FA PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 3RD OCTOBER, 1998
DERBY COUNTY 0 (0) - TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0)
Referee:- Dermot Gallagher
Derby:- Hoult; Carbonari ( sub Burton 89 ), Laursen, Prior (capt), Schnoor (sub Eranio 80 ); Delap, Carsley, Powell, Bohinen (sub Sturridge 73); Baiano, Wanchope
Subs not used:- Poom (GK); Kozluk Booked:- Schnoor, Laursen
Spurs:- Baardsen; Carr, Vega, Campbell(capt), Edinburgh; Fox (sub Clemence 86), Anderton, Calderwood, Nielsen; Ginola ( sub Armstrong 73), Ferdinand
Subs not used:- Walker (GK); Berti, Iversen Booked:- Nielsen
1 - 0 to the Tottenham, 1 - 0 to the Tottenham! and George Graham was not even fully in charge of the team today! David Pleat will be well pleased with his short sojourn, with only one defeat under his command. Sol Campbell scored for the third consecutive game, and we are above the Arsenal ( for at least a day ). What a day!
This was Derby's biggest gate so far this season, and no doubt they were looking upon us as fodder to consolidate their position at second in the league. The home fans were to be silenced however by a battling Spurs performance capped by a winning header by their ace defender and captain. No doubt some of the papers will make something of that as well!
This was my first visit to Pride Park, and whilst the surface, and the inside of the stadium looked plush, the service areas looked a bit grim for such a new complex. The breeze block was not even painted. I had some foreboding about this game, as one of my three tickets was the dreaded number 666!
Both sides played similar formations, with a 4 man midfield, and a front runner supported by Ginola for the Spurs,and the tricky Baiano for Derby. Derby's midfield featured the strong running Darryl Powell, and the effective Bohinen and Carsley, all of whom had useful shots on goal. For Spurs the effective attacking midfield came from Anderton, and Nielsen, with Calderwood concentrating on supporting the defence, and Fox usually isolated on the flank.
The game soon warmed up, and Spurs had the best of the early stages, creating a good chance for Anderton in the box. Baiano had a good free kick saved quite spectacularly but comfortably by Espen, and then Nielsen had two opportunities within the box, followed by Fox who shot straight at the goalie, after a good header down by Ferdinand.
Wanchope as always was a handful, dealt with primarily by Sol. The gangly forward had a powerful low shot well saved by Baardsen. The game really was quite exciting end to end stuff. The willingness of Spurs players to get stuck in was demonstrated by Nielsen's booking in the 16th minute. I really felt Spurs should have taken advantage in those early stages, and in truth, the Fox shot was the best chance of them all.
Our hearts were in our mouths in the 38th minute, as Vega stood still expecting an offside, only to be disappointed, and to allow Wanchope, on his own, to get a shot on goal. Shortly after that Sol only failed to get contact with a Nielsen long throw by inches in front of goal.
Spurs came out with all guns firing again, early in the second half, with Anderton getting a couple of shots on target. Whilst Derby were always dangerous on the counter attack, and often put us under pressure, Spurs defended like tigers. I felt both our centre backs did well today. By his standards, Vega had a good game. Stevie Carr was very good going forward, but I felt that both our full backs failed to ease the pressure by hoofing more often than passing. I was particularly impressed with Anderton, and Allan Nielsen today. Both were getting stuck in with their tackles, and whilst things go wrong occasionally, Nielsen seems to be gaining in confidence, and at times displays some real trickery. Ginola had a fairly quiet game, and his substitution following the goal confirms that he is still not fully fit.
The winning goal came on the hour. Steve Carr won a free kick on the right flank with some typically determined play. Sol went forward, Daveed took the kick quite quickly, and it was beautifully met by Sol in the 6 yard box, to head the ball across the goalie. From then on the away fans were celebrating, although, as always their vocal support was tremendous throughout. Why can't we get "When the Saints" going at home?
Whilst Spurs did have one or two more chances, the home side put on the pressure. They were rarely allowed to shoot on goal, and their best chance came when Wanchope managed to get into a shooting position, but was foiled by Espen bravely diving at his feet. Chris Armstrong's fresh pace helped relieve the pressure at times, and indeed he had several chances to score. Steve Clemence had a good shot in the closing stages which landed in the top netting.
So, the presence of their new manager, and the general improvement in morale, and effort (in some quarters) has led to a second away win, and a secure mid table position. There are about nine teams on 11 or 12 points, behind only Aston Villa, and Man United, with several top teams playing tomorrow. George Graham must be relishing the challenge, and the opportunities in front of him. It was great to be singing all the way home!
· Brian Judson's preview
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