FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
SUNDAY 21ST OCTOBER, 2001
NEWCASTLE UNITED 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (2)
Referee:- Alan Wiley
Newcastle (3-5-2):- Given; O'Brien, Dabizas, Distin; Solano (sub Lualua, 74), Acuna (sub Bassedas, 74), Speed, Hughes (sub Ameobi, 80), Robert; Shearer (Capt), Bellamy
Subs not used:- Harper (GK); Elliott
Booked:- Bellamy (Dissent), Dabizas (Foul)
Spurs (3-5-2):- Sullivan; Perry, Richards, King; Taricco (sub Davies, 49), Freund, Anderton (sub Sherwood, 88), Poyet, Ziege; Sheringham (Capt), Ferdinand (sub Rebrov, 77)
Subs not used:- Keller; Thatcher
Booked:- Freund (Foul)
It had been over 8 years since Spurs last win at St. James Park, when Teddy Sheringham scored the only goal on the opening day of the 93-94 season. Despite some recent large reversals, Spurs do in fact have the best record of any visiting side in league matches against the Magpies, and they lived up to that reputation today with another outstanding performance. They dominated the first half with some fine passing movements, and two early goals enabled them to sit back a little and defend their lead, having learnt some recent lessons! Bobby Robson tried to mimic his former England star Hoddle's 3-5-2, but Newcastle fans were not impressed with the efforts of their team, as Solano in particular struggled in the wing back role foisted upon him. Transfer-seeking Rob Lee had apparently gone sick shortly before the game, and no doubt some late manoeuvring was necessary to adjust the home side.
The Spurs defence was magnificent, as the back three supported by Taricco and Ziege (and Davies in the second half) tackled superbly to frustrate Shearer and his gang. Too often the home side sent long passes way over Shearer, and the hope no doubt was that Bellamy would run onto them, but he was countered ably by Spurs.
Taricco had an early shot, as he ran onto an Anderton ball from a deep position, but his shot was wide of the left post. Bellamy had an effort smothered at the near post as he met a Solano cross, but the Toon were not to bother Sullivan in any meaningful way for the rest of the first half. Anderton gave Spurs an early lead after 8 minutes. Taricco's determination had won a free kick down by the corner flag, and Anderton's first shot from Ziege's kick was blocked, only to fall once again to his feet. Darren's shot was deflected in by Speed, but the goal is credited to the midfielder.
There was little goalmouth action, but Spurs were looking so comfortable on the ball, and Newcastle were pretty awful, as passes went astray, or needlessly into touch. The lead was increased on 20 minutes, after a lovely build up, featuring Teddy, whose pass to Taricco was fed to Anderton, who sent a deep cross to the back post for Gus Poyet to rise magnificently and head over Given. Newcastle had tried to whip up home support by encouraging flags and banners, but, not for the first time the Toon army was pretty quiet in their 50,000+ home, and in fact booed off their team at the interval, whilst Spurs were roundly applauded by their support.
Taricco had to be replaced by Davies within minutes of the re-start, and Simon acquitted himself well in all departments, making two important headed clearances. One was a back header to clear a ball that had beaten Sullivan, and the other was a clearance off the line from a corner. At the other end Davies had received a ball from Freund to make his way into the box, and cut back a ball which was inviting any one of Poyet, Sheringham or Ferdinand to finish it off. No-one was quite able to make a finish though.
The chances for Spurs now became rarer and rarer, as the home side threw everything at us. Sullivan parried a long shot from Speed, then made a brave save at the feet of Shearer. Shearer then took a quick throw, and Bellamy's cross beat Sullivan, but Ziege was on hand to head for a corner. Les Ferdinand was replaced by Rebrov, who was fouled on the edge of the box by Dabizas (earning a yellow card). Teddy Sheringham rattled the bar with a beauty of a kick. It was only in the last ten minutes that Newcastle really looked like scoring. Bellamy evaded Ziege to have a one on one against Sullivan, but managed to put his shot outside the post, when to score looked easier. Robert crossed for another Speed effort, and Rebrov had a couple of chances at the other end first firing over from short range, then having his shot beaten out by Given in a one on one after Sergei picked up a Ziege clearance. Lualua hit a shot into the side netting, and just before the whistle, Neil Sullivan flew to his left to save a diving header from Dabizas.
Spurs have now won three games on the trot, scoring 9 and conceding only 1 goal. They have leapt into the top half, and understandably ride on the crest of a wave of confidence
· 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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