AS Bill Nicholson, the former manager of Tottenham Hotspur told me last might, the fans did not come to watch Weymouth play – they wanted to see Spurs’ stars, particularly Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa from the Argentinian World Cup winning side.
Nicholson, the man who guided Spurs to the First Division championship and FA Cup double in 1960-61, said: “I feel we fulfilled our obligation to Weymouth. Ardiles, Villa and our other stars did you proud.”
Nicholson, nowadays Tottenham’s consultant chief scout, then paid tribute to the Weymouth players. “They took a 6-1 beating,” he said, “but never once did they resort to dirty play. There was hardly a foul throughout the game.”
Despite the wind and the wet conditions underfoot, last night’s friendly was a night for 5,000 fans at the Rec to enjoy – and I would be surprised if there was a disagreement.
It was Ardiles and Villa who provided much of the magic, each helping himself to a couple of goals and, together with Garth Crooks, showing class the way.
Nobody could say that Nicholson and his men had cheated in any respect. Nicholson had told the players to go out and play to win – and they did exactly this.
The Spurs team were yards faster than Weymouth. They seemed to think faster, they certainly moved faster and their one-touch style of play had the Terras running in all directions.
In the first 25 minutes, Weymouth were chasing shadows as Tottenham went after goals. They were unlucky not to be three up in double-quick time.
Crooks sent a cracking shot against the bar from 30 yards. The ball rebounded and the overworked Kevin Roberts, in the home goal, grabbed it in grateful fashion/
The alert Villa produced the ﬁrst special after 14 minutes – a hard-hit shot from 35 yards which fairly bombed its way into the roof of the net with Roberts wondering just what was happening!
In the next moment Spurs’ skipper Steve Perrymam, who has 440 League appearances to his credit, crossed accurately from the right and Crooks stepped up to send in a header which struck a post!
By this time the fans were really enjoying themselves. They were seeing some great football from the team who beat European Cup winners Nottingham Forest 3-0 away on Saturday.
To their credit; the Terras persevered and, starting from the 28th minute when Anniello Iannone extended Barry Daines in the visiting goal with a header, they tried hard to hit back.
With Neil Merrick and his defenders finding a surge of confidence the Terras went-back on the attack.
Derek Courtney found himself clean through but was immediately closed down by Daines who moved at top speed to spread himself at the striker’s feet.
One of the best Weyrnouth moves came when Courtney fought to send Peter Johnson clear in the 34th minute. Johnson crossed from the left, Iannone nudged the ball to the right and Jimmy McCafferty let fly with a terrific shot just over the bar from 20 yards.
But then, four minutes later, Ardiles displayed goal-scoring perfection.
Merrick dived to head clear, but Ardiles pounced to hammer the ball back and past the helpless Roberts from all of 30 yards. Blink, and it would have been missed!
But Weymouth were not to be denied. In the 40th minute McCaferty chipped a shot against the bar. The ball came back to Johnson who kept his head in seizing the chance to play his shot between a couple of defenders on the line and into the net.
Weymouth went in at the interval 2-1 down and back in the game, only to fall to more Ardiles’ magic a minute into the second-half.
Admittedly Roberts failed to hold a cross from Brooke, but the little Argentinian read the situation brilliantly in following up no flick the ball into the net.
Johnson had the bail in the book of the Spurs’ net again in the 55th minute — but was ruled off-side Then ten minutes later Villa had the crowd gasping.
He drifted into a space to take possession and took deliberate aim for a spot just inside a post from the edge of the box. The ball buried itself sweetly into the net and Roberts was left groping air.
Terry Gibson headed home in the 70th minute to make it 5-1 and Steve Dyer, who had battled keenly at the book ﬂow Weymouth throughout, made one of his few mistakes in the 76th minute when he passed back to ﬁnd his goalkeeper nowhere in sight and the ball bouncing over the line into the net!
But even after this Weymouth never gave up the ﬁght.
There was still plenty of spirit in their efforts and Iannone might have had better luck in turning in a shot which was blocked on the line. Gerry Byrne, who got through a lot of work in the Weymouth defence, also went close with a scorching shot over the bar.
NEVER SAY DIE
The Spurs almost made it seven, but the never-say-die Joseph got back to scoop a shot from the line.
Near the ﬁnal whistle, Ardiles limped off with a sore ankle, but he had made his contribution to a game which gave Weymouth’s fans plenty to enthuse about on a night of pure entertainment.
Weymouth: Roberts, Joseph, Byrne, Dyer, Merrick, Arnold, McCafferty, Courtney (Paterson 45th minute), Iannone, Dove, Johnson (Hawkins 70th).
Tottenham: Daines, McAllister (Southey 58th), Holmes, Smith, O’Reilly, Perryman (Crooks 50th), Ardiles (McAllister 79th). Crooks (Gibson 45th), Falco, Villa, Brooke.