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Bolton v Spurs, 20.04.02

FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 20TH APRIL, 2002
BOLTON WANDERERS 1 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1)

Bolton scorer:-
Holdsworth, 70

Spurs scorer:-
Iversen, 8

Referee:- Mr M. Messias

Attendance:- 25,817

Teams:-
Bolton (4-1-3-2):- Jaaskelainen; N'Gotty, Bergsson (Capt), Whitlow, Charlton; Southall; Frandsen, Nolan, Djorkaeff; Wallace (sub Ricketts, 56), Bobic (sub Holdsworth, 56)

Subs not used:- Poole; Barness, Espartero

Booked:- Whitlow (foul on Iversen)

Spurs (3-5-2):- Keller; Perry, Gardner, Thatcher; Davies, Anderton, Sherwood, Poyet, Taricco; Sheringham (Capt), Iversen (sub Rebrov, 46 (sub Doherty, 84))

Subs not used:- Sullivan; Clemence, Etherington

Booked:- Iversen, Perry, (fouls) Gardner (dissent)

If THFC insist in imposing exorbitant season ticket rises, then perhaps someone might persuade the players that it would be a good idea to get out of second gear to encourage next season's support! If only the players would display the degree of passion and loyalty that their support does, we would all be happy, but then - that's football. It's not that this was such a bad performance, as a draw was the least we deserved, but what irritated me was that Bolton were there for the taking, with many misplaced passes or gifts to our own men. Not for the first time this season, Spurs were guilty of over-elaboration, and then profligacy in front of goal. Sergei Rebrov suffered the embarrassment of being a second half substitute, replaced by Doherty for the last few minutes. Rebrov looked a player woefully short of confidence, and even when Gus Poyet set him up for what should have been an easy finish, the Ukrainian managed to waste the opportunity.

As for Bolton, their loan acquisitions, Bobic and Djorkaeff, were prominent, and the Frenchman, together with Kevin Nolan teased the Spurs defence with probing passes down the channels, which all too often found their own man. The back three played well enough, but Davies had a relatively quiet game, and Taricco was somewhat languid for much of the time. Spurs are looking more than a little tired, and allowed their opponents to see too much of the ball.

Djorkaeff created the first real chance after 5 minutes when he was tackled on the edge of the Spurs area, and Southall hit a low drive that needed a competent save from Kasey Keller. Spurs took a welcome lead after only 8 minutes, when the Bolton defence was caught out by a long Poyet pass, which left Iversen the time to round Jaaskelainen, who had ventured out of his area, and, for once, successfully finish in a one on one situation.

A Chris Perry attempt to clear fell to the feet of Frandsen some 25 yards out, and Keller had to stretch up to tip over his shot. A similar shot was also saved from Whitlow (who had already been booked for a foul on Iversen), whilst Bobic did not like Thatcher's close attention as he tried to follow-up. There was a scare for Anthony Gardner as he allowed a long ball to reach Djorkaeff, but Keller was out in time to collect from the midfielder's feet. There were one or two blatant dives from Bolton players that went unpunished, and the very partisan crowd thought they were being hard done by for most of the first half. The fact that their mascot tended to wind them up did not help, as even he suggested the referee needed glasses!

There was a moment of comedy as Djorkaeff was on the ball, in space on the right, and Tim Sherwood raced onto the field, returning from treatment, and clattered Djorkaeff without reprimand. Great fun for Spurs fans! Simon Davies sent Anderton away with a good ball, and his low cross was cleared for a corner, from which a Sherwood header was saved low by the keeper. Sherwood then provided for Iversen to send a ball to the back post, beyond which Sheringham miscued his kick completely. On the other side of the pitch, Anderton sent Taricco away on a rare run, but Iversen turned his cross wide. Iversen did not emerge in the second half, presumably due to a knock. His replacement Rebrov did tee up Poyet for a 30 yard shot three minutes after the break, which just went wide of the stanchion.

Sam Allardyce made a crafty double substitution after 56 minutes, to put a new strike force on the field, which nearly paid quick dividends when a Holdsworth short was cleared at the post by Sherwood or Thatcher. Spurs were looking like they could easily have dominated, if only they would get out of half pace. Poyet fed Davies, who had a chance to shoot, but instead gave it to the Captain, who could only dolly a kick to the keeper. Then on 69 minutes, Teddy found Poyet, who was only 10 yards out, and surely could have scored. However, he chose to give the chance to Sergei, who carried the ball too wide to his left, then gave himself a more difficult chip shot, which went over the target.

The penalty was then fully paid, when a mix up in defence by Thatcher (who otherwise had another impressive game) gave Holdsworth the chance to shoot across Keller and equalise. Taricco then tried to be too clever inside his won box, and lost the ball to Southall who shot across the target and wide. Gary Doherty replaced Rebrov and stayed up front, but it was Bolton who nearly snatched all three points when Djorkaeff (who else) chipped a free kick over all 11 Spurs men, only to see the ball clip the top of the bar and go over.

Spurs look like finishing the fourth club in London, as West Ham have 50 points (three more than us) and a game in hand. Alright that game in hand is against Arsenal, but we have to play Liverpool next week! I rather suspect that will be a show:)

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