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Match Reports
Spurs v Charlton, 02.11.98

This report is courtesy of Brian Judson of the "Spurs list"

Monday, November 2nd, 1998
FA Carling Premiership

Tottenham Hotspur : Baardsen; Carr, Scales, Campbell, Edinburgh; Fox (sub Allen, 86), Anderton, Calderwood, Nielsen, Sinton (sub Clemence, 86); Armstrong.

Substitutes *NOT* used : Walker, Dominguez, Vega.

Goalscorers : Nielsen, 48; Armstrong, 58.

Booked : Calderwood, Edinburgh.

Charlton Athletic : Ilic; Mills, Rufus (sub Robinson, 41), Tiler, Youds, Powell; Kinsella, Redfearn (sub Brown, 83), Mortimer (sub S Jones, 62); Mendorca, Hunt.

Substitutes *NOT* used : Petterson, K Jones.

Goalscorer : Hunt, 33, 75

Booked : Tiler, Mortimer, Kinsella.

Referee : M Reed (Birmingham).

Attendance : 32,202.

Tottenham displayed their Jekyll and Hyde characters throughout the match. One moment they were playing like champions; the next they were absolute crap. But it was clear for all to see that George Graham's influence is already at work. Charlton had great difficulty in beating Tottenham's offside trap. There may not yet be the synchronised arm waving but the influence of Highbury was there as Hunt and Mendorca were frequently pulled up sharp by the linesman.

When Sky announced the line-up, I was astounded to see Tottenham were adopting a 4-5-1 (copyright David Pleat circa 1986-87) and that Steffan Iversen was missing. I have since discovered Iversen was injured in training so it is clear that, despite Graham, some things never seem to change. But I felt it was expecting too much to leave everything in the hands of Armstrong, whose confidence has been low this season.

Charlton were paying their first visit to Tottenham since 1990. They have done well to climb back to the Premiership since they have never been a rich outfit and have to survive on other people's cast-offs. They have won a lot of friends with their open football.

Tottenham almost made a dramatic start to the game. Anderton almost scored after barely 90 seconds of the game. Charlton then shone for a while before Tottenham suddenly woke up again.

Whilst Tottenham slumbered, Charlton snatched the lead. It was a well-planned goal. Carl Tiler sent a long ball to Mendorca. Mendorca chested the ball down to Paul Mortimer. Mortimer passed the ball to Mendorca, whose shot hit the base of the far post and rebounded to Hunt. Hunt had only to tap the ball home.

Manager Graham was not been best pleased by Tottenham's performance. The Sky cameras caught him making a point forcefully to David Pleat high in the Stands and Pleat, nodding like a frightened rabbit, agreeing.

Tottenham fought back like tigers. Their tackling was sometimes ill-judged. One such tackle led to the premature departure of Rufus, who had attempted to limp on for several minutes.

Allan Nielsen equalised soon after half-time. Anderton sent Carr away down the wing. Carr's pinpoint centre was met by Nielsen, who timed his run to perfection, and crashed the ball home in a manner reminiscent of Dave Mackay.

Six minutes later, Tottenham were ahead. I found it ironical the best move of the game was produced by the three most criticised Tottenham players. Fox sent Edinburgh away down the left. His centre was accurate for once and Armstrong headed home by the far post. Tiler was to blame for that goal because he should have been marking Armstrong. One cannot completely blame Tiler because Armstrong's shooting up to that point had been woeful with one attempt even ending up as a throw-in to Charlton.

Spurs seemed to think they had done enough and eased off the pressure, despite the shouts from the enraged Graham on the touch-line.

Charlton's equaliser had a touch of drama to it. Steve Jones challenged Edinburgh, who collapsed in a heap. Tottenham protested heatedly to the referee who waved play on. Jones lobbed the ball to Hunt for the latter player to sweep behind Baardsen.

Late on, Campbell was foiled when Kinsella cleared the ball off the line. Anderton saw a free-kick saved by Ilic. But, in truth, Tottenham did not deserve to win.

On the basis of what I saw through the medium of Sky, there seems little doubt that George Graham has exploded a few bombs under the backside of some of Tottenham's prima donnas. This is a very welcome development as player power has been too prevalent at Tottenham for too long. There are signs that this season we will be figuring nearer to the top of the table than at the bottom.

I'm now looking forward to watching Spurs at Liverpool next week. COME ON YOU SPURS!

Brian Judson's preview

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