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Spurs v Charlton, 03.02.2001

SATURDAY 3RD FEBRUARY, 2001
FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0) CHARLTON ATHLETIC 0 (0)

Attendance:- 35,368

Referee:- D. Elleray

Teams:-
Spurs (3-5-2):- Sullivan; Perry, Campbell (Capt.), Doherty; Anderton, Freund, Leonhardsen, King (sub Sherwood 64), Clemence (sub Etherington, 64); Rebrov, Booth

Subs not used:- Walker; Young; Korsten

Booked:- Anderton, Etherington

Charlton (3-5-2):- Ilic; Todd, Brown, Rufus; Kishishev, Stuart (Capt), Parker, Jensen (sub Salako, 81), Powell; Bartlett, Svensson

Subs not used:- Caig; Tiler, Newton; Lisbie

No bookings.

Spurs sold out of their ticket allocation for next Wednesday's 4th Round tie at Charlton by 11.30 a.m. this morning. Incredibly, at least a thousand queuing fans were left disappointed (including yours truly). I say incredibly because predicting the scoreline of any Tottenham game is the easiest thing to do at the moment, as George Graham equalled his own record of drawing four consecutive Premiership games. The last time such an event took place was GG's Arsenal in 1993.

The fact is that Spurs showed no spirit, fight, desire - call it what you will - until the 65th minute, when Tim Sherwood and Matthew Etherington replaced Ledley King and Stephen Clemence respectively. King was unlucky to go, in my view, as he was about the only midfield player who did not perform the running a circle round themselves routine when receiving the ball, hence allowing the opposition ample time to prepare, anticipate, and defend efficiently. Too often, Spurs went backwards. I believe that Anderton was the right wing back, but all too often this territory was left vacant, as our prima donna decided he was of more use elsewhere. Clemence had one of his poorest games, and needed ten touches too many before even thinking of distributing the ball. We are soooooo predictable.

Andy Booth gave his all, and got a couple of shots on goal in the first half; some decent lay-offs; and generally won the hearts of the home fans for his application. Graham's choice of goalkeeper was very clear by the return of Neil Sullivan, who did justify his return with a couple of sharp saves, to keep the better Charlton chances out of the net. Indeed, Charlton easily dominated the early stages, as Spurs looked like the away team, and struggled to get out of their own half. Claus Jensen was the best player on the park for me, as he directed play from the middle, consistently finding his colleagues in good open positions. (He particularly exploited Clemence's flank).

The first decent Tottenham move took 21 minutes to surface, as Booth made a good turn, found Rebrov, who chipped to Leonhardsen getting into a very good position inside the box, but whose final touch was all too disappointing. There was so little to excite at either end in the first period, but Sullivan had left a lot of space to his right which Jensen exploited with a quickly taken free kick. Sullivan was quick to make his ground and catch the ball cleanly.

Sullivan had to come off his line sharply early in the second half, as Graham Stuart put a decent ball into the area past Sol Campbell, and the goalkeeper had to resist both Svensson and Parker bearing down on him. Kishishev hit a powerful shot from outside the right side of the area, which went about a yard over the bar. Sullivan had not moved for this shot, and may have been unsighted by his defence.

I can record "The Freund Shot" occurred after 54 minutes. He did well to hook the ball from somewhere under his body following a Clemence throw, and he did hit the target, albeit not too strongly. In fact a second "Freund Shot" occurred with ten minutes to go. This was a low hard drive to the left of goal. Freund was probably the player most likely to be found on the right wing in the second half. Obviously a bit too cold there for Darren!

Tim Sherwood worked the breadth of the pitch once he arrived, and immediately Spurs looked keen to do something. The fans responded and did their best to make something happen too. We were rewarded with A CROSS from Etherington (Yes I saw it with my own eyes!). Although his first action was to get into Mr Elleray's notebook, young Matty was eager and when given the chance took on his defender with gusto, working his way into good positions. One such effort led to him feeding Leon inside the area, but once again, the Norwegian failed with the important last touch, firing weakly at Ilic.

Perry and Campbell allowed the ball to get tangled in their feet, and it ran to Bartlett who brought out a close range save from Neil Sullivan. Sol made a good pass to Freund in space down the right. Steffen should have taken the ball on himself, but he cut the ball back unexpectedly to Rebrov, whose snatched shot was ineffective.

Spurs have scored in just one of their last eight league games. It is so hard to see where the next goal is coming from. That cup game next week looks such a challenge, but upon it hangs our season!

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