FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 23RD OCTOBER, 1999
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (2) MANCHESTER UNITED 1 (1)
Scholes (o.g ) 39
Manchester Utd scorer:-
Referee:- Jeff Winter
Spurs ( 4-5-1 ):- Walker; Carr, Young ( sub Vega, 76 ), Campbell ( Capt ), Taricco; Fox ( sub Piercy, 87 ), Leonhardsen, Freund, Sherwood, Ginola; Iversen
Subs not used:- Baardsen; Edinburgh, Dominguez
Booked:- Fox, Sherwood, Freund
Man Utd (4-4-2);- Bosnich; Irwin ( sub Greening, 81 ), Stam, Silvestre, P. Neville; Beckham ( sub Solskjaer, 68 ), Keane, Scholes, Giggs; Yorke, Cole
Subs not used:- Van Der Gouw (GK); Berg; Higginbottom
Booked:- Beckham, Keane
Stephen Carr's wonder-goal after 70 minutes sealed this cracking victory for the Spurs. It was their first league win over United for nearly four years, and the first time for 6 years that Alex Ferguson's side have been beaten in a Premiership match after taking the lead. Spurs have moved up to fifth place, and are within four points of the treble winners, with a game in hand !
George Graham described his tactics for this game as forced due to training injuries to Chris Perry, Armstrong, and Allan Nielsen, none of whom were able to take part. Luke Young was drafted into the defence, as Vega is still not fully match -fit, and Ruel Fox got his first start of the season, playing on the right hand side of a five man midfield. There were thirteen lions on the pitch fighting the Tottenham cause today, getting behind the ball, and as the game wore on, battling feverishly for every opportunity to take possession from the high-class visitors, who, as should be expected, did look threatening whenever they went forward. Both Fox, and Young won great applause when they took their exits, but that would have been accorded to any one of the heroes in white. Sol Campbell was colossal, and for me, despite one or two errors, Steffen Freund was very important today, winning so much possession in crucial ground. Freund enjoyed the crowd's appreciation, and is becoming something of a cult figure. Sadly, both he and Sherwood took bookings today, and I fear they will miss the Arsenal game on 7th November.
Silvestre looked a little suspect at times in the centre of the defence, and Steffen Iversen robbed him of the ball within two minutes of the start, moved the ball out to Fox on the right, whose cross reached Leonhardsen, giving Bosnich an early tester. You don't need me to tell you what sort of reception the visiting goalkeeper got, after his antics of a couple of years ago. He too, looks unsettled in this side.
Man Utd were allowed too much possession in the first half hour,as Spurs withdrew to their defensive lines. It looked very much like an away match in these early stages, but the red horde did not get too close to Walker's goal, other than half chances for Cole and Scholes, which Walker dealt with comfortably.
Ginola was playing his usual tricks, but he was also spraying the ball about more than usual, often giving Iversen and Leonhardsen a run at goal. At other times it was sad to see that people were not running off the ball, and Ginola himself took some flack from Sherwood for not advancing down the line for him.
Spurs had some good chances through such approaches. A Ginola wing ball for Fox was quickly crossed, but just a little too high for Iversen. Fox was tracking back with vigour, and got in a great tackle on Keane on the edge of the Spurs area. Referee Winter waved away the standard United protests, and Ginola might have made more of his breakaway due to the lack of concentration for that moment.
Fox was then unlucky to be carded for a tackle in the opponents half, and Man Utd took full advantage of the free kick, which soon reached Cole lurking outside the area. He pushed a ball through the defence, and Giggs got in front of Campbell, and easily slotted home past Walker, who was stranded on his line in the centre of goal.
After some more possession play from the reds, Spurs got back into the game, through a mixture of determination, and a little good fortune. What is it they say about fortune favouring the brave ? After 36 minutes, Bosnich failed to prevent an over-hit Silvestre back pass from going for a corner. Leonhardsen got the cross over; Sherwood headed on to the back post, and Iversen in a sitting position on the ground, chested the ball goalwards. Bosnich got a touch, and the ball may have crept over the line at this stage, but in the scramble, Iversen managed to hook the ball home to make sure. Ferguson claimed after the game that there was a handball by Iversen here.
It wasn't long before Spurs took the lead, from another corner, this time from the left. Leonhardsen and Ginola took a short kick, and Ginola's cross was headed into his own net by Scholes, who received a mighty cheer when the goal was announced !
So, there we were, 2-1 up at half time, during which the autumn rain pelted down, to such an extent that there was surface water for much of the second half. It isn't often that you dread the thought of an abandoned game, because you are leading the champions !
In this half, Manchester United threw all they could into attack, including the insertion of Solskjaer for Beckham, soon after the England international's booking, and they did force several saves from Walker, but generally, the defence kept them out of the dangerous zones, and United were being restricted to long shots, such as Cole's 25 yarder after 51 minutes. At the other end Fox received from Taricco, and had Bosnich at full stretch as he hit a left foot shot just wide.
Then Freund lost the ball for once to Cole, who after a 1-2 with Yorke, forced a diving save from the keeper. Next it was Scholes who was providing the chance for Cole, who beat Walker, but fired over the bar. Walker was in action again, as he punched out a Giggs cross, but only as far as Beckham, whose shot on target was headed clear by the mighty Campbell.
Fox had another shooting chance, from a Ginola free kick, but it was straight at Bosnich.
Stephen Carr's clinching goal after 70 minutes merits some detailed description. It was, after all, one of the best goals seen at the lane, and more specially for the player, it was his first home goal. What a goal to score, and what a team to score it against ! It was one of those that I will remember for all of my days, and you will relish when you get the chance to see it.
I can't remember how the ball reached Carr, but he was lurking on the right, as is so often the case, and one anticipated a cross for Iversen who was making space at the back of goal. Carr decided to go for goal; he had a short run, and then hit a magnificent right foot arrowed drive across the goal into the far corner from at least 25 yards, between two defenders, and beyond the helpless Bosnich. The goal resembled Anderton's cup goal this year against Leeds, but from a wider angle, and not quite the same distance.
I also look forward to seeing the celebrations, as Carr raced back along the line to the shelf-side fans, to be swamped by his team-mates. The crowd was in ecstasy, naturally !
There was still some stout defending to be done, as Walker made more saves from Solskjaer, and Yorke. There were also some theatrics, as Freund made a meal of Keane's foul on Taricco, and got himself into the book, as well as Keane. Piercy got a brief run out against the champions, and will no doubt benefit from the "blooding" he has had over the last couple of weeks.Ginola won a battle with Keane, and had his shot saved, and Sherwood actually got the ball in the net, but had been adjudged offside from Ginola's delicate pass.
You'll have to read elsewhere about the "Posh Spice" song that did have its audition at Derby last week, but it was very popular today. "Glory, Glory, Alleluhah" had a very special ring today.
· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
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· All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats
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