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Newcastle v Spurs, 28.11.99

FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
SUNDAY 28TH NOVEMBER, 1999
NEWCASTLE UNITED 2 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1)

Newcastle scorers:-
Glass, 5
Dabizas, 57

Spurs scorer:-
Armstrong, 43

Referee:- P. Alcock

Attendance:- 36,460

Teams:-

Newcastle ( 3-5-2):- Harper; Cristavao Helder, Charvet, Dabizas; Glass, Fumaca Antunes ( sub McGlen, 81), Lee, Solano ( sub Maric, 85 ), Hughes; Ketsbaia ( sub Ferguson, 75 ), Shearer

Subs not used:- Given (GK); Beharall

Booked:- Solano

Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Taricco, Perry, Campbell, Edinburgh; Leonhardsen, Freund ( sub Clemence, 84 ), Sherwood, Ginola; Armstrong ( sub Dominguez, 67 ), Iversen

Subs not used:- Baardsen; Young, Vega ( I understand that Vega replaced Fox on the bench, after the latter was injured during the warm-up )

Booked:- Sherwood, Ginola, Edinburgh, Armstrong, Perry ( Addendum - apparently Taricco was also booked )

NB:- Sherwood has now been booked five times. I expect him to miss the Newcastle cup game.

When you get a poor result, and/or the football was not too good, referees often become the talking point, so why shouldn't I focus on Paul Alcock for once? I don't want this to seem like sour grapes, because Spurs failed to create sufficient clear cut chances to get anything out of this game, and I wouldn't argue strongly that they deserved the point that they did strive for, as the game moved towards its climax. However, I did spot Mr Alcock having a friendly chat and a laugh with Alan Shearer before the kick-off; having a nudge and a wink now and then during the game; and when Shearer clattered Ginola, the referee settled for having a friendly word with the home-boy, whereas Ginola got booked, apparently for being fouled by Solano on the wing. I also observed that Chris Armstrong was booked for allegedly not standing 10 yards from a free kick, and yet Mr Shearer stood at an identical distance from a similar situation for Spurs, and yet nothing was done. Newcastle fans would claim that Solano got booked for having the audacity to be stamped upon by Sherwood, but I did notice the sharp Peruvian having a tug at our man. Just to complete the record, Edinburgh, and Perry were justifiably booked for over zealous fouls.

Spurs are getting to know Newcastle almost as well as they did Wimbledon earlier in the year, and the records give the Geordies the upper hand with 2 wins and a draw to our one win and the same draw. Spurs will hope to equal the honours in the forthcoming third round cup tie, but they will have to play far better football than they did today. Bobby Robson swamped his midfield, and stemmed the main threat of Spurs on the wing, whilst taking advantage of the weakness that existed on the left. This weakness is not just because Ginola does not support his defence enough, it is not noticeable when Taricco plays there, but whenever Justin Edinburgh plays, the opposition seems to thrive down that flank, much as he might try to prevent it happening.

Newcastle, despite missing Gary Speed, and Warren Barton through suspension, and other top players through injury, started much the sharper side, and quickly took the lead, through an attack down the left. Shearer put Solano clear, and his right wing cross was headed down powerfully by Glass. Walker tried to hold the ball, but it squeezed over the line, and Ketsbaia was on hand to make sure in any case.

Spurs showed little in return, with only a long shot from Leonhardsen going straight to Harper. Solano was in action again, this time putting Ketsbaia through. The shot was blocked for a corner, and Dabizas's header from the corner was headed off the line at the post by Steffen Freund. A Walker clearance was headed on by Ginola, and Leonhardsen had a half chance with little time to beat the goalie. His snatched lob went wide.

Ginola became more effective as the half progressed, using the width of the field. He beat 2 men on the left, and crossed to the far post. Leonhardsen pulled the ball back, but too far, and the best Iversen could try was a back heel towards goal, which Newcastle managed to scramble clear. An equaliser did come before half time, however, and Ginola ( roundly booed by the home fans throughout ) received from Leo on the right, then sent a dangerous cross towards the far post, where Armstrong finished off with a simple shot.

There was little clear cut goal action in the second half, until Dabizas converted a Solano corner with low header, having been given too much room by Iversen. Walker then did well to hold a Shearer header, following a Solano free kick. At the other end, all Spurs could manage was a solo effort and shot from Ginola, which was beaten out for a corner.

Dominguez replaced Armstrong, and helped Spurs to build the pressure. Little Jose must have been brought down half a dozen times, but Mr Alcock obviously felt it was an occupational risk, as those in stripes escaped unpunished. Despite the pressure, Spurs failed to capitalise, as Newcastle defended stoutly. Iversen and Campbell had headed chances, and Solano and Lee tried long shots at Walker, but the score remained unchanged.

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