FA PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 30TH JANUARY, 1999
BLACKBURN ROVERS 1 (1) - TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0)
Blackburn scorer -
Spurs scorer -
Referee:- S. Barry
Blackburn (4-4-2):- Filan; Kenna, Broomes, Henchoz, Davidson; McAteer, Dunn ( sub Peacock, 84 ), Willcox, Duff ( sub Marconi, 61 ); Jansen ( sub Davies, 61), Ward
Subs not used:- Flowers (GK); Croft
Sent off:- Willcox (61)
Booked:- Dunn (15), Ward (61), Filan (70), Davies (78)
Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Carr, Vega, Campbell, Edinburgh; Anderton, Freund, Nielsen, Sinton ( sub Armstrong, 84 ); Ferdinand, Iversen
Subs not used:- Baardsen; Young, Tarrico; Fox
Booked:- Freund (27), Nielsen (51), Carr (82)
Having survived two early scares, and gone behind to a super debut goal from Matt Jansen, just before half time, Spurs failed to take advantage of the sending off of Jason Willcox just after Steffen Iversen's equaliser. In fact, they hardly troubled the goalkeeper in the last half hour, as the home side defended strongly to hold onto a point.
As I anticipated, Spurs started with the team that finished the last game, and in the first half, Sinton filled Ginola's boots really well, laying on several chances. Blackburn started strongly, despite a list of quality players missing or unavailable ( Sutton, Gallagher, Gillespie, Blake, McKinlay, Sherwood to name just a few! ).Duff easily shook off Nielsen after just four minutes to get into the box, and force a good save from Walker. Three minutes later, Sol Campbell fouled Jansen just outside the area; Willcox's free kick was saved by Walker, but pushed out to McAteer, who hit the cross bar with his powerful shot.
Spurs then got a grip of themselves and started to play some controlled football, and dominated possession for much of the first half. I felt that Nielsen's game improved today, and (ironically) he and Freund were more reliable with their passes than Anderton. A Sinton cross was nearly met by the head of Iversen, and after 13 minutes Ferdinand nearly scored after a long cross field pass by Nielsen was crossed from the right by Carr. The Ferdinand header caused some consternation from the Blackburn defence, and the ball ricocheted around the box, and nearly went in off Les's back side !
Ramon Vega had a solid game today ( two running ! ), although there was one occasion when he was left in no-man's land by a poor pass from a team mate that nearly led to a dangerous attack. Vega was also on hand in the opponents box, and got on the end of an Anderton corner after 17 minutes, but headed into the goalie's hands.
Shortly after this, Sinton ran across the field, and beautifully pierced the defence with a lovely reverse pass ( that Ginola would have been proud of ), to lay on a chance for Iversen. The Norwegian's shot across the goal beat the keeper, but went just wide. Ferdinand set up Anderton, but his shot was deflected for a corner. Spurs were putting the pressure on at this stage, and should have scored. Iversen crossed from the right; Ferdinand header reached Darren Anderton, whose shot reached Sinton in a good position on the left side of the area. The shot went wide.
At the other end, Jansen looked tricky; always willing and able to run at defenders, Sol did not look too comfortable with him, as demonstrated by the goal that followed. Luke Young - reinstated to the bench- must have been itching to deal with the pacey forward. ( I am not suggesting here that he should have replaced Sol! )
Jansen's goal came at the crucial time just before the interval. He received a pass with his back to the goal, just outside the area, in a central position. Sol was right behind him, but could do nothing, as Jansen swiftly swivelled round to the right, and hooked the ball to the left of the bewildered Walker into the corner of the net.
In the early part of the second half, Spurs' passes were going woefully short, and astray. McAteer took advantage of one such weak pass, and had a useful run that led to a corner. This fired some response from the away side, as Filan was forced to collect the ball bravely at the feet of Ferdinand and Anderton, after a Carr cross.
Referee Barry apparently has a lenient reputation. This was not at all evident today, as he dished out 7 yellow cards, and one red. Nielsen's booking was for a strong foul upon Willcox, and the Blackburn player was sent off when he reciprocated just after Spurs' equaliser.
Iversen's goal followed a dangerous moment for Spurs as Jansen was on his own in front of goal, but just lost control before he could get a shot in. Nielsen took a long throw, and followed up when the ball was headed out. The Dane lifted what should have been an innocuous cross into the danger zone. Ferdinand put Filan under pressure, and was not adjudged to have offended. The goalkeeper dropped the ball; Vega stuck a foot out; the ball bounced up for Campbell to head towards goal; Filan saved but padded out to Iversen, who was able to head home.
Then followed the sending off, which caused some frantic, and defensive substitutions by Brian Kidd. Sadly, there was hardly anything in the way of goalmouth action in the remainder of the game, and it was disappointing that Spurs failed to penetrate the wall. Blackburn, and their fans felt hard done by some of the referee's decisions, and the most amusement in this closing spell was to see Henchoz bending over with his head in his hands whenever things went against him !
It has been a pleasure to compile a report without mentioning the "W" word:)
· Brian Judson's preview
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