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Spurs v Blackburn, 01.01.02

FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
TUESDAY 1ST JANUARY, 2002
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1) BLACKBURN ROVERS 0 (0)

Scorer:-
Richards, 44

Referee:- Jeff Winter

Attendance:- 35,131

Teams:-
Spurs (3-5-2):- Keller:- Perry, Richards, King; Taricco, Freund, Anderton, Poyet (sub Sherwood, 84), Ziege; Sheringham (Capt), Ferdinand

Subs not used:- Sullivan; Gardner; Davies; Rebrov

No bookings

Blackburn (4-4-2):- Friedel; Neill, Berg, Short, Bjornebye (sub Dunn, 60); Gillespie (sub Hignett, 70), Flitcroft (Capt), Tugay, Duff; Jensen (sub Ostenstad, 79), Cole

Subs not used:- Kelly; Taylor

Booked:- Neill, Tugay

Andy Cole had a barren debut here today, and a Dean Richards header just before half time was enough to seal a much needed three points for Spurs, who should have had two more goals in the first period. However, the home fans were left biting their fingernails, as Blackburn were allowed to come forward for most of the second half in which Spurs played like an away side, and not a very good one at that. The frustrations of the game were epitomised in a rare counter-attack led by Ferdinand who hit a cross field ball that Sheringham should have reached. Teddy however, obviously decided to save his energy, and leave it to Freund to make ground. In the end the ball was too easily cleared by the defence.

It was a strangely subdued game and atmosphere for much of the time, as if everyone was suffering a New Years Day hangover, but Kasey Keller did not have to touch the ball for 12 minutes, as only Spurs threatened to score in the first half. Freund was the first to have a shot, and it was good one as well, after he shared a neat 1-2 with Sheringham on the right side of the area, before Steffen fired wide across goal. The T-shirts remain on hold! Next it was Ferdinand who tried an exciting powerful dipping shot after Anderton put him through. Friedel was not bothered on this occasion though. Both sides featured an American in goal, both of whom did their National Team quest no harm at all.

A good move on 8 minutes began with Anderton and Ferdinand sending the ball to Ziege on the left flank. Ziege crossed, and Teddy had a shot blocked from close range. A follow up shot went wide from Spurs. On the quarter hour mark there was an incredible goalmouth scramble, as first Sheringham then Ferdinand had close range shots somehow saved or blocked by Friedel and his defence. Anderton had a shot on target from a Ziege long throw, then returned the compliment to put Ziege in space in side the box. Ziege's first touch was poor as the ball ran harmlessly to Friedel.

Spurs took a deserved lead just before the break, when Anderton took a corner he had won after being put through by Sheringham. There was plenty of movement from Spurs as the kick was taken, and Richards met it at the near post to glance home for his second goal in our colours.

It was different story in the second half. Taricco had been having difficulty restraining Damien Duff on the left wing. This was the man given the freedom to run through our half and score at Ewood Park. Ten minutes into the second half, Duff was able to put Matt Jansen through, and Richards did well to prevent the striker getting a shot on goal. On balance, Richards probably earnt Man of the Match today, but each of our back three played with confidence. It was virtually everyone in front of them that failed to either hold or pass the ball effectively for the rest of the game. Anderton worked his socks off, and I would excuse him from criticism.

Cole was at least starting to see a bit more of the ball, but drew a laugh when he kicked air, as a Gillespie cross passed him. Cole combined with Jansen to allow room for a long curling shot from Tugay, playing a prominent role in the middle for Graham Souness. Souness matched Hoddle's 3-5-2 formation by withdrawing Bjornebye in favour of England under-21 Dunn, and Blackburn hardly looked back from there on in. There were one or two attacks from Spurs, but I cannot remember Friedel having to make a second half save. Kasey Keller however did have to stretch to a Cole header in the midst of another scramble following a corner.

Old hands like Poyet and Ferdinand, not to mention Captain Sheringham, looked in need of replacement, but the only substitution made was Sherwood for Poyet, as the home fans whistled for the game to end, remembering the late, late equaliser at Villa Park last Saturday.

At half time, Martin Chivers introduced two old favourites to the crowd, and had a brief interview on the pitch with Stevie Perryman, and Keith Burkinshaw. Perryman drew just about the biggest cheer of the day. We have retained seventh place in the league, and are just two points behind Chelsea who lost 4-2 at home to Southampton today!

Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
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