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Sunderland v Spurs, 14.04.01


Sunderland scorers:-
Kilbane, 3
Quinn, 12

Spurs scorers:-
Clemence, 52
Doherty, 75, 88

Referee:- David Elleray

Attendance:- 48,029

Sunderland (4-4-2):- Sorenson; Carteron, Craddock, Thome, Gray; Arca, Hutchison, Schwarz, Kilbane; Quinn (sub Williams, 67), Phillips

Subs not used:- Macho (GK); Varga; Thirlwell, Butler

Booked:- Arca

Spurs (3-5-2, reverting to 4-4-2 at half time):- Sullivan; Young, Perry, King (sub Gardner, 19); Carr, Davies (sub Piercy, 85), Sherwood, Leonhardsen (sub Korsten, 46), Clemence; Rebrov, Doherty

Subs not used:- Walker; Thelwell

Booked:- Doherty, Young

Easter is of course a celebration of re-birth and new life. After 12 minutes it looked like being a slaughter for a side performing as badly as I have seen them this season, whilst they retreated in the face of the Sunderland attack. The Black Cats went two up in no time, and Spurs did not even muster a shot on goal in that first period. It was shades of Portman Road, when we thought we would be cheering our first shot in the second half.

Little did we know of the ability for Glenn Hoddle to rally his troops at half time and make radical and successful tactical changes. Here is a man willing to use his substitutes in good time, and to great effect. Gardner for King was enforced, but Korsten for Leonhardsen at the interval was a revelation. Willem played in his natural position for one of those rare occasions, and we saw him playing at his best, when he ran at defenders, and frightened the loanee right back Carteron, whilst giving Thome and Craddock something to think about too! At the same time, Glenn gave up on the ineffective 3-5-2, which left insufficient power in the middle, switching Luke Young to left back, and Stephen Clemence to the middle where he does play best. Together he and Sherwood got a grip on the game, and the power and fortunes of the game were switched.

Gary Doherty's cult status increased yet again, as he was a two-goal hero to give rise to the question as to where he plays best. The fact is that this Irishman gives his all to the cause, wherever he plays, and for that is more than half way to winning the fans' acclaim.

Perhaps it was the never ending drone of Profokiev's "Montagues and Capulets" that drove Spurs into such initial submission, but with only 3 minutes gone the lead was surrendered. The attack started on the left, and Clemence had been drawn into the middle to mark Quinn. Quinn was able to beat him easily and nod the ball out to Carteron, whose cross found Kilbane unmarked at the back post, able to stab home with ease.

Ledley King was incapacitated in a clash of heads with Kilbane, but was soldiering on when Sunderland went two up, with only 12 minutes gone. A free kick was conceded on the right edge of the area. Hutchison slipped the ball to Schwarz, whose cracking shot was parried by Sullivan, but only into the path of Quinn, who had an easy finish.

Anthony Gardner replaced Ledley, but the Spurs defence still looked shaky for a while under the threat of Quinn and Phillips. Quinn's aerial power, and Phillips' clever flicks caused a little mayhem. However, as the half proceeded, Sherwood managed to slow the game down significantly, and whilst not threatening, at least Spurs held their own, and looked like they might not be thrashed, after all.

Once again, Sherwood was subjected to so much stick by fans around me, but the fact is he was our best player in that first half, and saw a lot of the ball. Spurs only decent attack came from a Sherwood lofted ball for Davies, whose low cross was sent for a corner resulting in a minute's pressure for Spurs!

Spurs got back in the game seven minutes into the second half, with an exquisite goal. Korsten picked up the ball on the left, and cut inside with a mazy run (a la Ginola). He switched the play to Carr on the right, and three single touches from Carr, Davies and Clemence (who sidefooted home) resulted in the goal. From then on, Spurs looked the only team in it. Korsten led another fine attack and good pressure for Spurs, but a Clemence corner was countered by Sunderland as Quinn beat Carr in the air, and Perry left Arca too much space. Sullivan was equal to Arca's effort though.

Doherty should have equalised for Spurs on 66 minutes, when a Clemence free-kick was flicked to the back post, and Gary put a free header wide. Quinn was then replaced, and most of the threat was diminished. It should be mentioned here that Anthony Gardner was having a hero's game, winning most aerial, and physical attacks. I heard fans' comments later suggesting that he had been withheld from the side (by you know who) for "political" reasons, but he certainly has come on a bomb, and has fine future, without a doubt.

Korsten forced a fine save from Sorenson, when he latched onto a Sherwood ball. His powerful left foot drive would otherwise have hit the roof of the net. Then with fifteen minutes to go, we were ecstatic! Anthony Gardner started the move from the back with some determined play. Sherwood headed the ball powerfully ahead of Doherty who was forty yards from goal. Gary ran the distance with a defender on his back, and then gently hit the ball to Sorenson's left into the net! 2-2! Who would have believed it?

Phillips nearly regained the lead for the home side, as the Spurs defence was beaten by a chipped pass. Sullivan was brave as always, and stood up till the last minutes, then diving to deprive Phillips of the ball, and the coup de gras. Here is another benefit of the new manager - I cannot recall seeing the predecessor (I vow to try not to mention his name) responding to observation of the reserve side, but I did see Glenn and John Gorman at Wednesday night's game, where John Piercy had an effective game at the back of midfield. His reward was to replace Simon Davies (who was a little below par today) for the closing stages. Davies is a flair player, but I feel lacks a little pace to cope with counter-attacks, and also some of the defensive attributes needed in midfield. On the other hand - who does that remind you of?

Having had to sit and endure that first half in near silence, the Spurs fans were in hearty voice throughout the second half, and they were rewarded with a slightly comical winner with just two minutes left. It started with a clever midfield flick from Rebrov to Luke Young on the left. Luke found Korsten, and Willem was away again! It looked as if he was going to provide the finish, but he half stumbled his way into the area, nearly lost the ball, but managed to slide it to Doherty, who had been tracking him, and who had an easy three yard finish!

The home fans skulked away, whilst the Spurs players and fans rejoiced in this - only the second away league win of the season, and our first league double!

In just two games, Hoddle has lifted his injury ridden side into the top half of the Premiership, and above his previous club already! Now Glenn, what can you do about that old Chelsea hoodoo?

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