since 1878

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

FA Barclaycard Premiership 2001-02

Saturday, December 22, 2001

Referee: M Riley

Manager: Unknown

White Hart Lane

Attendance: 36,040

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2928






 Teddy Sherringham (54)













Teddy Sherringham






Match Report

Town snatch late victory

I want to savour this, it's been so long. Ipswich beat (yes beat) Tottenham Hotspurs 2-1 at White Hart Lane. In a seesaw match Ipswich went behind, but came back and bagged a late winner to gain our second win of the season...

Ipswich last won a Premier League game back in the summer, August 21st to be exact. The last time we recorded a win away from home in the league was back in early April, so to say this win is welcome, would be the understatement of the year. On a freezing afternoon Town fans had their hearts warmed with a much overdue and priceless victory. This was, to quote an old cliché, a game of two halves. Ipswich, playing with a formation not too different to the one that failed dismally in Italy (five in midfield and one up front), used Marcus Bent as the lone striker. Martijn Reuser was back on the left of midfield, and Finidi started on the right. As usual, Town started brightly, and after a scare in the first minute when Sheringham nearly got on the end of a long pass, Town carved out some good moves in the first ten minutes. But typically we somehow found ourselves one down a minute later, when Simon Davies, miles offside, stabbed home a Sheringham cross. Quite how the flag didn't go up, I don't know. Town defenders were raising their arms for offside even before the cross was kicked. But the goal stood, and Martijn Reuser found himself in Referee Mike Riley's book for protesting. But the Ipswich players responded the only way they know how to- by attempting to play football. The rest of the half belonged to Ipswich, as Spurs sat on their lead. Reuser, enjoying his recall to the team, was constant threat down the left, and nearly scored with a free kick. John McGreal came close to heading home from a Veno corner, and Finidi nearly played Chris Makin in. After 40 minutes, we deservedly scored an equaliser. Constant Ipswich pressure led to another corner, and Reuser swung one in that McGreal again met with his head, and powered goal bound. But Finidi, being closely marked, stopped the ball with his back to goal. The Nigerian then demonstrated his athleticism by hooking it into the net with a textbook overhead kick. It was a classy finish by the Nigerian, who was having possibly his best game since the Derby victory, and it set the travelling fans off into frenzied celebration. But they were very nearly cut short, when Spurs hit the post 30 seconds from the re-start. Christian Siege belted in a shot from 30 yards that cannoned off the upright. We managed to keep it at 1-1 at half time, and psychologically, that was a huge boost. At the start of the second half, Spurs came out looking much more hungry. Soon after the break, Christian Ziege was this time guilty of missing a sitter. Sergi Rebrov broke down the right and passed the ball to Ziege, who, from only four yards out, smacked the underside of the crossbar. In the 51st minute, Mike Riley went whistle-happy as Spurs were about to take a corner. He had seen an off-the-ball incident and called McGreal and Sheringham over. McGreal was shown the yellow, and surprisingly Sheringham was given a red. I'll take a manager's stance of ‘I didn't see that one', because I didn't. It was basically a case of handbags in the penalty area, but Mr Riley must have seen something more sinister. As so often is the case, being down to ten men only improved the weakened team. Instead of shutting up shop, the home team fancied their chances and went for a win. Town switched a 4-4-2 system, and we were hoping Town could use their man advantage to good effect, but it was largely a backs against the wall effort. Rebrov had a shot well saved by Sereni, and Gardner headed wide of the left post. With seven minutes remaining, Bramble replaced the injured McGreal, and his first challenge gave Spurs a dangerous free kick. But nothing came of it, and minutes later, Town took the lead. Finidi, in acres of space on the flank, whipped in a pinpoint cross that the advancing Armstrong delicately nodded past Sullivan. It was almost too good to be true, you had to pinch yourself. Players and fans celebrated deliriously, as a win finally looked on the cards. But there was still plenty of work to be done, as the assistant ref signalled four minutes of injury time. Spurs threw everything bar the kitchen sink at the Town defence, and it nearly paid off. Taricco, Richards and Ferdinand all came close to breaking our hearts, but the Town players all defended desperately, as if their lives depended on it. The final whistle was blown, and we had done it. I know it's only three points, but it felt like we had won the FA Cup, it was such a relief. I've been saying for ages our luck is due to change, and it may just have begun to swing our way. We have played much better and lost, and we rode our luck at times. Spurs will no doubt count themselves as being unlucky, but it will fall on deaf ears. Try having five months of it, and then you may get a bit of sympathy. But not everything went our way, as Spurs first goal was clearly offside. The commitment from the players was there for all to see. I'm especially pleased for Finidi George, who had one of his best games. He scored a well-executed goal and created another with a pinpoint cross. He's had a lot of unfair criticism thrown his way, but he's still giving his all, and in this match showed why Burley brought him to Ipswich. The players evidently still haven't given up on staying up, and if we can follow this with a win at home to Leicester, it just may be game on. I've forgotten what it's like to win, it's been so long. I keep staring at the paper this morning just to check it wasn't a dream. From The Terrace

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