since 1878

Tottenham Hotspur (2) 3 - 1 (1) Ipswich Town

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Saturday, August 19, 2000

Referee: A Wiley

Manager: Unknown

White Hart Lane

Attendance: 36,148

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2856


 Mark Venus 






















Match Report

Spurs too hot to handle

Well it wasn't the romantic start to the season we had all hoped for. Town's return to the Premiership was not a victorious one, as we were beaten 3-1 away to Spurs after taking the lead early in the first half. It was not all doom and gloom though, as a fairly good performance was only let down by amateurish defending. Heart can be taken from the fact that we showed we can compete at this level, while learning a few vital lessons about the reality of the task in hand. Last season Town had to travel to County Ground, Swindon for their opening away fixture of the campaign. Today, on a sunny August day, the short sleeves and shades were out as Town fans were making the more attractive journey to White Hart Lane. And what a contrast that is. It must be said, a full White Hart Lane is now quite an impressive Stadium, with giant TV screens beaming the action as it happens. This inevitably brought the first ironic chants of ‘sh*t ground, no fans' from sections of the away army. The only real surprise of the starting eleven was that John Scales had not passed a late fitness test (funnily enough the Spurs fans did not find it a surprise) and was set to be replaced by the almost equally crock Mark Venus. Our new Icelandic hero was set to make his debut in a Town shirt next to Venus and the young prodigy Bramble. This meant Town were going to start their season in the hardest league in the world by playing with a central defensive trio which had never played with each other before. This immediately made me slightly nervous. I've never quite made my mind up about Venus, and the thought of him ‘keeping £11 million man Sergi Rebrov in check' did not fill me with confidence. Wing backs were the predicted Croft and Clapham. Holland, Magilton and Scowcroft won the midfield births ahead of Jermaine Wright and fans favourite Reuser. Johnson and Stewart teamed up together in attack. Tottenham were, as predicted, parading their new signings Sergi Rebrov, Ben Thatcher and Neil Sullivan in goal. There was no place for Tarrico, although the rumoured Town target did get a load cheer from Town supporters when an interview with him was beamed on the TV screens. Town kicked off towards the South Stand end, and operating a 5-3-2 formation began to take control of the game after a frantic couple of opening minutes. Johnson went wide with a shot and Bramble decided to impress everyone by steaming up the field and firing wide. It was after nine minutes when the travelling hoards were able to go barmy. Ipswich were beginning to rattle Spurs. Johnson, who was making himself a nuisance for the Spurs defence, turned with the ball at his feet, was upended and won a free kick. Veno let fly with one of his ‘specials'. It took a slight deflection which left Sullivan stranded. It was a great moment, and the celebrations began for the first premier goal of Ipswich's season. It sparked off chants of ‘We are top of the League' and, for a few brief magic moments, we were. This, however, prompted Ipswich into their old, tried and trusted trick of ‘sitting back' on the lead. Spurs gradually grew stronger and stronger as Ipswich, probably realising they had no right what so ever to be leading away from home, gave Tottenham too much respect and visibly began to defend much deeper. Tarrico started warming up and was given a great reception his old fans, who chanted his name. It's probably the only time he's heard his name being sung at White Heart Lane. Sergi Rebrov, who had looked as sharp as Lee Chapman, suddenly showed a touch of real class when he looped the ball over Wrighty's outstretched hand and hit the woodwork. A lucky escape for the Blues. However, it wasn't long before the equaliser. After 29 minutes, Rebrov fed Carr, who found himself in a one on one with Richard Wright. Again we witnessed Richard's developing habit of chopping down defenders when in this situation. I wouldn't mind so much if Carr looked like he was going to score, but his touch had pushed the ball too far ahead of him, and, like at Wembley, a needless penalty was conceded. Anderton duly converted the penalty. It was Town who were rattled now, and 2 minutes later Carr, after doing good work down the left by shaking off Clapham, sold Wright a dummy and somehow slotted the ball home from an acute angle. Marcus Stewart then hit the post with a lovely effort just before half time. In the second half Town again begun to dominate in their search for an equaliser. They passed the ball around well, without creating enough goal scoring opportunities. Johnson was a constant threat, and Town fans felt aggrieved when Neil Sullivan clearly handled outside the box when under challenge from Stewart. Reuser came on for Scowcroft, but was unable to have the impact he has in the past. Venus suffered yet another injury and was replaced by Wayne Brown. As Town were pushing for an equaliser, they were guilty of giving the ball away too often, and this resulted in Tottenham's third. A static defence watched as Les Ferdinand powered home an unstoppable header. It's always disappointing to lose. A point would have been nice, and taken off a bit of pressure before the ‘biggie' on Tuesday against Man Utd. On one hand you could argue that losing to a poor Spurs team is not a good sign. If we can't pick up points against them, how on earth are we going to get on against Man Utd? But lessons will be learned. I personally believe that there were many good points to take from the game. We outclassed Spurs for much of the game, only to concede sloppy goals. Hermann showed he has class, and likes to bring the ball out of defence and spray it around almost ‘a la Sedgley' style. Once the defenders are actually introduced to each other, and after a couple of training sessions with Mogga, they should gel into a unit. Only Richard Wright can say he under performed. I don't think he's been himself for a while, and all of the contract saga cannot have helped. He needs to buckle down, focus, and sort out this ‘penalty thing'.

From The Terrace

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