batt 45), Drury, Mackay, Shackell (Crane 83), Nielsen (Jarvis 45), Mulryne (Francis 45), Holt (Sinclair 69), McVeigh (Abbey 45), Rivers (Henderson 45), Brennan (Easton 45, Roberts 75).

Tottenham: Hirschfeld (Birch 57), Carr (Marney 57), Taricco (Perry 57), Toda, Bunjevcevic (Kelly 83), Gardner, Anderton (Ricketts 83), Postiga (Zamora 45), Davies (Poyet 57), Keane (Acimovic 45), Galbraith (Etherington 45).

"A pretty move, for the love of God."

Eduardo Galeano

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