FA PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 11TH MARCH, 2000
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 7 (4) SOUTHAMPTON 2 (2)
Richards (o.g), 27
Armstrong, 40, 63
Iversen, 45, 77,90
Tahar El Kalej, 32
Referee;- M. Halsey
Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Carr, Perry (sub Young, 29), Campbell, Taricco; Leonhardsen, Freund, Anderton, Ginola; Iversen, Armstrong
Subs not used:- Baardsen; Clemence; Korsten; Ferdinand
Booked:- Freund , Carr
Southampton (4-5-1):- Jones; El Kalej, Richards, Benali, Bridge; Oakley, Marsden, Tessem, Kachloul (sub Le Tissier, 68), Pahars; Hughes
Subs not used:- Moss (GK); Rodrigues, Beattie, Soltvedt
Booked:- Benali , Kachloul
A party was held at the White Hart Lane elementary school of football today, to celebrate the return of former star pupil, Glenn Hoddle. Mr Hoddles' protégés were kind enough to join in the spirit of things, and play the game according to the hosts' rules, rather than try to spoil the show. The hosts reciprocated by allowing their guests to take the lead, not once but twice after Dean Richards kindly headed an Anderton corner into his own net, to try and put the hosts back on an even keel. Pupils Armstrong and Iversen, awarded scholarships to the school by a former headmaster (Mr G. Francis) then scored 5 goals between them to ensure that most of the audience went home happy. Even the visiting players seemed to enjoy themselves despite their damaging defeat, which meant that the guests went home with a severely dented goal difference, and fears of relegation to prep school.
Several rituals were performed today. There was the usual glaring miss by Armstrong; a pop at goal by Freund, who actually hit the target; and current head, Mr G. Graham, performed the leaping up and down on the touchline routine, when he perceived that his students were being mistreated.
Hoddle's new boy El Kalej, got a rude christening to the Premiership, as he was taken by surprise by a run by Ginola as early as the first minute. Ginola got through and forced a sharp save from Jones, but then disappeared from view for 15 minutes. Armstrong and Leonhardsen did some good work on the right before Leo's cross was headed towards goal by Iversen, to give Jones more work to do.
Southampton had clearly come to play, with flair players in the middle. Tessem, who had marked Ginola at the Dell, Kachloul, and Pahars were busy, and in turns were getting into shooting positions throughout the game. After 18 minutes, Benali, drafted into central defence, gifted the ball to Iversen, who might have scored himself, but decided to lay the ball up for Armstrong. Jones was wrong footed, and the goal beckoned, but Armstrong scuffed the ball the left of the target. He could so easily have been crestfallen for the rest of the game, because of the mixed reception he got for his miss, but, to his credit, he picked himself up, and went on to have great influence on the rest of the game, and perhaps score the best two goals for Spurs. George Graham described Armstrong as his man of the match afterwards.
After 25 minutes, Ginola lost the ball in midfield, dramatically collapsed, and watched the play retreat into his half. Southampton took full advantage, as Kachloul from the left, sent a superb ball for Tessem to run onto and from the left of the area, he cracked home a shot across Walker. It should be mentioned that Chris Perry was bandaged, and out of sorts by this time, after a clash of heads with Mark Hughes. Perry soon had to be replaced by Luke Young, who filled the gap admirably.
Spurs weren't behind for long, as Carr valiantly won a corner; Anderton took, and Campbell rose to meet the ball, which looked to be headed in by Dean Richards, under pressure from Sol, who sympathetically tapped Richards on the shoulder as he turned to modestly celebrate. Young's first influence on the game was to send Carr on another good run with a long pass. Carr crossed to Iversen, Armstrong fumbled, and Anderton nicked the shot off his toes, and forced another save from the keeper. Anderton nicked the ball off Ginola in similar fashion to try and set up Iversen, but he was just offside.
The visitors regained the lead after 32 minutes, as El Kalej met a Pahars free kick at the near post, to head home. The lead was nearly increased as Anderton took a quick free kick, but only gave it to the opposition, for Pahars to be given a scoring chance from the edge of the area. Then came Spurs' second equaliser. Ginola crossed from the left, and Leonhardsen was lucky to get away with a handball in the area on the blind side of the referee. The ball fell to Anderton, who fired home from close range to score his first goal this season.
Almost straight from the restart, Spurs took the lead. The Southampton defence was advancing, and was caught napping by a tackle/pass from Freund. Armstrong was first to the ball, with his pace, and scored a superb right foot angled shot. The visitors were generous as half time approached. Jones made a poor clearance which only reached Benali, who passed to Iversen who scored from long range with the outside of his foot. 4-2 at half time !
From the restart, Saints were under pressure from early corners. Marsden nearly scored another own goal with a glancing header, which Jones stretched to save, and Iversen had a close range effort blocked. Freund put Armstrong through, and there was an appeal for a penalty as Armstrong went down near the bye line under a challenge from Richards, but only a corner was given. the Leonhardsen - Iversen teamwork bore fruit, as Leo put Steff through with a piercing ball, for Iversen's shot to go fractionally wide of the far post.
Iversen was then putting Armstrong clear on the right, and another bye-line cross reached Freund, whose first shot was blocked, and whose second - a decent right foot curler - was saved. On 63 minutes, the lead was increased. Ginola, now dallying on the right, chipped a beauty to Carr, whose cross was cleverly flicked over the goalkeeper by Armstrong. This was a similar effort to one that was saved last week against Bradford.
Le Tissier entered the fray, to take a free kick, but the danger was easily blocked by the wall. Walker (who, I have to say had one of his unconvincing days) was beaten by a Tessem shot, but Sol Campbell (strong as ever - and playing some pretty football at times) cleared off the line. Tessem then got the better of Taricco to set up Pahars, but his shooting was seen to be as bad as Armstrong's first effort of the day. This was Taricco's only failing of the day, and he was very impressive going forward. After 77 minutes, he passed to Ginola, who returned the compliment, for the full back to make the running, and cross for Iversen to finish off from the six yard box.
By this time, Spurs had already scored more goals in this one game, than they had in the rest of the year so far, and they were on target for their best Premiership win. But there was more to come, with a showboating Ginola passing to Taricco to put Leonhardsen clear in the box. Somehow, Saints managed to scrape the ball clear. At the other end, Walker seemed to react ever so late to a Bridge cross-shot, and then the win was sealed in injury time, as a Ginola shot was deflected and fell to Iversen to complete his hat-trick with a simple shot under the keeper.
The team that last week, went off to boos, left the field to rousing cheers; "Glory, Glory", and "Let me entertain you". Iversen clutched the match ball, and George Graham said after the game that his team had been threatening to score a hatful for ages. Spurs win lifts them back up to sixth place,with a healthier goal difference than Aston Villa.
Next week, we visit the Highbury school, which, I suspect, will be no party.
Here are some statistics relevant to today's score-line:-
The last time we scored 6 goals in a league match was 1982-3 against Southampton, when we won 6-0.
The last time we scored precisely 7 was on 7th September, 1968 against Burnley (7-0).
Our record league victory was of course in the second division against Bristol Rovers in October 1977, when we won 9-0. This win effectively won us promotion because we required the better goal difference at the end of the season.
Incidentally, before that 9-0 victory, our previous record score was 8-0, against Southampton, back in Division 2 days before WW2 in March 1936.
All in all, it seems that Southampton are one of our favoured opponents. Don't forget Ronnie Rosenthal's hat-trick in the FA Cup 6-2 away win in 1995!
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