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Tottenham Hotspur 3 - 2 Everton

Half-time: 1 - 2

Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 2000-01 – Game #4
745pm Tuesday 5 September 2000
White Hart Lane, London
Att: 35,316
Derby County (h) Ref: Barry Knight Middlesbrough (a) »
[ Matchday Calendar ] League Position: 10th [ Results &  Table ]
Gazza Everton were beset with a massive injury crisis as they journeyed down to White Hart Lane,  with no less than nine players in the Everton Squad injured or in the case of Richard Dunne suspended! 

Weir was surprisingly declared fit to partner Unsworth, the expected team captain and centre-back.  Sparky and Big Ears started up front with Joe-Max Moore returning late and physically drained after his exertions for the USA against Guatemala in the sapping heat and humidity of Washington DC.

And the match had added spice with the return of Gazza Gascoigne to one of his happy hunting grounds, where he received a big welcome.  

In a lively first half, chances went begging at either end following an early booking for Unsworth.  Jeffers missed a sitter on 12 mins, but made up for it soon after, pouncing on a bad back-pass and stabbing it home for his 3rd goal in as many games.  And Nyarko made it 2-0 with a very well taken goal later in the half, but Rebrov pulled one back after a disputed free-kick award to the Spurs.

Then, 5 mins into the second half, there was a mad scramble in the Everton penalty area, someone handled, and Rebrov pulled Spurs level from the spot.  Then, as David Unsworth casually watched the ball drift toward is ambling feet, Les Ferdinand pounced to stab home from under his nose, making it 3-2 for Spurs after just 53 mins as Everton fell apart again.

Smith no doubt told them at half-time that Spurs would come back at them... and as usual he twiddled his thumbs until the 75th minute before finally making some substitutions.  But it was too little, too late, as ever, and all that good work in the first half was wasted.


Tottenham Hotspur: Rebrov (45', pen:51'), Ferdinand (53')
EVERTON: Jeffers (23'), Nyarko (41')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used 
Tottenham Hotspur: Sullivan; Carr, Freund, Campbell, Perry; Anderton (16' Clemence), Sherwood, Leonhardsen, Thatcher (37' Taricco); Ferdinand (88' Iversen) , Rebrov.  Walker,Young.
EVERTON: Gerrard; S Watson, Weir, Gravesen, Unsworth (75' Cleland); Alexandersson, Nyarko, Gascoigne (80' Cadamarteri), S Hughes; Jeffers, M Hughes (80' Moore). 
Unavailable: Dunne (suspended); Ball, Campbell, Ferguson, Gough, Myhre, Pembridge, Pistone, Xavier (injured). 
Simonsen, Gemmill.
   Playing Strips  Formations
Tottenham Hotspur: White shirts; dark blue shorts; white socks. 4-4-2
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
Tottenham Hotspur: Rebrov (21').
EVERTON: Unsworth (5'), Alexandersson (82')

Mickey Blue Eyes When Worlds Collide
Neil Wolstenholme I hate Spurs
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Rebrov resurrects Spurs
by Christopher Davies
THE TIMES Rebrov acts to spur Tottenham's recovery
by Alyson Rudd
THE INDEPENDENT Link to Match Reports
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FA-PREMIER Link to FA-Premier Match Report

 When Worlds Collide
Mickey Blue Eyes
I might as well recount this yarn right at the beginning because it's the only light relief this report will provide.  The match was a horror story you probably don't really want to know about.  I can still hardly believe it myself...  

The Bus had arrived well on time at The Antwerp Arms about 750 m from the ground. Despite the slight chill and low grey scudding clouds, like many others, we were sat on a low boundary wall to the pretty little park opposite the pub.  Diane decided she wanted to go the Ladies.  So she crossed over and said to a cockneyette: "Excuse me....where's the toilet?"  The local looked nonplussed for a second and then said, "It's jast abaht ten parst seven, lav." 

The English: A nation divided by a common language!

The Stadium

So to the new White Fart Lane.  The usual tubular grey mess and non-descript cladding outside, but a genuine spatial solution inside.  The architect is to be congratulated for solving some truly awful site constriction problems.  But the capacity is far too low for a club of Tottenham's stature and they'll have to move sooner or later.  

The TV screens are sighted in exactly the right place, out of the way, up on the roof edge behind each goal.  There are no open corners, the stadium is continuous and gives a very compact appearance.  Sadly, the exec boxes are visually dominant because they're at two levels in the main stand... same on the opposite stand except they obviously can't let the lower row, so it has been sheeted off.  Makes it look cheap and nasty.  

Seating space in our lower south stand away section was quite narrow.  Altogether, I admired what the architect has done with the available site.  But it's not a memorable stadium and I can't say it will stand the test of time well.  In fact it may look distinctly dog-eared in a few years, like almost all of the other "new" grounds I've seen.  It's a quick, cheap, easy fix.

The Match

Given the injury scares, I was amazed to see Davey Weir in the side.  This meant we had him and Gravesen at centre backs.  Gave me a lift right at the beginning when I saw it.

We nearly, SHOULD have, let one through in the very first minute, straight from the kick off.  They played the ball down our left and a quick, difficult low cross skidded right across the centre of the defence just begging for a final touch.  Nobody made it and we all sat down again, relieved.  Shades of what was to come...

Gradually we asserted a grip on the game through midfield control.  We began playing some very neat stuff.  A goal began to look likely.  We had at least two thirds of the territorial play.  It began to dawn that Tottenham didn't have much at all.

During this spell, The Ears missed one of the easiest chances he'll ever have in his life... clear, left side box, only time and the keeper to beat from about ten metres... He pushed it past the far post!

But when it came, it was all due credit to The Ears who chased and chivvied a woeful Spurs left side defence until he was left clear at a very acute angle and bobbled it in past the keeper and a desperate defender.  Amazed, the away section, having expected the worst, erupted.  It was well deserved.

Then more excellent play and pressure from midfield brought what seemed to be an inevitable second.  Even more pathetic Spurs defensive marking on their right... a quick pass infield to Alex loping clear outside the left side of the box, level with the post... and he hit a ground shot which bent away from Sullivan... who should have got it, but failed... and it was home.  JaySUS, we couldn't believe it!  It was like that the whole first half.

Then, precisely when we didn't want it, we let one in on the stroke of half time.  A disputed free kick way out on our left AGAIN skidded through the central defence and Ferdinand got a boot on it... it hit the post... came out past some static Bellies... and some Russkie or other stuck an easy one in.  Yet another stupid goal to let through.  The Charlton Syndrome loomed.

Then, once again, The Syndrome overwhelmed. We made a reasonably determined start to the second half.  And that was it.  Once again, pitifully, we went to pieces in midfield and our defence made the kind of errors you'd bawl at your son for.  It became only a matter of time.  Sure enough, a sort of scrambled attack saw Tottenham get a penalty after nobody in the defence could get off their lazy arse to hack it clear.  2-2 and we all knew the script didn't we?

The winner was tragi-comic, a complete disgrace to professional football: a high cross from our left which Paul should have made his, but didn't; no defender to shepherd it over the goal line; a winger who chased it down and booted it hopefully into the middle... centre-backs who looked at each other, at the stands, at the crossbar, at the ad hoardings everywhere but at doing their job... a Spurs forward who stuck his boot out... Paul, who was STILL rooted on his line and STILL should have saved it... and it went in.

After that, Tottenham could have had another couple.  Cleland, The Little Yank and Danny came on but the match was well lost by then.  The Gravedigger had one excellent thudding shot which just missed the right post, and that was it.

For me, the whistle couldn't come soon enough.

It was a truly pitiful second half display.  Now we know, and so does the rest of the Prem, that The Charlton Syndrome is structural and will be until we get a full strength side out and used to playing with each other.

No point blaming individual players.  It's a team thing.

   Up to Reports Index ]
 I hate Spurs
Neil Wolstenholme
Being at the game and listening to the game are such different experiences.  Watching from the South Upper was a roller-coaster last night.  Head in hands for 15 minutes; off my seat with delight for 25; head in hands again just before half-time.  Content for the first 10 minutes of the second half, then grey, then bald....

The sad truth is that collectively as a team we cannot defend.  Stephen Hughes has no natural defensive instincts and is learning the hard way, Nyarko can't (hopefully there should be a "yet" inserted here) play 90 minutes at Premier League tempo, and Gascoigne and Hughes M were only effective for 45 minutes.  It was obvious early in the second half that the latter two's legs had gone and maybe we lost the game because of the unwillingness of the manager to recognise this but you could argue that with only a shagged-out JMM on the bench worth the price of a shirt their wasn't much he could do.

The back line is very brittle under pressure.  Most of the goals came down to organisational errors / failure to pick-up that were probably excusable given the makeshift nature of the team but we had good chances to clear the ball in each case and fluffed it with panicky attempted clearances.  Rhino was guilty but he was hardly alone and shouldn't be singled out.  

One observation: as a defender, I think I'd panic with Gerrard behind me he flapped, mis-handled, came when he should have stayed and stayed when he should have come the number of balls that whizzed across our 6-yard box with no attempt by him to claim them was amazing and it is clear he is in one of his periodic "crises of confidence".  Collectively (and it was a collective failure) they just looked like they didn't believe they could hold a lead we may have no confidence in their ability to do that but it seems their own confidence is even lower.

There were a fair few plus points though:

  • Watson - solid
  • Weir - better than anyone could have expected given his injury and the absence of Gough
  • Alexandersson toasted Thatcher (subbed early) and worked hard defensively - shame we only gave him two passes in the second half as when he did get the ball he danced past Tariccio (Thatcher's replacement) as if he wasn't there. Maybe a question over his stamina? One very good strike on goal, one delayed decision that cost him a good chance. 
  • Nyarko - drifts in and out of the game because he plays a continental stop-start tempo and hasn't got to grips with the flat out PL but when he is in "start" mode he is a class apart in both defending and attacking. 
  • Jeffers - he gets lots of stick (often deserved) about his work rate and attitude but I thought he was our best player by a country mile yesterday.  Ran for everything, out-worked and frankly embarrassed Mark Hughes with his effort, held the ball up better than I've ever seen him fluffed one chance, took another but always gave the Spurs defenders something to worry about.  He will be even better with someone alongside him who can do the business.

Oh how I hate Spurs ;-(

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Rebrov acts to spur Tottenham's recovery
by Alyson Rudd, The Times

THERE is a tendency at White Hart Lane to hold the past against the present, to cheer Paul Gascoigne instead of what they have now, but what they have is promising.  Last night Tottenham Hotspur made plenty of mistakes and found themselves two goals behind, but rallied with gusto to turn the match around.  If nothing else, they gave the fans an evening of suspense.  Ah, the etiquette of support. 

While Richard Edghill, the long-serving captain at Manchester City, ponders why his club's fans jeer him until he cries, that most famous of tearful players, Gascoigne, was fted generously by opposition fans at Tottenham. The Everton midfield player is remembered with a fondness so acute that he was given a standing ovation as he strolled up to take a corner kick.

Mind you, even the most ardent Gazza fanatics had to peer to find him.  He is practically svelte these days and he needed to be sprightly for this encounter, which was boisterous, pacy and scatterbrained.  Stephen Carr, Tottenham's most consistent player last season, created problems for Everton down the right flank but Les Ferdinand, making his first start since March, and Sergei Rebrov failed to take advantage.

Invariably, Everton cleared the ball in haste but were able to set in motion some troublesome counter-attacks.  Francis Jeffers had the first clear chance after Mark Hughes set him up with a dummy from Unsworth's pass, but the Everton forward somehow steered the ball wide of an upright.  It was a let-off for the home side, but the pace of the game was not to their liking and a poor back pass from Thatcher left Sullivan stranded and Jeffers with an open goal.  It was his third goal in three games.

Everton were supposed to have a defensive crisis owing to a bulging treatment-room, but their back line was performing better than Tottenham's, who looked a sorry bunch when Alex Nyarko twisted and turned at the edge of the penalty area and left Sullivan looking leaden-footed as the Ghanaian's strike nestled in the corner of the net.

Just before half-time, Tottenham pulled a goal back when Clemence's free kick reached Campbell, whose effort bounced off an upright and fell to Rebrov for the Ukrainian's first goal for his new club.  One suspects that the goal was insufficient to prevent George Graham from asking his players if they fancied many more slaps around the face from Walter Smith's team.

Tottenham certainly did not start the second half like a team that had enjoyed a quiet cup of tea.  However, although jittery, they pressed and won a penalty.  Clemence's corner kick was met with a powerful header from Campbell, Gerrard saved brilliantly but the ball remained inside the penalty area and was cleared by the hand of Gravesen.  No one was cautioned presumably the referee could not tell whose hand it was but Rebrov neatly wrong-footed the Everton goalkeeper.

Clemence was regarded by some as a successor to David Ginola and last night, although he lacked the frills that the Frenchman brought to the game, he was just as effective, if not more so.  It was Clemence who set up Tottenham's third, via Sherwood, a lovely shot on the turn from Ferdinand that emphasised his return to full fitness and confidence.

While Smith lamented Everton's surrender of a two-goal lead "our problem seems to be showing resilience once we get in front," he said Rebrov "is going to take over the role of David [Ginola] as the idol of White Hart Lane", according to Graham. Once they have forgotten Gazza, maybe.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Rebrov resurrects Spurs
Christopher Davies, Electronic Telegraph

WHAT a difference a half makes.  As Tottenham left the field for the interval they were booed by many of the home fans unhappy that Everton were leading 2-1.  Spurs captain Tim Sherwood sarcastically applauded but at the final whistle the White Hart Lane faithful gave the team a standing ovation after a two-goal deficit was turned into a victory that moved them into second place in the Premiership.

Sergei Rebrov scored twice, his first goals since his 11 million summer transfer from Dynamo Kiev.  Les Ferdinand, starting his first Premiership game for a year, marked his return with a goal so Spurs' new strike partnership at least came good when it mattered.

While Tottenham manager George Graham was understandably delighted with his side's comeback, Everton's Walter Smith was "disappointed" to give up a two-goal lead for the second successive game.  "It was the same as against Derby at Goodison Park," he said. "Scoring is not a problem for us.  Holding on to the lead is.  The problem is resilience once we get in front and this is something we must work at.  We must also not concede sloppy goals from set pieces."

While many will argue there is no such thing as a bad goal, all five were the result of either individual errors or sloppy defensive play.  The game was exciting mainly because of the mistakes rather than individual mastery.

"The level of defending in the Premiership is poor," said Graham.  "It's great for the fans, though.  This must have been a very exciting game to watch."

It was and Everton looked the more composed team in the first half with the veteran Mark Hughes combining well with the promising Francis Jeffers in attack.  "They had good movement," acknowledged Graham.

By contrast, Rebrov and Ferdinand lacked cohesion, though the three goals scored by Spurs' strike force is proof that their finishing, if not their all-round play, was exemplary.  "There is more to come from Rebrov," said Graham.  "It's a lot to expect him to switch on right away.  He's still feeling his way.  He's a fan of English football but being involved in the middle of it is another matter. He's a cool character and once he settles in he could take over from David Ginola as the idol of White Hart Lane.  Les did exceptionally well."

Stephen Carr should have given Spurs the lead in the first minute and then Jeffers, with only Neil Sullivan to beat 10 yards from goal, shot wide. Everton went ahead in the 25th minute after Ben Thatcher's poor back pass gave Jeffers possession.  The striker's finish was hardly clinical the shot went in off Sullivan but Everton's brighter play deserved reward.

The visitors made it 2-0 in the 42nd minute when Alex Nyarko was allowed to run towards the Spurs penalty area without being closed down.  The Ghanaian beat Sherwood, though the diving Sullivan should have saved Nyarko's low shot.

A minute before half-time Tottenham pulled a goal back.  Stephen Clemence's free kick was met by Sol Campbell whose effort struck an upright.  Rebrov reacted quickest to stab the loose ball home for his first goal in English football.  The Tottenham boo boys eventually turned cheerleaders when two goals in four minutes midway through the second half saw Spurs stage what had seemed an unlikely comeback.

The first, in the 61st minute, followed Clemence's corner which saw Paul Gerrard knock Ferdinand's header in the air.  A clutch of players jumped for it and referee Barry Knight saw a blue arm handle the ball.  Knight did not know who the offender was video evidence proved it to be Thomas Gravesen but the official correctly awarded a penalty which Rebrov converted with ease.

Three minutes later Clemence's cross was knocked down by Sherwood and Ferdinand beat David Weir to hook the ball home from close range.  The victory was not without cost, however.  Darren Anderton injured a groin taking a first minute corner was eventually replaced by Clemence.

"It looks a bad one," said Graham. "It could be a bit of time."

Anderton must be rated doubtful for England's last game at Wembley before the stadium's rebuilding in the 2002 World Cup tie against Germany next month.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

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