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Spurs v Derby, 15.10.01

FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
MONDAY 15TH OCTOBER, 2001
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (2) DERBY COUNTY 1 (1)

Spurs scorers:-
Ferdinand, 10
Ziege, 41
Poyet, 90

Derby scorer:-
Ravanelli, 15

Referee:- Mark Halsey

Attendance:- 30,148

Teams:-
Spurs (3-5-2):- Sullivan; Perry, Richards, King; Taricco, Freund, Anderton, Poyet, Ziege; Sheringham (Capt.), Ferdinand (sub Rebrov, 86)

Subs not used:- Keller; Thatcher; Sherwood, Davies

No bookings

Derby (3-5-2);- Feuer; Mawene, Riggott, Higginbottom; Valakari, Murray (sub Kinkladze, 61), Burley (Capt), Powell, Johnson; Burton (sub Christie, 70), Ravanelli

Subs not used:- Oakes (GK); Elliott, Boertien

Booked:- Mawene, Ravanelli (both fouls)

Spurs so dominated this game it was like watching a cat toying with a captured mouse, but when Gus Poyet headed Taricco's 35th minute cross onto the crossbar, one thought it was going to be "one of those days". At that time, the score was 1-1, after Fabrizio Ravanelli had equalised Les Ferdinand's opener, and despite a lead before half time through a well-worked goal scored by Ziege, it was not until Poyet's stupendous injury time lob of the 6ft 6in loan goalkeeper that the crowd could relax, as Spurs flagged somewhat in the second period.

Once again Glenn Hoddle resisted any temptation to introduce fresh legs until too late, but in the space of his four minutes on the pitch Sergei Rebrov nearly scored twice. Surely he and Simon Davies could have been given more of a run?

The Spurs hoodoo in front of Sky's cameras seems to have been shaken off. Their win at Sunderland was their first away Sky live win for 6 years, and the television audience will have been pleased tonight, as there was plenty of classy entertaining football on display from one side at least. As early as the second minute Christian Ziege created the first chance for Spurs, as he cut inside from the wing and threaded the ball to Poyet. Gus seemed to be in a good scoring position, but he chose to try and set Teddy up, but Ted curled his shot wide.

Four minutes later, Spurs built the play nicely from left to right, and Sheringham crossed to Ziege whose powerful shot was tipped over for a corner. Taricco is filling Stephen Carr's position quite well these days, and Carr will have to fight for his place back when fit. Taricco's cross was turned in by Ferdinand, and when he received the saved shot, he passed to Teddy who hit home, but was adjudged offside. Never mind, we thought - a goal is bound to come soon, and it did. The build up came steadily from the back, with Ledley King heavily involved. The ball was pushed out to Ziege, whose strong low cross was met by Les with a powerful shot. This was the sort of cross that Les thrives upon, with the ball in no man's land between the keeper and in front of the striker (Les).

Dean Richards was less convincing today, in my view, as he misjudged the bounce of one long ball, and then missed a cross to allow a shot to Sullivan from Ravanelli. It was Ledley King who was surprised by the Italian on the quarter-hour mark. Ledley looked in control of the situation being between the striker and goal. Neil Sullivan may have fallen asleep slightly as he probably assumed like the rest of us, that the defender would make a routine clearance. However, somehow, the "White Feather" got a low shot between King's legs, across Sullivan and into the corner of the net. Sullivan was rarely to be threatened thereafter, except once in the second half when he had to rush out to save at the feet of an attacker who had been gifted the ball by Anderton.

The action in front of the Derby goal at the Park Lane End was continuous. First Anderton and Poyet combined to set up Teddy who had space and time on the left of the area, but allowed Feuer to close him down and block his shot. Then Freund (of all people) switched the play from right to left sending a long ball to Ledley, who again set up Ziege for a cross. Les headed the cross down, and Poyet just failed to get a touch, flying into the back of the net and a stanchion with his momentum.

After 30 minutes Teddy latched onto another Taricco cross, and the keeper did well to punch the ball round for a corner. Truly, Spurs were firing on all cylinders at this time. It's just that they should have been three or four up by now. After Poyet hit the bar, Spurs did take a well deserved lead before the interval with a beautifully worked goal. Gus Poyet did well to win the ball in the middle, and pass to Sheringham. Teddy sent a perfect ball inside Murray, and Ziege had a relatively easy left foot finish to regain his place as top scorer for the club so far this season. Glenn certainly seems to know how to get the best out of Christian, who by now had cemented his relationship with the crowd, as they chanted his name incessantly.

Spurs dominated possession after the break, but had little to show for it. Teddy had several attempts at emulating Mister Beckham's free kicks, and the closest he came was after 59 minutes, when Poyet was shoved off a shot, and Ted curled a super kick just wide of the keeper's left post. Sheringham had another effort deflected for a corner before he tried to set up Taricco appearing in the middle of the box. Mauricio had two touched but just could not get any power on a shot.

It was even beginning to look like Derby might snatch an equaliser, as Christie replaced Burton and offered more support to Ravanelli. However, Spurs put the pressure on again in the closing stages, as Poyet had a diving header blocked for a corner, and then in the closing minutes collected a loose ball from Mawene, and nonchalantly chipped the keeper from fully 30 yards. Feuer did not move a muscle. Either he was convinced the ball was going out of play, or he was totally bamboozled by the height and drop of the ball. I suspect the latter to be the case, and Gus celebrated with Gusto, throwing his shirt way up in the air, in a manner that would have earnt a booking until the moderation of the rules this season. This was Poyet's first league goal for his new side, and what a goal it was. I felt too, that his performance in the middle of the park was one of his best for us so far. He is more suited in the thick of things, rather than on the flank.

The league table starts to take shape now, and Spurs need to win one of their more difficult games coming up, to improve on their 12th place.

Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
Declan Mulcahy's Last Five Stats for this game can still be read here
Check the current team appearances, cards and scorers in all competitions

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