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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Charlton v Spurs, 16.09.2000

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This preview was written by Brian Judson

Full Record of Spurs -v- Charlton Athletic

Premier         Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home             1   0   1   0     2-2    1
Away             1   1   0   0     4-1    3
Total (Prem)     2   1   1   0     6-3    4
Lge Div 1 
Home            11   6   1   4    22-15  15
Away            11   6   4   1    20-11  18
Total (Div 1)   22  12   5   5    42-26  33
Lge Div 2
Home             6   5   1   0    20-5   11
Away             6   1   0   5     5-9    2
Total (Div 2)   12   6   1   5    25-14  13
Total (Prem)     2   1   1   0     6-3    4
Total (Div 1)   22  12   5   5    42-26  33
Total (Div 2)   12   6   1   5    25-14  13
Grand Total     36  19   7  10    73-43  50

When Charlton won promotion to the Premier League at the end of last season, they did so as Champions of the First Division in a manner that suggests they are more likely to avoid the relegation struggle than on their last visit to the Premier League. In season 1998-99, they always looked likely to struggle.

We played Charlton on the first Monday of November 1998 at Tottenham, drawing 2-2. Tottenham almost made a dramatic start to the game. Anderton almost scored after barely 90 seconds of the game. Charlton then shone for a while before Tottenham suddenly woke up again.

Whilst Tottenham slumbered, Charlton snatched the lead. It was a well-planned goal. Carl Tiler sent a long ball to Mendorca. Mendorca chested the ball down to Paul Mortimer. Mortimer passed the ball to Mendorca, whose shot hit the base of the far post and rebounded to Hunt. Hunt had only to tap the ball home.

Tottenham fought back like tigers. Their tackling was sometimes ill-judged. One such tackle led to the premature departure of Rufus, who had attempted to limp on for several minutes.

Allan Nielsen equalised soon after half-time. Anderton sent Carr away down the wing. Carr's pinpoint centre was met by Nielsen, who timed his run to perfection, and crashed the ball home in a manner reminiscent of Dave Mackay.

Six minutes later, Tottenham were ahead. Fox sent Edinburgh away down the left. His centre was accurate for once and Armstrong headed home by the far post. Tiler was to blame for that goal because he should have been marking Armstrong. One cannot completely blame Tiler because Armstrong's shooting up to that point had been woeful with one attempt even ending up as a throw-in to Charlton.

Spurs seemed to think they had done enough and eased off the pressure, despite the shouts from the enraged Graham on the touch-line.

Charlton's equaliser had a touch of drama to it. Steve Jones challenged Edinburgh, who collapsed in a heap. Tottenham protested heatedly to the referee who waved play on. Jones lobbed the ball to Hunt for the latter player to sweep behind Baardsen.

Late on, Campbell was foiled when Kinsella cleared the ball off the line. Anderton saw a free-kick saved by Ilic. But, in truth, Tottenham did not deserve to win.

The return game was played on a Tuesday night in April 1999, near to the end of the season, having been postponed from its original date because of the fact we had played at Wembley in the League Cup Final.

Charlton had begun promisingly, with Mortimer crossing to the far post, Stuart volleying it back to the edge of the area and Kinsella, the captain, guiding it past a surprised Walker. Tottenham responded with panache, strolling around the lush, sodden turf in the artistic manner of Worthington Cup winners and FA Cup semi finalists.

Pringle and Hunt wasted good opportunities before Iversen equalised in the 58th minute. He exchanged short passes with Sherwood on the edge of the Charlton area and sent a low shot skidding past Petterson. Ginola was denied by Petterson's sprawling save soon after, but Campbell then headed Tottenham in front when left unmarked from Anderton's corner.

Charlton pushed on, with Walker making an instinctive save with his legs to keep out Hunt's deflected effort. Stuart also thought he had equalised, only to see Walker make another spectacular stop.

Gaps began to appear at the back, though, and Tottenham exploited them in the final minute. Nielsen released Ginola, who in turn gave Dominguez the freedom to beat Petterson. Dominguez then returned the compliment for Ginola to stroke in only his fifth goal of the season and, strangely, his first in the Premiership.

Charlton have been impressive in some games but awful in others this season. But, on their day, they look comfortable with the Premier League. There are worse teams than Charlton and I am sure most people will hope they survive for at least another season.

Their history has been one long catalogue of financial strain. They have come perilously close on a number of occasions to going out of business. Their most successful manager was Jimmy Seed, who was once a Spurs player when Spurs won the FA Cup in 1921. Seed was manager of Charlton from 1933 to September 1956 and was sacked because Charlton had made a horrible start to the 1956-57 season. Charlton won the FA Cup in 1947, which was noted for the fact the ball burst during the course of the game for the second season running.

I feel confident that we can beat Charlton tomorrow, particularly if we can ride out the storm of the first twenty minutes or so. Charlton seem to lose heart if they don't get on top in the first twenty minutes or so. But it won't be a walkover by any means.

Cheers, Brian

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