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Spurs v Bradford, 04.03.2000

FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 4TH MARCH, 2000
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1) BRADFORD CITY 1 (1)

Spurs scorer:-
Iversen, 13

Bradford Scorer:-
Lawrence, 41

Referee:- Peter Jones

Attendance:- 35,472

Teams:-

Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Carr, Perry, Campbell (capt.), Taricco (sub Young, 77); Leonhardsen (sub Ferdinand, 72), Anderton, Freund. Ginola; Armstrong, Iversen

Subs not used:- Baardsen; Nielsen; Korsten

Bookings:- None

Bradford (4-4-2):- Davison; Halle, Wetherall, O'Brien, Jacobs; Lawrence, McCall (capt.), Whalley (sub Dreyer, 77), Beagrie; Saunders (sub Cadette, 80), Windass

Subs not used:- Southall (GK); Sharpe; Blake

Bookings:- Halle, Jacobs

Until Jamie Lawrence scored his equaliser after 41 minutes, Spurs dominated this game, and (in George Graham's words) played some fantastic football, with invention. Certainly, Spurs had created enough to keep Davison busy, but any trace of invention disappeared after half time, as the Bradford blockade, with at least nine men behind the ball successfully stifled the approach play of Tottenham. Les Ferdinand, absent from first team action since the away encounter with Bradford, made a substitute appearance to a rousing reception, but even the presence of three strikers failed to work the oracle.

Straight after Bradford kicked off the match, Anderton was racing through the middle and passed to Armstrong, using his pace to good effect to get in front of the defence. His early chance from a sharp angle forced the first of Davison's saves. Spurs maintained the pressure, and camped in the opponents' half. In the absence of Sherwood, Anderton was thriving in the middle, and Leonhardsen and Carr were looking sharp on the right. This was one of those days, in my view, when Ginola failed to deliver the goods, and his lengthy possession simply allowed the defence to organise. His best chance to score came after 10 minutes when his shot was deflected by a defender, and Davison had to stretch to tip the ball over the bar. From the corner, the ball reached Chris Perry on the edge of the area, and his powerful shot brought a flying save from the goalkeeper, who could actually have let the ball go.

Halle brought Ginola down, and was lucky not to get booked for the foul, let alone the dissent which followed. However, the age of leniency is with us, and it took three bookable offence before Peter Jones did eventually take Halle's name. Anderton took the free kick, and Iversen met it inside the six yard box at the far post to head into the net across the goal. This was Iversen's first goal since Boxing Day. Sol Campbell was getting forward regularly, and headed a Freund throw into the side netting.

Bradford had the occasional chance, and it was Stuart McCall who put Dean Saunders through to beat the offside trap, and have a shot at goal from the left. Although Walker was beaten, the shot went safely past the far post. Anderton raced into the penalty area to meet a great long ball from Carr. Anderton did some good work to control the ball, and then try a swivel kick on goal, forcing another excellent save from the keeper. Iversen had a shot blocked from the corner.

Some good play from Ginola, with Taricco in front of him led to a decent chance for Iversen, which he sent high over goal. Ginola was then to be found combining with the other full back, as he sent Carr on a run to the bye line. His cross was flicked goalward by Armstrong, but Davison rescued the visitors again. Then came the stunning equaliser from Bradford. Both Perry and Campbell were made to look foolish as Saunders, Windass and Lawrence interchanged quickly, and even sold a couple of dummies. Walker was wrong-footed for Lawrence to simply roll the ball into the corner of the goal.

It took a long time for the second half to produce any worthwhile play. Sol Campbell, whose distribution is never that great, nearly presented Bradford with a goal, as his clearance rebounded viciously off an attacker towards goal, and probably gave Walker his most anxious moment, apart from the goal. Spurs, and the crowd, only really got going with 20 minutes left, as an effective Anderton shot from a Carr cross was blocked. There was a hiatus, as both teams introduced substitutes. Halle got his booking for his crunching tackle on Taricco, who had to be replaced.

With five minutes left,a long ball from Anderton was headed down by Ferdinand to set up Iversen, but his left foot shot was just wide. The only other penetration came as Young entered the box, had a 1-2 with Anderton, but then fired his effort wide. The team left to hearty boos from the crowd, whilst the visitors celebrated a precious point.

Comment:-

Once again we have witnessed a performance which demonstrated less desire from Spurs than the opposition. Why Graham was unable to motivate them to a winning performance after a decent first half, I don't know. Sol Campbell just does not seem himself, and is too often to be found wanting with his passing and heading to team mates, even with time on his hands. We are in total limbo, and I can't help thinking that there are some deep rooted problems behind the scenes, bearing in mind the Anderton and Campbell situations. Sometimes, when Ginola is on the ball, the rest of the team is not moving for him,as if they do not expect to be given the ball, and to be honest, despite a couple of decent examples above, he was hogging the ball, without effect most of the time. In my view, two of the best players for Spurs today were Anderton, and Armstrong, neither of whom I would fault for effort. Apart from his goal, Iversen disappointed particularly in the second half, with some poor passing.

As I write, I hear that Leeds have stolen the young Reading keeper, Allaway, from under our noses, and that negotiations to sign Hartson are reaching a conclusion. What with Mr Sugar's announcement that prices will not rise next season, and the mention in today's programme that season ticket renewals will be sent out in April, it seems that the club have given up on this season already.

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