FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
SUNDAY 26TH SEPTEMBER, 1999
WIMBLEDON 1 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0)
Referee:- Graham Poll
Wimbledon (4-3-2-1):- Sullivan; Cunningham, Anderson ( sub Kimble, 84 ), Blackwell, Thatcher; Badir, Roberts, Euell; Cort, Gayle; Hartson
Subs not used:- Davis (GK); Jupp, Earle, Leaburn
Booked:- Hartson, Roberts
Sent Off:- Hartson, 76 ( 2nd booking )
Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Carr, Perry, Young, Taricco; Leonhardsen, Freund, Sherwood, Nielsen; Armstrong ( sub Dominguez, 76 ), Iversen
Subs not used:- Baardsen; Edinburgh, King; Fox
Booked:- Taricco, Sherwood
Stephen Carr scored his first Premiership goal to equalise a Hartson header, and Spurs had to be satisfied with just one point from this below par encounter. It was only after Hartson got sent off for apparently leading with his elbow against Luke Young that Spurs lifted the tempo, but their late pressure was not rewarded. David Ginola could not play because of a calf strain, and Allan Nielsen made his first start of the season. Whilst Spurs clearly missed the guile of Ginola; Nielsen became the provider for the goal, and several other chances in the second half.
The game was played upon a lush meadow, which was not conducive to good football, and the ball was simply sent from one end of the field to the other, with little intervening skill, for too much of the first half. Spurs nearly opened their account after just two minutes, following good work by Leonhardsen, and Armstrong on the right. Armstrong's cross was headed over by Iversen. After 11 minutes, Iversen passed to Armstrong, who cut into the area from the left wing, but shot well wide.
Wimbledon had early chances from Cunningham, with a speculative shot following a corner; and a Marcus Gayle free kick, which Ian Walker pushed against the upright. Nielsen had a slow start, but he returned a Taricco throw to the left back to put in an effective near post cross, which was met by Iversen, but hit wide of the mark.
Carr nearly scored in the first half, when he picked up a poor Sullivan clearance, and nearly shot under the keeper, who just managed to tip the ball for a corner. The only other decent scoring chance in the first period, was when Leonhardsen put Armstrong through, and whilst Armstrong might have gone down as a result of a Thatcher challenge, and had a justifiable penalty appeal; he stayed on his feet, but was unable to get enough strength into his shot.
Perry got forward for an early second half free kick, and headed just over. The best piece of football came after 53 minutes. Nielsen collected the ball in the left back position, and sent a lovely long ball to Armstrong in the centre circle. The ball was passed to Leonhardsen, whose ball pierced the defence, for Iversen to run onto and hit the side netting with his shot.
Sadly, Wimbledon gained some pressure through a Luke Young handball just outside his area. A corner ensued, from which Hartson was allowed too much space by Perry, and Iversen, and the ex-Arsenal striker headed past Walker and Carr, on the line. Ironically, the large Spurs contingent then started chanting "It's just like watching Norway". Bearing in mind the presence of a couple of Norwegians in our side, the message was somewhat warped !
Nielsen became more effective as the game wore on, and Freund had his customary shot. This time he was on target, but straight into Sullivan's arms. Badir was given a good chance after Hartson headed back a Gayle cross, but the Palestinian Israeli international (Yes, it's true ) shot across the goalmouth for a throw in. Incidentally, another of Egil Olsen's signings, Trond Andersen, trialled for Spurs last year, when he got a couple of reserve games. Andersen played defensively today, but I remember he was "trialled" in the midfield.
The Spurs fans were sent into "Kumbya" rhapsodies by the young Irishman's super goal in the 75th minute. Nielsen was looking for a runner, as he held the ball in the middle outside the penalty area. Carr came rushing through, and Nielsen obliged him by putting the ball into his path. Carr needed a couple of touches, but he carried the ball into the area and fired high into the goal, for a deserved equaliser.
Hartson then received his second yellow card. The referee relied on his linesman's advice, and if the booking was for the challenge on Young, then I can only say that I have seen far worse go un-punished. Whilst Spurs then dominated proceedings, they failed to capitalise, although captain Tim Sherwood had two opportunities.
Spurs moved up to eighth, but they must be rueing the points they have lost already this season, as they could so easily have been in the coveted top six of the league.
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