WORTHINGTON CUP ROUND TWO
TUESDAY 1ST OCTOBER, 2002
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0) CARDIFF CITY 0 (0)
Referee:- S. Mathieson
Attendance:- 23, 723
Spurs (4-4-2):- Keller; Taricco (sub Doherty, 65), Bunjevcevic, Richards, Thatcher; Davies, Freund (sub Iversen, 85), Acimovic, Etherington; Sheringham(Capt),Keane(sub Ferdinand, 90)
Subs not used:- Hirschfeld; Blondel
Booked:- Thatcher, Richards
Cardiff (4-4-2):- Alexander; Weston, Prior, Gabbidon, Croft; Boland (sub Maxwell, 84), Kavanagh (Capt), Whalley, Legg (sub Fortune-West, 75); Campbell, Earnshaw
Subs not used:- Margetson; Barker, Hamilton
A thirtieth minute Teddy Sheringham goal was enough to put Spurs through to the third round of the Worthington Cup. The match was played in front of a full and exuberant contingent of Cardiff fans, who must have gone home happy with their team's showing. Cardiff top Division Two, and showed plenty of skill and vigour, keeping the Spurs defence on their toes.
Spurs were fortified by the welcome return of Steffen Freund, who in my view was man of the match. His tackling was sharp but fair; he covered the defence well, and led several passing moves. In fact he started the move that led to our goal, and when he was replaced by Iversen with five minutes to go, Freund (playing his first game since January for the first team) received a rousing reception from the home support who clearly recognised his efforts. Jamie Redknapp was absent, and hopefully Freund can play beside him on Sunday at Ewood Park. Doherty was dropped to the bench, and Bunjevcevic played beside Dean Richards, with Thatcher on the left and Taricco returning and playing right back. Tano did not last the full game, and was replaced by Gary Doherty.
Cardiff have a strong side for their level, and some clever acquisitions make them an entertaining and enterprising outfit. Andy Campbell was previously a squad player for Middlesbrough, and Robert Earnshaw is in top goal-scoring form. At the back, they feature Spencer Prior, who has plenty of Premiership experience, whilst Captain Graham Kavanagh and Willie Boland drove the midfield ably assisted by Gareth Whalley, signed in the summer from Bradford. Cardiff look well-prepared for Division One football next year, and obviously came to White Hart Lane brimming with confidence and optimism, in view of Spurs recent form.
The crowd were entertained from the start, and Milenko Acimovic showed a fine piece of skill with a roll back and a fine ball to Robbie Keane in the middle. Keane fed Etherington whose cross passed the goalmouth without contact. Next minute Keane was feeding Sheringham who got a shot on target, but saved by Alexander.
Cardiff were clearly hoping to catch our defence out with long balls for Earnshaw and Campbell to run onto, and they did provide a challenge, as early on Earnshaw was not given offside when chasing a chipped ball. Kasey Keller beat him to it. Ben Thatcher was then having to cover as Cardiff broke through again. He made his ground well on this occasion, having been embarrassed a few times last Saturday.
At times, Spurs played some lovely football, with the best of their short quick passing game. Sheringham, having missed the first half last Saturday looked sharp in this first period. On the quarter hour mark, Simon Davies (playing in his conventional right wing position) found Keane, who sent a quick ball to Teddy, who headed back across the goal to Acimovic, lurking at the back post. Milenko beat the keeper with his left foot shot, but hit the post, when he should have scored. Spurs nearly paid the penalty when Boland rattled the bar from 30 yards with Kasey Keller beaten all ends up.
Thatcher, assisting Etherington on the left, found Acimovic with his back to goal. Milenko made a clever turn and right foot shot in one movement that went just wide.Robbie Keane got on the end of a Davies cross to head to the keeper, and then he was on the end of an exquisite move from Acimovic and Sheringham, to have only the keeper to beat, but shot wide across the goal. Robbie has now played four games without scoring, and perhaps is trying a little too hard at the moment. There are times when he needs to release the ball earlier, but don't we say that about many ball players? I think that in time, Robbie may become as big a hero as Greaves.
Etherington was making many runs, but as the game wore on, he tired, and his delivery got worse, but his 26th minute cross was only just blocked for a corner by the Cardiff defence, who soon found themselves one down, when Freund passed to Taricco on the right, and Teddy met the cross perfectly at the near post to turn the ball home. Teddy was then teeing up the ball for Davies to scoot a 30 yard shot to the keeper. More beautiful one touch play from Davies, Acimovic and Sheringham ended with another Keane shot saved by Alexander.
Another lovely attack from Spurs came on 38 minutes. Keane swiftly fed Davies, whose deep cross was met by Etherington, who shot well over the bar from close range. Thatcher got booked before the break for stopping Campbell in his tracks, and Richards gave him the same treatment in the second half, in front of the visiting fans who bayed for a red card. The foul was too far out, and Campbell was heading away from goal, so the referee got it right, in my view. The home fans responded well to the away support, and at one time in the second half, the atmosphere was the loudest I can recall for a second round game.
Two minutes after the break, Freund spotted some lovely off the ball movement from Davies, found him with a chip, enabling Simon to head back to Keane who was through on goal, but was smothered. Then Acimovic led a move down the right. Teddy passed to Davies whose cross reached Etherington at the back post, but whose shot was deflected for a corner. Another great run by Davies led to a corner won by Acimovic. Acimovic took the corner, Anderton-style, and Teddy tried and failed to convert.
After this bright start by Spurs, Cardiff tightened up their marking in the middle, and opportunities became fewer for Spurs. It was by no means one way traffic, as the visitors got a lot of good possession as the game progressed. Earnshaw headed back to Kavanagh who shot wide with Kasey stretching to his left. Legg then hit a free kick over, after Richards' transgression, before Teddy put Keane in the clear. It looked like Robbie must score, but he got too close to Alexander who blocked the ball well. Keane had several other opportunities, but did not have his scoring boots on tonight.
With ten minutes to go Davies had a great 1-2 with Acimovic before hitting a lovely left foot shot that Alexander pushed wide for a corner. Daniel Gabbidon tried valiantly for Cardiff, firstly heading over a Kavanagh corner, then shooting over the corner stanchion from the edge of the area, after giving the defence the slip.
Spurs should have secured this game in the first half, but the threat from Cardiff diminished as the final whistle approached. Cardiff can get on with their push for promotion, whilst Spurs try to arrange a return visit to the Millennium Stadium in the Spring.
· Premiership Review and League Table
· Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
· Check the current team appearances, cards and scorers in all competitions
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