TEN MEN WENT TO ...

Derby County (Home)  29.4.2000

When they say it is harder to play against ten men, I didn't think it meant that you had to make them look like world beaters.  Yet, for long periods of today's game, that is just what Tottenham managed to do.  Players like Carbonari and Burley looked as if we should be snapping them up and not worrying about jetting to Russia to land Rebrov.  They were up against a decidedly dodgy Spurs performance that threatened to turn the crowd against them once more.

The turning point came on 40 minutes, when Schnoor was turned on the half-way line by Armstrong and his tug on his shirt and shorts brought him down as he sped down the line away from the Rams defender.  Having been cautioned for a blatant handball earlier, his show of sitting on the floor looking bemused was a little surprising.  He knew he had been booked already, so he must have known that he had to go.  However, from that point on, Spurs looked as if they were the side with a man disadvantage.  Derby battled and won in midfield, while Spurs were content to concede ground and possession on a regular basis.  Short five yard passes went astray and with them any benefit the side had of making the extra man count.  The general lack of movement by the Spurs players meant that Derby's job of chasing them was made easy and they went in front after a spell of pressure that threatened a goal for a few minutes.  The Rams players were waltzing past the Spurs defenders, who looked as though they were mesmerised by their footwork.  It was quite embarrassing for a while, but then it happened.  The long cross following a corner was met by Carbonari, who hit a cracking volley that went past a crowd of players and in.  Spurs never really looked like getting back into the game and approaching the end, it all looked a bit desperate.  

The crowd were getting at Walker and the booing started, along with "We want our Tottenham Back", but that changed, as usual, with the equaliser and it was "We Love You Tottenham".  Clemence's cheeky back-heel after an Anderton corner was headed down saw Derby lose their lead at the death. However, it was hard to feel sorry for them, when they had been taking the ball into the corner to try and waste time as well as taking forever over every goal-kick, free-kick and throw-in.

Houston decided to replace Iversen and Ginola with McEwen and Etherington.  Steffen was having an invisible match and David, while getting into the game more, was not producing much with the ball.  I wouldn't have argued with the substitutions, but the rest of the crowd took it badly, with lots of booing.  Ginola didn't take it too well either, storming off down the tunnel and pointing angrily at the bench.  Etherington got a few opportunities to run at defenders, which he does well, and almost got on the end of a deep cross from the right by Davies.  McEwen had a couple of chances, one from a right wing Carr cross, which he headed narrowly over from 10 yards out and another good move, which saw the ball headed down to him in the box, but he pulled his shot wide.  He obviously wasn't afraid to shoot, as he had another effort go wide too.  Davies had replaced the disappointing Korsten, who's main contribution was to get booked.  Simon showed enough to hint that he does not have to worry about being out of his depth at this level.  Indeed. it was his nice piece of skill which earned the corner that lead to the goal.

Walker had distinguished himself earlier in the match, when the pacy and lively Derby forward, Malcolm Christie, worked a nice one-two with Burton and collected his partner's back-heel to shoot at goal from about the penalty spot.  Walker had closed him down and stopped the low shot to his left and gathered the ball at the second attempt.  He really had little else to do, but the Spurs defence looked shaky all day.  Derby tried to match the tall Powell with Carr and Stephen played well enough to avert the aerial danger.  Carr also found time to go forward early in the match and latch onto Anderton's lofted pass to hit his shot against the bar.  Sol looked powerful and made some forward forays with the ball, shrugging the boy-like Christie in his wake.  Perry looked ill at ease and his clearances verged on the panicky some of the time and his booking for dragging back Christie showed his weakness against someone with real pace.  Young played solidly, but doesn't have the attacking possibilities of a Taricco.  

In midfield, Tottenham lost out.  Kinkladze didn't really set the match aflame, but he was allowed to run too far with the ball at times.  Burley bossed the midfield and although Clem tried hard, he lacks the authority of a Sherwood to enforce his role.  Korsten didn't do much to show why he was at the centre of the split up of GG and O'Leary's friendship and Ginola had one of those days when either nobody was on the end of his crosses or they were into the crowd.  Anderton started like a star - putting in Carr and Iversen with delicately played balls into the box over the defence, but he faded in the second period and was guilty of conceding possession needlessly.  Upfront, Iversen had a bit of a lacksidaisical game and Armstrong didn't get a great deal of service, but ran and tried hard.

Derby must have thought they had done it, but the dogged spirit of the Spurs team, little shown until the end, got them a point they didn't really deserve.

Now to Old Trafford and I think we should be alright as long as one of the Manchester United players doesn't get sent off !!

EAST STAN

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