FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
SUNDAY 20TH OCTOBER, 2002
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (0) BOLTON WANDERERS 1 (0)
Keane, 58, 73
Referee:- Paul Durkin
Spurs (4-4-2):- Keller; Carr, Perry, Richards, Bunjevcevic; Davies, Freund, Redknapp, Etherington (sub Poyet, 70); Sheringham (Capt.), Keane
Subs not used:- Hirschfeld; Doherty; Acimovic, Iversen
Bolton (4-1-2-2-1):- Jaaskelainen; Barness, Bergsson (Capt.), Whitlow, Charlton; Campo (sub Holdsworth, 76); Nolan, Farrelly; Djorkaeff (sub Okocha, 73), Gardner; Ricketts
Subs not used:- Poole; Frandsen, Armstrong
Robbie Keane scored his first home goal for Tottenham and then went on to be the first Spurs player to score more than once in the same league game, since Teddy Sheringham scored two against Chelsea last September. Simon Davies rounded a terrific week off with the last minute third for Tottenham, but the home fans had needlessly been on the edge of their seats until that last goal, due to an inability to bother the keeper in the first half, and then poor markmanship (chiefly from Sheringham) in the second. As usual, Jaaskelainen had a terrific game for the Trotters, and did have to make a few saves in the second half, but Spurs should have been ahead by a street well before that clincher from Davies, who had of course scored again for Wales during the week.
Spurs go to third place, four points behind their near rivals, whilst Sam Allardyce's Bolton slipped to the bottom of the league, due to Charlton's win over Middlesbrough this afternoon. Spurs still top the "injured players league", with 8 players still absent, but they did welcome back Stephen Carr and Gus Poyet today. Carr made a welcome start, whilst Poyet replaced Matthew Etherington (himself recovering from a knock) after 70 minutes, and was to have an impact soon after his arrival. With three potential left backs on that injury list, (Ziege, Thatcher, and Taricco), Goran Bunjevcevic filled in at left back, and whilst he seemed to lack confidence at times, he too was to have important moments with regular assistance to the front line.
Bolton came with a clear strategy to get men behind the ball, with Djorkaeff and Gardner playing either side behind the lone front man - Ricketts - but their hopes of scoring on the break were occasionally to worry the Spurs defence, but Richards and Perry in particular were strong in that department, ably assisted of course by the ever popular Steffen Freund, who found time to sign autographs before the game, and to cuddle a fan or two as he prepared to take a throw in front of the lower East fans late in the game! Freund's presence enables Redknapp to get forward more to good effect.
In the first half, Spurs seemed to concentrate on attacking down the left flank. Matthew Etherington had a number of runs, but he was double marked and not too effective with his final ball, as is often the case. It was when Hoddle switched the focus to the right flank after the break, with Davies, Carr and Freund charging down the wing, that Spurs really started to dominate proceedings.
Spurs had conceded an early free kick just outside their area, which was lifted over the bar, before Teddy was onto Bunjee's long ball, and putting Stephen Carr into a good position. Carr was blocked in the box, leading to a corner. Robbie Keane was a thorn in the side for the visitors with plenty of runs across the field and around players. For a long time though, it looked like this was not to be his day, with the pack of defenders robbing him of the ball at the last minute, or Jaaskelainen at his feet. So it was when Steffen Freund sent a quick free kick to Keane who jinked into the area, but lost out to the keeper before he could pull the trigger.
Bolton's first chance fell to Nolan, after a short clearance by Redknapp. Keller dived to his left, but the save was still comfortable. A couple of minutes later, Ricardo Gardner chipped the ball over the defence, and Ricketts beat Perry to the ball, but put his shot just wide of Keller's right post. A delightful long ball from Teddy, just inside the Bolton half sent Keane away on the right. Robbie's low cross should have been converted by Etherington, but he just couldn't get a shot on goal.
Bunjevcevic led the next Spurs attack with a good ball to Keane, who got into the left side of the box, and threaded the ball to Sheringham. However, Teddy ran the ball too far to the left, leaving himself at a narrow angle. His cross was easily cleared. On 24 minutes, Chris Perry recovered well, when he was in danger of losing out to Ricketts. Perry then fed Davies a clever pass, and Simon was away. His cross was headed far too wide by Keane. It was beginning to look like one of those days, especially when Teddy miscued completely when receiving another ball from Davies.
With five minutes to go before the break, Redknapp won a free kick on the edge of the area, Keane flicked the ball up for him, and Jamie's shot was within a foot of Jaaskelainen's left post. Sheringham had the ball in the net shortly afterwards, but the linesman's flag was already hoisted.
Spurs lifted the tempo up a gear after the break, but they still had not put their scoring boots on. First Stephen Carr went close when Robbie tipped back a Davies cross, which Carr hit with his right foot, but the keeper pushed the ball up, so that it landed on the corner stanchion. Then Teddy picked up a long ball from Carr, exchanged with Keane, who had put the skipper into a perfect scoring position, with only the keeper to beat. Unfortunately, that was enough, as the ever competent Finn was off his line sharply, and able to block Sheringham's shot.
After 56 minutes, Perry made a rare mistake and gifted the ball to Nolan, who found Ricketts with the goal almost at his mercy. Ricketts shot across Keller but wide of the target. Two minutes later Spurs took the long awaited lead. Teddy started the move off with a ball to Bunjevcevic in the middle. Bunjee moved to the left and then sent a cross beyond the back post, which was returned to the 6 yard area by Simon Davies, where Robbie Keane slotted home from short range. Off he went to the junction of the North Stand and the West for his trademark cartwheel celebration!
Bolton got back on level terms in just five minutes, when Gardner passed back to Nolan in an inside left position. Nolan's chipped ball beat Perry and Djorkaeff was there on the left of the box to fire home beyond Keller. Djorkaeff had been the architect of Spurs defeat in their last European campaign, when he played for Kaiserslautern, and it would have been deeply frustrating if his goal had threatened Spurs current hopes of a European qualification place. It took another ten minutes, but Spurs regained the lead from another right sided attack. The passes were short and sharp from Freund, to Davies and then to Gus Poyet who raced towards the bye line then cut the ball back for Keane to finish again from close range. This time Robbie raced towards the East Stand. In only his fifth league game, Robbie is already joint top scorer!
Bolton were obliged to try for an equaliser and so they did, as the closing stages provided end to end excitement. Carr sent a glorious ball down the line for Robbie Keane. Keane passed inside to Teddy, who again, should have scored, but took too much time, allowing the keeper to force him out to too sharp an angle. Teddy was in space at the back post for a Carr cross, but put the free header over the bar. Our skipper was then the provider for Poyet whose shot was deflected onto the top of the net, with Jaaskelainen wrong footed. Then came the last minute clincher, started and finished by our own Welsh Wizard, Simon Davies. Davies had brought the ball out of defence, crossed to Teddy who quickly returned the ball into Simon's path for the winger to send a delightful shot past the keeper's right hand and just inside the far post. Simon also now has three league goals to his credit.
After 10 games last season, Spurs had five points less, although their goal difference was the same - 16-14. Next Saturday, we travel to Anfield for a first v third contest. The team will feel confident they can get something out of the game. Today, they certainly created enough chances, and with a bit more luck could easily have doubled their goal tally. Spurs will need to be more clinical against Hyppia and co.
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