Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey Match Report - Leicester City v Spurs, 05.05.01
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Leicester v Spurs, 05.05.2001

SATURDAY 5TH MAY, 2001
FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
LEICESTER CITY 4 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (0)

Leicester scorers:-
Rowett, 42
Sturridge, 56
Guppy, 82
Savage (pen), 90

Spurs scorers:-
Davies, 54
Carr, 61

Referee:- Mike Dean

Attendance:- 21,056

Teams:-
Leicester (3-5-2):- Flowers; Marshall, Rowett (sub Delaney, 80), Sinclair; Impey, Savage (Capt.), Lewis, Guppy, Davidson; Akinbiyi (sub Benjamin, 77), Sturridge

Subs not used:- Royce (GK); Jones, Gunnlaugsson

Booked:- Sturridge (foul on Gardner), Savage (Dissent), Sinclair (Foul)

Spurs (4-4-2):- Sullivan; Carr, Thelwell, Gardner, Young; Davies, Sherwood (Capt), Clemence, Leonhardsen; Doherty, Ferdinand

Subs not used:- Walker; Toner; Piercy, Etherington, McEwen

Booked:- Ferdinand, Young (both for dissent)

As I left Filbert Street amongst the Leicester faithful, I was nudged in the back by a local who said "In forty years of watching football, I've never seen such a pathetic display of football". He was referring to Tottenham, and after telling him where to go, I thought that was rich coming from a supporter of a team with a second rate ground, Nationwide chants (as in "You're sh*t, aaah!" when the opposing goalkeeper takes a kick), and a team that has lost 9 consecutive games, starting with an ignominious defeat in the quarter finals of the FA Cup against a second division side (Wycombe). To cap it all, the Leicester programme (which is an excellent publication) resorts to quoting "Zenith Data Systems Northern Area Finalists 1991-2" as one of its limited honours.

The friendly family pre-match atmosphere soon dissipated on the appearance of the Spurs anti-hero, Captain for the day, Robbie Savage, who received ritual abuse, but who (sadly for us) had the last laugh when he slotted home an ill-awarded penalty in the last minute. Leicester were missing Elliott, Taggart and Izzett, but were not carrying the degree of injuries that we anticipated. Leicester's attacking 3-5-2 overwhelmed Spurs in the first half, but our stricken side fought back gamely in the second half, and I thought deserved a draw.

We were under the cosh for some time, as Impey on the right and Guppy on the left stretched our young defence. Both Gardner and Thelwell acquitted themselves well for much of the time, but they were often out-fought physically by Akinbiyi and Sturridge, who seemed to be allowed some licence by the referee. Sherwood was the only midfield player to do anything in the first half, as the other three suffered poor touch, and passing. Sturridge hit the bar with a header after 4 minutes following a Guppy cross from the right, with Sullivan beaten. The ex-Derby striker forced a blocking save 20 minutes later, when Akinbiyi forced Gardner off the ball, fed to Impey, who found Sturridge with his cross.

At last Spurs managed an attack to speak of, when Gary Doherty did well down the right, got to the bye line then crossed low to the middle. Ferdinand pushed the ball back, and Tim Sherwood's powerful low drive was saved at the second attempt by Flowers. Sturridge caused more problems for Spurs as he ran to the right edge of the area, cut back, then hit a shot across goal, that Akinbiyi just failed to meet. The home side were certainly determined to put on a show for their last home game of the season.

Too often Spurs moves were breaking down needlessly in the middle, and one such attack failed with Doherty. Savage carried the ball on the break, and found Guppy on the left in space. Guppy showed confidence with a long curling shot that whisked past the far post. Akinbiyi again outfought Gardner to win a corner, from which Leicester took the half time lead. Guppy took it, and the ball was sent back from the far post to Rowett, who fired in off the post. Spurs had a good chance to equalise when Carr threaded the ball to Doherty, making ground on the right. His cross found Clemence in the six yard box, but he scooped over with his right foot.

Spurs showed more determination and flair in the second half, with some good passing movements. Les Ferdinand had a shot cleared in front of the line, before Neil Sullivan had to save at short range from Sturridge. Then we were level, after a good build up down the right. Leo found Simon Davies, who got in front of the defence to hit a good right foot shot across Flowers and into the net.

The equaliser was so short lived as Leicester responded almost immediately. Once again Impey succeeded down the right, and Sturridge met his low cross at the near post to back-heel past Sullivan. Spurs equalised for a second time after an hour, when a free kick was awarded 30 yards out. Savage argued (and got booked for his trouble), and the referee moved the ball forward 10 yards. Sherwood, Clemence, and Carr conspired, and Clemence ran over the ball, before Stephen Carr stepped up and lifted the ball over the wall, and into the net to the right of Flowers in a Beckham-like fashion.

Delaney replaced the tiring Rowett, and nearly scored with his first touch, but he headed to Sullivan's hands after Impey and Sturridge did their work. Too soon though, Guppy popped up at the back post to stick the ball home too easily, after the ball yet again was fed from the right. Fans around me were claiming offside, but they were wasting their breath. The home win was sealed with a penalty awarded when Davidson seemed to dive between Thelwell and another defender. We have often seen another number 14 get carded for such attempts to convince the officials, but this referee, needed no convincing as he coolly pointed to the spot. Savage stepped up and completed our misery, and then paraded in front of the away support in his celebrations.

Simon Davies carried the ball well to the left side of the field, and crossed to Les Ferdinand, who should have headed home, but missed the target. Needless to say we did not stay for the end of season festivities, but so confined are the access and egress routes at this stadium, that they were nearly over anyway by the time we got out onto the street. Leicester have one more season at Filbert Street before they move to a new stadium.

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