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Cardiff City (Home)

Worthington Cup Round 2

Tuesday 1st October 2002

Having left Cardiff last season feeling deflated, it is ironic that we have to face that City's home-town team at the first hurdle this time.  Promoted to the Second Division last summer and making a good job in that league so far this season, City are on the way up.  Funded by the former Wimbledon chairman Sam Hamman and with experienced manager Lennie Lawrence at the helm, they are playing good football and progressing at a steady rate.

There are some exciting young players at Ninian Park now.  The most notable is Zambian born Rob Earnshaw, who has been scoring goals and taking the headlines.  He is quick, brave and has a knack for knocking the ball into the onion bag.  Scored against Germany on his Welsh debut and has a somersault celebration, that we hope we don't see too much of !!  Another is Danny Gabiddon, who has made the Welsh team in defence and he is a talent that is highly rated in Wales.

Not that they are all young bucks down Cardiff way.  Spencer Prior brings his Premiership experience with Norwich, Manchester City and Derby to the side and others who have played in the top flight are Gary Croft (Ipswich Town), Des Hamilton (Newcastle United), Andy Campbell (Middlesbrough) and Gareth Whalley (Bradford City).

The defence will consist of Neil Alexander in goal, who has been difficult to beat this season, with Prior and Gabiddon in the centre, flanked by ex-Gooner Rhys Weston and Croft.  Scot Willie Boland, Andy Legg, Graham Kavanagh and  Gareth Whalley will form the midfield, while upfront, Earnshaw will partner Peter Thorne.

Legg has a turn of speed and an exceedingly long throw, which is used as a potent weapon, while Kavanagh is the engine room and has been around with Stoke and Boro.  Last season he was top scorer at the club, contributing greatly form midfield. Boland also has a lot of experience, mainly in Scotland, while Whalley was on trial with Spurs for a game or so a few seasons back, but nothing came of it.

With options in attack, heavy lower league scorer Peter Thorne has been favoured, whereas the signing from Boro, Andy Campbell is also available to come in or on to add to the firepower.

The Bluebirds will be fired up to give a good performance of themselves and I think there will be goals from both sides.  

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham  3  Cardiff City  2

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.



Tottenham  1   Cardiff City  0    (Half-time score : 1- 0)
Tuesday 1st October 2002
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  17.45 p.m.
Weather : -  Dry, humid
Crowd : -  23,732
Referee : -  S. W. Mathieson (Stockport)
Teams : - 
Tottenham : -  Keller; Thatcher, Richards, Bunjevcevic, Taricco (Doherty 66); Etherington, Acimovic, Freund (Iversen 86), Davies; Sheringham, Keane (Ferdinand 90)
Unused subs. : - Hirschfeld, Blondel

Cardiff City : -  Alexander; Weston, Gabbidon, Prior,  Croft; Legg (Fortune-West 76), Whalley, Kavanagh, Boland (Maxwell 86); Campbell, Earnshaw
Unused subs. : - Margetson, Barker, Hamilton

Colours : - 
Tottenham -  White shirts, Navy blue shorts, White socks with navy blue turnover.

Cardiff City -  Yellow shirts, blue shorts, blue socks with white turnover

Scorers : - 
Tottenham -  Sheringham 29

Cardiff City - None

Cards : - 
Tottenham - Thatcher (foul) 43, Richards (foul) 58

Cardiff City - None

The single goal did not tell the whole tale of this Worthington Cup tie, but it tells enough to get Tottenham through to the next round.

The early goal that Tottenham had hoped for did not come, despite some crisp passing ... sometimes over-done in trying to score the perfect goal.  Keane had a couple of chances to net his first, but shot wide and headed a close-in effort at the keeper.  Acimovic should really have put Tottenham ahead, when he was set up by Sheringham's flick on.  Left in acres of space he precisely put the ball past the keeper and precisely hit the woodwork.

Straight away Cardiff broke away.  With Earnshaw causing Tottenham problems with his pace, they let Boland advance with the ball and his twenty five yard strike rocketed back into play off the post with Keller beaten.  

It was just before the half hour that Spurs worked the ball out on their right wing to Mauricio Taricco.  He put in a low cross to the near post and Teddy Sheringham, running ahead of his marker met it on the volley to put it in the net.  It was a well worked goal and showed how to open up the Cardiff defence.  It was hoped that more would come.  Davies hit on straight at the keeper, while he soon after put in a hard, low cross for Matthew Etherington, but at the speed he was coming in, he couldn't keep the ball under the bar.  Robbie Keane had a go from outside the box, but his curling effort was too tame to beat Alexander.

The goal flood wasn't to be.  Despite having the bulk of the possession and the visitors getting less opportunity to go forward in the second half, Spurs failed to take the chances they created.  Sheringham blazed over the bar; Etherington's volley was blocked by a defender; Keane had two chances - one he failed to control when put through and another set up by a Sheringham back-heel, that he hit over the bar.  Even the Anderton-Sheringham corner routine (with Acimovic playing the Anderton role) failed to come off, as Ted hit the low ball over the bar.

Campbell, who had dropped from Middlesbrough's team to Cardiff, was trying to prove his worth and drew two yellow cards for Thatcher and Richards.  He had the best chance in the second half for Cardiff, when he held off Deano and put his shot wide.  Gabiddon had two late efforts.  One from a corner, when he put a towering header over the crossbar and then another when he tricked his way around Thatcher, but he tried to be too ambitious in curling a shot well wide of the goal.

It was hardly a riveting game, with Cardiff giving a good account of themselves.  It is not had to see how they are doing so well in the Second Division, as they are well organised, pass well and with Earnshaw, they have a striker with pace.  For Tottenham, there was the return of Steffen Freund to be happy about, but it was a match won without being overly-impressive.  There will need to be further improvement before the trip to Blackburn on Sunday.


Mike Rotch




Cardiff.  A name to strike fear into Spurs fans hearts for a number of reasons.

Of those old enough to remember, it was an FA Cup defeat in the late 1970s.  For those of more tender years, it was last year's Worthington Cup final.  For those in between, it is the thought of their fans being the cause of trouble wherever they go.  The support that they gave their team within the ground was noisy and impeccable; much better than a lot of Premiership sides.  Outside it was a different matter.  It is a while since I have seen as many Police as I did tonight and they were pretty well employed, as their was fighting along the High Road.

But there were more important things to talk about than that.  The return of Steffen Freund, for example.  He showed just what wasn't there against Boro on Saturday by winning the ball, giving it simply to a team-mate, moving the ball around to get moves started.  It was clear that he was not entirely match fit, but there was enough there to show that he might be able to come back and perform a vital role for the team.

It was just as well, because in the first half, Richards was having a problem with the pace of Rob Earnshaw. The lovely Zambian was showing that the valuable asset of a quick pair of legs can cause trouble to any defence, but Tottenham did get used to his speed and the forward gradually faded from the game.  Keller didn't have a great deal to do, but was beaten by a 30 yard effort from Boland that hit the bar.  That apart, there was little on target from the Welsh side.

As for Spurs, they managed a fair amount of shots on target, but failed to give the keeper many worrying moments.  Robbie Keane needs a goal and this should have been the ideal opportunity to open his Spurs account, but perhaps he is saving that for a more important occasion.  There were five clear opportunities to get off the mark, but he didn't break his duck.  He could have done when put clear through, but a poor touch took the ball too far away from him and too near the keeper.

Teddy Sheringham made the old corner routine a part of Milenko Acimovic's repertoire by signalling to him that he wanted the ball delivered in low.  Milo obliged, but Teddy skied the ball well over.  He did set up Keane on the edge of the area with a neat back-heel, but Robbie hit the keeper.

Cardiff came out looking like Brazil.  In kit form that is, with yellow shirts with green trim, blue shorts and socks. Unfortunately, that was the closest to the illusion that they managed.  They moved the bal about quite well, moved off the ball and they have  solid team which would do well lower down the leagues, but they were found out tonight.  As usual, Tottenham failed to press home the advantage they had.  Sheringham made a trademark run to get to a Taz cross at the near post to slide his volley in.  You expected Spurs to go on from there, but the goals didn't come.  Having heard that Sunderland beat Cambridge 7-0, there is never the risk that this will happen with our team.  Humiliation of other teams is not in their dictionary.

So, Tottenham did enough to get through to the next round, but Cardiff went back along the M4 with their heads held high.  It's just a shame that the game failed to liven up the 23,723 crowd ... most of whom stayed at home with their season tickets.

East Stan

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