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Charlton v Spurs, 27.08.02

FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
TUESDAY 27TH AUGUST, 2002
CHARLTON 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1)

Scorer:-
Davies, 8

Attendance:- 26,641

Referee:- Alan Wiley

Teams:-
Charlton (4-4-2):- Kiely; Young, Rufus (Capt), Fortune (sub Brown, 71), Powell; Kishishev (sub Robinson, 64), Jensen, Bart-Williams, Konchesky ; Euell, Johansson (sub Svensson, 54)

Subs not used:- Rachubka (GK); Lisbie

Booked:- Konchesky

Spurs (4-4-2):- Keller; Taricco, Richards, Gardner, Ziege; Davies, Redknapp, Bunjevcevic, Etherington; Sheringham (Capt), Doherty (sub Ferdinand, 77)

Subs not used:- Hirschfield; Thatcher; Acimovic; Rebrov

Booked:- Davies, Bunjevcevic

There were only two Premiership games tonight, both played in London, and won by North London rivals, Arsenal and Tottenham. For a few minutes, before the Highbury game finished, Spurs were technically top of the league, but here they are with 7 points from three games, lying second at least for a day. This is Spurs best three game start since David Pleat's 1986-7 season, when we beat Aston Villa and Manchester City, drawing at home against Newcastle.

Tonight's exciting and entertaining game at The Valley was won after 8 minutes by a Simon Davies sparkler. Spurs played their best football of the season so far, and could not be faulted for effort, with high marks in all areas (see the Spursometer). A pattern begins to emerge from Glenn Hoddle's strategy so far. Goran Bunjevcevic started tonight at the expense of Milenko Acimovic, who started at home last Saturday. Bunjee had an admirable game beside Jamie Redknapp, who continues to impress with fine box to box play - sometimes being the furthest forward harassing the opposing keeper, and at others shoring up the defence. Jamie once again had several shooting chances, and will score double figures for us this season, without a doubt. Also worthy of mention is Captain, Teddy Sheringham, who played his best game so far, making a number of incisive, defence splitting passes. It really was difficult to pick a man of the match, but Anthony Gardner showed that he is on top of his game. Gardner won a lot of the aerial balls, put the ball safely out of play at the right times, and also made some good passes from defence for good measure.

As for Charlton, Claus Jensen impressed as usual, but it was left to Kishishev, playing on the right wing, to threaten Kasey Keller most of all with two or three decent first half shots. Matthew Etherington had a fine tussle with ex-colleague Luke Young, and Kasey Keller was once again safe and sound in goal. Charlton fans are none too happy at the moment about the loss of their former skipper Mark Kinsella to Aston Villa, and they are also bemoaning their luck due to Paul Konchesky getting sent off against Chelsea. Manger Alan Curbishley calls it inexperience, but Konchesky is obviously not learning yet, because he was in referee Alan Wiley's book in the first two minutes for a late challenge on Taricco.

Mr Wiley is one of my favourite referees, but he was a real "homer" tonight. He put his hands up, admitting his own mistake when giving a free kick in Spurs favour in the first half, when Matthew Etherington was racing away with the ball, leaving the defence behind, but made an even bigger rickett in the second half, when he not only failed to award a penalty against Simon Davies, by Dean Kiely, but booked Davies for diving!

Simon Davies had put Spurs into an eighth minute lead, following Ziege's corner on the right. Ziege himself sent a low pass across the edge of the box. Davies had a quick 1-2 with Sheringham, as Ted threaded the ball through for Simon to fire high into the net from the right angle of the 6 yard box. This was a great goal to cap a great seven days for Davies, after his solo International effort for Wales last week. Kishishev had his first shot after 15 minutes, following some ping pong outside the area featuring Euell and Jensen. Kasey was down sharply for his low shot.

A great ball from right to left from Redknapp found Matty, who exchanged with Gary Doherty, before forcing a corner, which Doherty headed over the bar. Spurs had more energy tonight than seen so far. Their quick passing game was very effective, and Charlton were made to look like the away side. Both Spurs wingers were mobile, being supportive of the defence, but ready to break well. After 22 minutes, Dean Richards conceded a dangerous free kick just outside the box, but Bart-Williams kick went safely over the bar. Later, Keller had to get down quickly again to another Kishishev effort, when the ball broke to him 25 yards out. The very loud away support chanted "USA! USA!" - not for the first time.

Then Redknapp was penalised (a little harshly, in my view), and this time Jensen took the kick, putting it outside the post. Five minutes before the break, Teddy fed the ball to Redknapp, following a throw on the left. Jamie was on the left of the box, and hit a useful shot across the goal, that went just wide and over the target. Spurs went off to great applause. The whole of the Jimmy Seed stand was given over to the visitors, who soon had plenty to shout about in the second half. There was a little scare as the ball reached Euell in front of goal, but Kasey was out well to block him at short range.

Then Rufus seemed to give away a succession of corners somewhat cheaply, allowing Spurs to put the pressure on. The last of these corners, taken by Ziege, reached Redknapp, lurking at the back post. Jamie's shot was cleared in front of the goal. Wiley's controversial no-penalty decision came after 59 minutes. This time it was Goran Bunjevcevic linking with the attack, as his ball to Teddy was quickly put through for Simon Davies to race into Kiely's area, only to be hauled down sharply by his ankle. Davies fell to the ground with no element of drama, but purely as a result of inevitable forces of gravity. Wiley pulled his book out and showed Davies the yellow card, as if he was guilty of a dying swan act - NO WAY!

Charlton took advantage of the unsettling effect of this decision, as Euell, on the run hit a fine left foot shot, that Keller had to fly to his right to save.Alan Curbishley used all his subs by the 71st minute, but it was Spurs who threatened to score in the latter stages. Etherington was given a chance to score by Teddy, but failed, and then Davies and Etherington brought the ball out of our own half magnificently, before Doherty headed Matthew's cross just past the post, only to be penalised for a foul anyway.

Les Ferdinand replaced Gary Doherty, who had done a great job, holding the ball up, and getting involved in the passing game. As the final whistle approached, Spurs played great possession football, and rarely allowed the reds to threaten goal. This was a well-deserved win, celebrated heartily by the team and the Spurs crowd. Chris Bart-Williams was obviously impressed with Jamie Redknapp's performance as he made a point of swapping shirts with him. We must approach Southampton with a good deal of confidence on Saturday.

Chant of the night:-

12 men!
You only had 12 men!
You only had 12 men!

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