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Derby County v Spurs, 16.10.99


Spurs scorer:- Armstrong, 37

Referee:- P. Durkin

Attendance:- 29,815


Derby ( 4-4-2 ):- Hoult; Eranio (capt), Laursen, Schnoor, Dorigo; Borbokis ( sub Sturridge, 82 ), Delap, Johnson, Morris ( sub Murray, 82 ); Burton ( sub Baiano, 72 ), Beck

Subs not used:- Knight (GK); Prior

Booked:- Delap, Murray, Eranio

Spurs ( 4-4-2 ):- Walker; Carr, Perry, Campbell ( capt ), Taricco; Leonhardsen, Nielsen ( sub Vega, 76 ), King, Ginola ( sub Sherwood, 88 ); Iversen, Armstrong ( sub Piercy, 76 )

Subs not used;- Baardsen; Edinburgh

Booked:- Taricco, Carr

Spurs kept their first Premiership clean sheet of the season, and it can be no coincidence that their captain Sol Campbell also completed his first full game. David Ginola gave a match winning first half performance, and made the winning goal for Chris Armstrong with some silky skills. Spurs dominated the first half, but had their backs to the wall for much of the second, as the Derby team tried to show the fight and determination that their manager Jim Smith required of them, to try and draw themselves out of the relegation mire. They failed to directly threaten Ian Walker's goal, however, until the very last kick of the game, when Delap forced a reflex save following a corner.

George Graham ( presumably ) rested Freund, and held Sherwood on the bench, giving starts to King and Nielsen in their places. King had a reasonable game, looking better going forward, than at the back. Nielsen had an in and out game, seemingly lolling around the field at times, when more pace and aggression was required.

There was no hostile welcome, as threatened for Campbell. Perhaps, because even the away support recognise such an excellent player for club and country. Sol played like, well, Sol ! - getting in the way of many threatening situations, and he even threatened to repeat last year's goal scoring feat at Pride Park, as he got forward often in the early stages.

Jim Smith has shaken the Derby pack somewhat, introducing new signing Morris in midfield, and keeping the likes of Baiano, and Prior on the bench. Delap, with a strong foul against new boy King, found his way into referee Durkin's book in the first minute. Derby were finding their way into the Spurs penalty area often enough in the early minutes, but their players, such as Morris, and Beck seemed to fall to the ground like nine-pins in an effort to persuade the referee to give a penalty. Durkin was having none of it, and I have to say that I feel he is one of the more accomplished referees these days, having once borne considerable dislike for the man.

Armstrong put a lot of pressure on the Derby defence with his running, and determination, in situations when the defence should have had the upper hand. As a result, goalkeeper Hoult, was often forced to kick into touch. Allan Nielsen put Armstrong through with a good long ball, and such pressure resulted in the ball falling to Iversen, whose shot was saved.

On the quarter hour, a Walker kick out was headed down by Iversen, for Leonhardsen to have an accurate shot blocked. At the other end, Beck fed Borbokis on the right, who crossed for Delap, who miscued his kick in front of goal. Morris also had a shooting chance after more good work by Borbokis.

Then Spurs entered a period of real domination, led by Ginola. An accurate cross found Leonhardsen, who had another good shot beaten away for a corner. Ledley King then tried a Freund style shot, and unfortunately succeeded - he missed ! ( But not by far ) Sol Campbell found Iversen with a lofted ball; Iversen headed into Ginola's path, and his shot was just wide. Ledley King won a corner with some skilful, and determined play in the box, and Ginola's kick was punched out by Hoult, who by this time, must have been feeling the pressure.

Ginola displayed all his tricks today; a back-heel here; an audacious flick there; coupled with the usual mazy runs, and shots on goal. It was exhibition football at times, that must have drawn admiration from the home followers. One such flick led to a Carr/Leonhardsen combined attack, forcing a corner, from which Ledley King could have scored but his header was blocked in front of goal.

With 37 minutes gone, Spurs deservedly scored. Ginola, this time on the left, deceived three defenders with his run, and made open ground. He had time to measure his cross, which reached Armstrong at the back post, who scored with a determined header. Ginola took all the plaudits, and deservedly so - for it was his goal, as much as the struggling striker's.

The Spurs midfield lost its grip in the second half, and the strikers failed to hold the ball long enough to take the pressure off the defence, as Derby battled away. Jim Smith tried all his substitutes, and allowed Eranio more licence to come forward. Fans' favourite Baiano also caused some mayhem, and Beck was a handful for Perry, but the Spurs goal remained intact.

Delap was allowed too much room and space for a run, and a powerful lifting shot that went just over Walker's bar. Spurs did have several good chances despite the pressure, and both Armstrong, and Leonhardsen should have added to the tally. Ginola capped more of his skills with a typical dipping shot, which was only just off target, and following a super break out from defence, his long ball found Leonhardsen at the far post, with everybody beaten, but he headed into the side netting.

With half an hour left, Laursen put a free kick just wide of the post. Walker did not seem to get his wall organised, and had a go at them afterwards, but the shot could easily have curled into his goal. For once Ginola lost the ball, which enabled an Eranio cross, which Beck just failed to head in to goal.

Now it was Steffen Iversen breaking and trying a long shot. Hoult failed to hold the ball cleanly, and this was when Armstrong should have pounced, but he allowed the defence to clear. Piercy was allowed a further opportunity to impress, replacing Armstrong. Vega replaced Nielsen, and Spurs reverted to playing three central defenders, to ease the pressure. Derby kept coming, but Piercy got a decent shot on goal, after a 1-2 with Iversen. Then came that last gasp effort from Delap, but the final whistle, enabled the visitors' celebrations to begin.

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