Ledley King scores in his testimonial match at White Hart Lane
22:07 12 May 2014
Ledley King scored the opening goal in his testimonial match as a packed-out White Hart Lane turned out to enjoy a game between Tottenham’s first team and a squad of Spurs legends.
Referee Howard Webb gave Ledley’s Guest XI a 15th-minute penalty and the iconic Lilywhites defender stepped up to beat Brad Friedel from the spot.
Emmanuel Adebayor equalised with a penalty at the other end, but a Teddy Sheringham double meant the legends took a 3-1 lead into the interval.
And, although young Nathan Oduwa hit back for the first team just after the break, a Louis Saha brace gave King’s side a 5-2 advantage before Etienne Capoue and Saha traded goals near the end.
The legends held their own in the opening exchanges, with Dimitar Berbatov showing his class and linking the play around him, while Darren Anderton sent in a couple of awkward deliveries from the flanks.
Christian Eriksen was the brightest player for the first team but Neil Sullivan had little to do – partly because King read the game typically well and made some useful interceptions.
With just over 15 minutes gone, the legends won a corner and, following some tussling in the box, referee Webb awarded a penalty.
There was only one man who was going to take it and, much to the delight of the home crowd, King stepped up and slotted past Friedel.
It was nearly 2-0 as Sheringham lofted a cross to the back post where Berbatov waited, but Michael Dawson just got his head to the ball to save a certain goal.
The first team increased their efforts and Kyle Naughton broke into the box before letting fly but, just like in his heyday, King came out of nowhere to block the shot.
When the 26th minute arrived, White Hart Lane rose as one to salute their legendary No26 with a standing ovation.
The guest XI then won a 25-yard free-kick as Dawson felled Ginola, and Anderton’s low strike took a big deflection and rolled just past the post, with Friedel beaten on the ground.
Jon Obika had a good chance to level after getting free in the box, but Sullivan produced a good reaction save, and the ex-Spurs keeper then got down to stop Sandro’s low effort from the resulting corner.
The equaliser soon followed though as Adebayor juggled the ball in the box and was adjudged to have been bundled over by Chris Perry, with Webb giving his second penalty of the first half.
Adebayor scored from the spot and, although Webb ordered him to take it again due to encroachment, the forward fired home again.
There was much hilarity as Edgar Davids nutmegged Adebayor and then waited for Eriksen near the touchline before slipping past the Dane as well – and the legends went on to regain their lead shortly before half-time on the counter-attack.
Berbatov drove forward towards the edge of the box before passing the ball left to the unmarked Sheringham, who whipped the ball first-time across Friedel.
The legends extended their lead further just before the interval as Anderton beat Dawson and forced a save from Friedel, with the ball rebounding to Sheringham, who accepted the gift.
There were wholesale changes to both sides after the break, with the ‘first team’ sending out a young side plus Etienne Capoue and Lewis Holtby in the centre of midfield.
One of the young players was Oduwa, who scored within three minutes of the restart, going clean through against Paul Robinson and producing a cheeky, chipped finish to make it 3-2.
Ledley’s XI responded quickly though with a similar goal to their second. This time it was Peter Crouch who advanced and committed the defence before freeing Saha – and he cut onto his left foot before firing past goalkeeper Jordan Archer.
King was withdrawn shortly afterwards to a standing ovation, having played for almost an hour – and Spurs coach Steffen Freund was introduced soon afterwards.
The German midfielder was soon involved in a mock spat with his countryman Holtby. The younger man was booked for tugging his senior colleague back, and Freund gave Webb an appreciate hug.
The Spurs fans sang “Lewis Holtby, we want you to stay” and he applauded the crowd. But Ledley’s Guest XI had more cause to celebrate as they went 5-2 up, with Saha doubling his tally for the second half.
Freund nearly added to the lead with a powerful strike from the right side of the box, but Archer tipped the ball onto the bar and then fell on it to prevent a goalmouth scramble.
Moments later, the ball was in the net at the other end as Capoue found himself with time and space to pick his spot from the edge of the box, and he slotted coolly into the bottom left corner.
The first team could have narrowed the gap further as Alex Pritchard released Oduwa with a fine prodded through ball, but the shot went wide of the far post.
Another member of the coaching staff entered the fray as Tony Parks replaced Robinson for the final 10 minutes, while Holtby and Webb raised laughs by pushing each over.
There was just time for one more goal as Saha completed his hat-trick, firing home from 25 yards with the last kick of an entertaining match.
Tottenham first team (first half): Friedel, Naughton, Dawson, Kaboul, Fryers, McEvoy, Sandro, Veljkovic, Eriksen, Adebayor, Obika.
(Second half): Archer, Fredericks, McQueen, Ogilvie (Lesniak), Walker-Peters, McEneff, Capoue, Holtby, Pritchard, Obika (Miller 57), Oduwa.
Ledley Guest XI (first half): Sullivan, Brown, Perry, King, Tarrico, Anderton, Parker (Tainio 15), Davids, Ginola, Berbatov, Sheringham.
(Second half): Robinson (Parks 80), Young, Chimbonda, King (Bassong 54), Stalteri, Fox, Palacios, Tainio (Freund 60), Davies, Crouch, Saha
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