Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey Match Report - Spurs v Sunderland, 04.11.2000
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Spurs v Sunderland, 04.11.2000

FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 4TH NOVEMBER, 2000
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1) SUNDERLAND 1 (0)

Spurs scorers:-
Sherwood, 43,
Armstrong, 78

Sunderland scorer:-
Hutchison, 63

Referee:- Dermot Gallagher

Attendance:- 36,016

Teams:-
Spurs (3-5-2):- Sullivan; Perry, Young, Vega; Carr, Anderton, Sherwood (Capt.), Clemence, Thatcher; Rebrov (sub Armstrong, 71), Ferdinand

Subs not used:- Walker; Thelwell, King, Dominguez

Booked:- Thatcher (Dissent)
Sent off:- Thatcher (for dissent and a second bookable offence, after 89 minutes)

Sunderland (4-4-2):- Sorensen; Makin, Varga, Craddock, Gray (Capt.); Hutchison, Rae, Williams, Arca (sub Oster, 76); Quinn, Phillips

Subs not used:- Macho (GK); Thirlwell, Reddy, Dichio

Booked:- Craddock (foul on Rebrov)

Perhaps contrary to expectations, the crowd got behind the team (including Ramon Vega) from the start, and got a good response from the players who did make what is becoming a habitual good start to the game. Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen made many good and two great saves to deprive Spurs of what should have been a convincing lead in the first half. However, he did keep his side on level terms, and as they grew in confidence, adopting a patient and successful approach in midfield, the visitors could themselves have gained the lead after 36 minutes. Ramon Vega (the villain of the last week for Spurs), needlessly handled the ball in the area, but Kevin Phillips stepped up and drove the ball well over the bar. Spurs soon took advantage through Tim Sherwood, and then despite an equaliser from Sunderland man of the match Don Hutchison, Chris Armstrong capped his first appearance of the season (replacing the tiring Rebrov) with a super finish.

Graham started with the formation he used in the second half against Birmingham, and Luke Young for me was the best Spurs player on the park, as he harried away, won many determined challenges, and on the whole put the ball into intelligent areas. On the other hand, one always felt concerned when Vega and/or Thatcher had to defend. Hutchison played on the right flank for Sunderland, and was able to beat Thatcher with impunity, and embarrassingly so at times. Quinn as to be expected was always a handful, but Phillips was kept pretty quiet by the defence. "Elbows" Rae had an effective game in the middle, and really was the only target of the boo boys today, who remembered his violent challenge on Ginola in the corresponding fixture at the end of last season.

The Spurs midfield seemed uncertain of their responsibilities in the new system, and there were a number of disagreements between personnel on the pitch. Sherwood played a forward supporting role, which perhaps interfered with the defensive abilities when it was left to Anderton and Clemence to resist the build up play from Sunderland. The defence could not make their minds up who was going forward for dead ball situations, so perhaps the training ground drilling had not been as full as possible.

Spurs had three good chances within a couple of minutes. First Ferdinand goalward header from a Carr cross was saved by Sorensen, and then the Dane thwarted Ramon Vega who shot from short range from a corner. Next to try was Anderton with a low shot into the side netting. There was a nice exchange between Anderton and Rebrov, and Ferdinand had another headed chance go wide from Anderton's cross.

The early signs had been good, but Sunderland settled down, and began to exert some pressure upon the Spurs nervous defence. Hutchison did get the ball into the net on 14 minute, but was adjudged to be offside. Next came confusion in the Spurs midfield as about 6 players go too close to each other. Phillips was allowed the freedom of the right wing, and his cross was headed over the bar by Don Hutchison. Sullivan had to get down smartly to a Phillips free kick, conceded on the edge of the area by Vega. Almost on the half hour, Thatcher was left behind by Hutchison, and Vega failed to meet his cross, leaving Quinn with a chance beyond the back post. Quinn stretched to reach, and luckily for Spurs was unable to hit the target.

Spurs got their act together again, and a Rebrov cross was headed out as far as Darren Anderton, but once again Sorensen was equal to the shot. Thatcher needlessly got booked for kicking the ball away, and shortly came the stupid handball by Vega. There was no great pressure on him, but he actually patted the ball into the air from a low position. Phillips didn't hang about, and his shot was at least four feet above the goal. Spurs nearly made the visitors pay straight away, but Sorensen made a cracking save from a powerful Ferdinand shot.

Rebrov made a super reverse pass for Stephen Carr, who got a low shot on target, but without his usual power. Carr seemed to have been brought down as he ran into the box within a minute, but Gallagher was adamant there had been no foul. However, Spurs took the lead from the corner taken by Anderton, as Sherwood pounced at close range to fire home. The players went off to resounding cheers for a change, whilst referee Gallagher got the opposite reaction, and plenty of protection from the stewards. Significantly, the Jumbotron did not replay Carr's penalty appeal incident at half time.

There was less action in the second half, and Sorensen was hardly tested in this period, although Spurs did demonstrate a degree of skill in the middle, but failed at the last hurdle. Spurs failed to clear in defence and Rae hit a threatening long range effort. The equaliser came after 63 minutes, when Carr was penalised for bringing down Phillips on the right side, after a quick counter-attack by Sunderland. Rae took the free kick and Hutchison rose beyond the back post to head home.

Chris Armstrong got a hero's welcome, and within 7 minutes of entering the arena, had got on the score sheet. This time it was Spurs playing like the away side, as they swiftly countered, and Armstrong ran onto Sherwood's long ball, got into the area, and then shot between Sorensen's legs to give us the crucial lead. There were a couple more chances for Spurs, as firstly Ferdinand rose to Carr's cross, but headed just outside the post. Les then cleverly flicked over the defence and Stephen Clemence (who deserves credit for a gutsy performance) latched onto the pass, but hit the ball over the bar.

Thatcher's sending off seemed a little harsh. He was challenging for the ball on the edge of the Sunderland area, but argued with Gallagher's decision to award a foul against him. The second yellow was brandished, and I expect Thatcher will now miss Spurs next home game against Liverpool in front of the Sky cameras on 19th November.

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