FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 4TH OCTOBER, 2003
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (1) EVERTON 0 (0)
Referee:- Dermot Gallagher
Spurs (4-4-2):- Keller; Carr (Capt.), Richards, Gardner, Taricco (sub Dalmat, 72); Ricketts, Anderton, Poyet, Konchesky; Kanoute (sub Postiga, 76), Keane
Subs not used:- Burch; Bunjevcevic; Zamora
Booked:- Gardner, Konchesky
Everton (4-4-2):- Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs (Capt) (sub Weir, 32), Unsworth; Watson, Carsley, Gravesen, McFadden (sub Kilbane, 55); Radzinski (sub Rooney, 55), Ferguson
Subs not used:- Turner; Campbell
Booked:- Hibbert, Rooney
What a way Fredi Kanoute chose to celebrate his 100th Premiership match! Spurs could have a new King of White Hart Lane if Fredi carries on scoring at the rate he is at present, but today's goal - a stunning 30 yard dipping shot - is the pick of the bunch of 6 so far this term, and has a good chance of being goal of the season. Look out for it on TV, if you can!
Kanoute's goal was scored just before the break, and those who were slow getting back from their half-time cuppa (and I know of a few!) missed the two goals scored within minutes of the re-start to seal the much-needed points for David Pleat's Spurs, who have now kept three consecutive clean sheets. This is the first time they have managed such a feat for two and a half years, and you have to go back to the stewardship of George Graham to find those stats from January and February 2001. Mind you, those were boring 0-0 games.
Those who suggest that Everton were bad would do well to note the real reason that Spurs won today. For the first time I can recall for quite a while, the whole team were playing for each other, they were challenging for the ball in all areas of the field, and making themselves available for diagonal passes. There were few extravagant passes, and the quick, short passing game paid off dividends handsomely.
I know this will upset certain readers, but I would go as far as to say that Darren Anderton was the fulcrum of much of Spurs success today. Indeed he was the provider for the second and third goals. He and Gus Poyet tired considerably in the latter stages, but by then, the game was won, and Spurs were happy not to over-commit. Others to impress today (and you cannot criticise one of them) were Rohan Ricketts, Paul Konchesky, and Anthony Gardner. Ricketts played on the right, and provided the sort of energy, commitment and success rate that Spurs fans are growing used to and already love to chant his name. Konchesky battled for the ball up and down the left flank, slotting into Taricco's position when Dalmat came on for the last 20 minutes. Gardner had a great game, but will be sorry to have collected his fifth booking of the season, which should mean a one-match absence at Leicester's Walker's Stadium.
Spurs made the early running without causing ex-Leeds keeper Nigel Martyn too much bother. Kanoute and Ricketts were combining well on the right flank, and then a Keane effort was blocked allowing a Taricco shot that was wide of the goal. There was some good quick passing in the middle from Taricco and Anderton, but Gus Poyet's shot only threatened the visiting Evertonians in their corner of the stadium, which was almost full today.
Everton had a decent chance after 12 minutes, when Duncan Ferguson headed down for Radzinski, who could only manage a weak shot into Keller's arms. Gardner's booking came as early as the 17th minute, when he was adjudged to have impeded Radzinski, although it looked like a foul against Richards had been ignored. Ferguson's free kick was deflected for corner. A couple of minutes later Rohan Ricketts charged back to assist Carr in defence, forcing McFadden to push the ball out to Unsworth on the left wing. Unsworth's cross was headed onto the top of the net by last week's hat-trick hero Steve Watson.
Alan Stubbs had to submit to injury and was replaced by Weir after 32 minutes. Then Spurs had a patient build up in front of the Everton area. The ball was then quickly switched to Konchesky on the left, and Gus Poyet claimed he was pushed to the floor when trying to meet the cross. Mr Gallagher was having none of a penalty appeal.
After 35 minutes, Ricketts and Kanoute had a quick exchange on the right before Rohan switched the play with a great ball to Konchesky. The Charlton loanee (who hopefully will be staying), fed the ball to Keane who twisted into the area and brought a great save from Martyn with his shot. After the initial clearance the ball was returned to the back post, where Robbie scooped the ball over on the stretch.
The crowd was now well up for a win, and they were soon to be rewarded with a route one goal. Keller's kick was met by a Kanoute header to Poyet. Gus headed the ball back to Kanoute, who was at least 30 yards out from Martyn's goal. Out of nowhere, "King" Fredi hit a marvellous dipping shot into the top left corner. He was entitled to race the length of the pitch to celebrate this cracker, but he hesitated before trying to evade the chasing white-shirted Spurs hero worshippers! It was another great goal, and we haven't seen such a strike rate from a Spurs striker for a long time. In the last ten years only Klinsmann and Sheringham come to mind, but I wouldn't dare to put Kanoute in their league - yet!
There was still time for Poyet to bring another save from Martyn, as he headed Taricco's cross goalward. Then within 40 seconds of the re-start, Gus was on hand to meet an Anderton cross. Everton had given away a cheap throw, taken by Carr. Anderton sent a cross to the near post, where Poyet leant down and glanced a header home across the keeper. We were in dreamland within three minutes, as Spurs displayed some gutsy play in the middle before Anderton was in position to feed Robbie Keane in the inside right channel. Keane got a little luck when the ball rebounded off Unsworth, but then he was through with only Martyn to beat, which he did with aplomb with a right foot shot across the keeper into the net.
To their credit, Everton never gave up, and in fact had a number of half chances in the remainder of the game. McFadden (who was scoring goals for Motherwell when Stephen Ferguson was on loan there last year) took too much time trying to cue his shot outside the Spurs box, allowing the defence to close him down, and Keller to make a comfortable save. Rohan Ricketts then had a good chance at the back post, when the ball was crossed from the left. He tried to shoot on the turn, but sent the ball much too high. Rohan's next trick was to be provider for Stephen Carr, in the right corner. Martyn was down well to Carr's low drive from a sharp angle.
Everton rang the changes, introducing Rooney for Radzinski, and Kilbane for Mc Fadden, but their final ball was lacking. First Gravesen put the ball too far in front of Rooney who had got behind the Spurs defence, and then Unsworth threaded a ball for Watson, but again too heavily. There were shots from Yobo and Watson in the closing stages, but the game was up, and most of the visiting fans were on their way back to Liverpool.
The Spurs team, and in particular Kanoute got a rousing reception at half time and the end of the game. Whilst other teams at the wrong end of the table also won today, Spurs have lifted themselves away from the doldrums, and will continue their climb if they can maintain this form. If this is 4-4-2, then R.I.P 3-5-2!
Once again, IT'S GOOD TO BE A SPUR!
· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
· Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
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