Town 8-1 Avenir Beggen
Thursday, 29th Aug 2002 22:34
Town marched into the UEFA Cup proper with a comprehensive 8-1 win against Avenir Beggen. Pablo Couñago claimed a hat-trick, Tommy Miller two goals, Wayne Brown a first for Town while sub Darren Ambrose and John McGreal completed the scoring for Town.
The Blues lined-up making a number of changes. Andy Marshall remained in goal but at the centre of defence John McGreal was joined by Wayne Brown and surprisingly libero Matt Holland. Jim Magilton, Tommy Miller and Martijn Reuser, the latter watched by Charlton boss Alan Curbishley, were in midfield with Pablo Couñago and Marcus Bent up front. Marcus Stewart and Hermann Hreidarsson were conspicuous by their absence.
It took Town just three minutes to get on the scoresheet against the part-timers, something their keeper Kevin Hartert had feared. Tommy Miller seized on a loose ball on the left of the Beggen area and stabbed the ball back across Hartert and into the net for his first senior goal for the Blues.
Beggen had their first chance on 11 when Kevin Martin had a freekick deflected off John McGreal and out for a corner.
Referee Tommy Skjerven got his book out for the first and only time in the 14th minute when Mike Ney went in heavily on Marcus Bent.
The result was put beyond any doubt there might have been just before the 20 minute mark when Town scored three quick goals.
First Pablo ran through a couple of tackles before picking his spot to the keeper's left from the edge of the area. A minute later Tommy Miller backheeled a low Pablo right-wing cross into the net while the crowd were still celebrating the previous goal.
The final goal in the three minute onslaught again came from Pablo with Miller also involved. This time the former Hartlepool man was left in acres of space on the left and sent in a low cross which the Spaniard finished with ease.
From there the game took on the atmosphere of the last ten minutes when your side is several goals to the good. Andy Marshall had a laugh with the North Stand when it was suggested he should score a goal, then gave a sheepish smile when he was asked whether he “hated Norwich.”
Town were missing a fair few chances, Reuser most notably when getting on the end of a fine move involving most of the team. The party mood continued and by the half hour mark Town fans were cheering Beggen passes and booing their own side's.
The fifth goal came on 41, Jim Magilton chipping the ball to the far post after a corner had been cleared and Wayne Brown heading in for his first senior Town goal.
Half-time saw no changes for either side, but Martijn Reuser was quickly replaced with Matt Richards. Reuser had a patchy game, missing a couple of opportunities and his early substitution may suggest a loan move scuppering injury or merely that he is being rested ahead of Charlton's weekend game. Either way he was given a good send-off from the home fans as he left the field.
Surprisingly it was Beggen who would score the next goal, Kevin Martin getting away down the left and sending in a cross which Greg Molitor headed in much to the approval of the home fans who applauded the part-timers.
Beggen keeper Kevin Hartert was getting on well with the North Stand with some elements even chanting his name during periods of the second half.
Eventually Town's sixth came, right on the hour, John McGreal rebounding a Fabian Wilnis shot which had been cleared off the line. A minute later Darren Ambrose replaced Tommy Miller who must have been disappointed given that he was on a hat trick.
On 65 the Beggen physio got a rapturous reception from the North Stand as she ran on to attend one of her players, a reaction which was repeated later when she came on to treat another ‘victim'.
Finidi George was introduced for Jim Magilton on 71 and two minutes later Pablo Couñago had notched his first hat trick in English football, latching onto a Jamie Clapham ball and tapping in at the second attempt after Hartert had initially saved.
Town's final goal came on 79 as Marcus Bent played a ball down the flank to Finidi who crossed from the by-line for Darren Ambrose who scored his third goal of the season.
As referee Skerven blew his whistle both sets of players were applauded by the crowd and the players swapped shirts. Beggen can return to their league football after what keeper Hartert called “their adventure” and Town will continue their European Tour, the draw on Friday at 1pm.
Photo: Action Images
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