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Match Reports
Tranmere v Spurs, 09.10.01


Sheringham (pen), 20
Anderton, 39
Poyet, 49
Rebrov, 81

Attendance:- 12,386

Referee:- Phil Dowd

Tranmere (4-4-2):- Murphy; Yates (Capt), Sharps, Allen, Roberts; Parkinson, Mellon, Henry (sub Hinds, 68), Flynn; N'Diaye (sub Hume, 61), Barlow

Subs not used:- Achterburg (GK); Challinor, Allison

Booked:- Mellon, Henry, Sharps (all fouls)
Sent off (2nd Yellow):- Mellon

Spurs (4-4-2);- Sullivan; Taricco, Perry, King, Thatcher; Poyet (sub Leonhardsen, 82), Freund (sub Sherwood, 71), Anderton, Davies; Sheringham (Capt), Ferdinand, (sub Rebrov, 57)

Subs not used:- Keller; Thelwell

Booked:- Poyet (ungentlemanly conduct), Sherwood, Anderton (both fouls) Sent off (2nd Yellow): Sherwood (Dissent)

Glenn Hoddle's Spurs gave second division Tranmere a master class tonight, and at the same time laid a few ghosts to rest. Last time Glenn brought a team here (Southampton on 20th February), his team surrendered a three goal lead, and of course in their last game, Spurs did the same thing. This time last year Spurs produced a dismal performance to lose at home to first division Birmingham, and it is interesting to compare those two performances. Glenn has produced a side that does not run away from mediocre attackers, that has learnt to pass the ball constructively from the back (even Perry was making targeted passes), and a team that when things are going well plays skilful and entertaining passing football. It really was worth the 200 mile trip to Prenton Park!

Tranmere's fans' hospitality disappeared after they considered that Teddy Sheringham had cheated them by getting the referee to award a penalty after 20 minutes, when Teddy went down under a challenge from Micky Mellon. These fans also considered that Gus Poyet had cheated when he had the audacity to collapse under a further foul by Mellon who got sent off for this second bookable offence after only 31 minutes. Poyet had already mysteriously been booked for allegedly diving, when in my view he had been fouled by Yates. Had the home fans found time to cheer their own team, maybe they would have had more to show for their efforts, but Neil Sullivan was hardly bothered all night. Mellon's first booking was for a foul on Ferdinand, and it has to be said that there was a thin line between over-exuberance and indiscipline to have a player sent off so quickly. In the second half, Dave Watson's side relaxed, and played their football, realising that to win promotion from the second division is a more important goal for them this term.

Ben Thatcher made his first appearance since last November, and settled in well. Tranmere did have an early moment of excitement as a Yates cross just eluded their strikers, but Spurs were soon displaying superiority, mainly through man of the match Sheringham, who was to be found all over the park, inspiring his team with words and actions. He won a battle with Yates to set up Gus Poyet after 7 minutes, but the shot went straight to young Murphy in goal.

Ferdinand (who spent his customary minute or two sprawled on the turf!) headed down a long kick for Teddy who shot just wide to the left of the keeper. The penalty incident came when Teddy was trying to shepherd a ball out for a Spurs corner, and he went down after getting a nudge in the back from Mellon. It was probably as much of a penalty, as the England free kick was a foul last Saturday, but hey - they call it experience, don't they? Sir Ted fired home to the right of Murphy, who had gone the wrong way.

Sean Flynn did make a mess of a free header from a free kick, to send it wide across the goal, but the action was mostly at the other end in front of the vocal Spurs fans, who had a whale of a night. Taricco was crunched outside the area, and Sheringham took the free kick (in Beckham mould), but Murphy stretched to his right to push the ball away. The second goal came after a deflected Taricco cross was pushed back by Ted for Darren Anderton to hit a snap shot into the net from the edge of the box.

Teddy continued to shine after the break, and his skill set up Simon Davies, who shook off the defender and hit a right foot shot across the keeper, but wide. A beautiful move, prominently featuring Steffen Freund, led to an increased lead. Freund made a run down the right having given the ball to Taricco, and then crossed for Gus Poyet to stretch out his right foot and prod the ball home. The home support was subdued thereon.

Sherwood replaced Freund, and got a quick booking for a late challenge, before Teddy gloriously dummied so that a cross from the right reached Sergei Rebrov, lurking at the back post to finish off the goal action. Sherwood was harshly sent off after arguing that he should not have been penalised for handball by referee Dowd, with some justice, as the ball was fired under his arm from short range. Nonetheless, the referee (who was fairly criticised by both managers after the game) was not to be dissuaded from showing Tim his full set of cards.

Spurs were rewarded for their fine display of football, and for playing a full strength side. Just across the Mersey, the cup holders were going out to Grimsby!

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