Saturday 27th March 2004
The New Dell is not one of the best grounds in the country and since it was opened it certainly fills that criteria for Tottenham. Therefore, [perhaps a win is overdue at the Saintly home.
Spurs travel there on the back of a beating at Old Trafford and although the last two goals came in the final minutes, there was not a clue as to how Spurs were going to break through. Hopefully, Pleat will consider this one winnable and go with a different attitude. Having been shown the door, Gordon Strachan has been replaced by Plymouth Argyle's manager Paul Sturrock. another bluff Scotsman, he has stepped into the role and will see what the squad consists of before making changes in the summer no doubt.
Having jettisoned Paul Jones to Wolves, SCBC are left with their first choice keeper Antti Niemi, who is as fine shot stopper. His ability on crosses is not as good and the pressure that Tottenham could put him under with Fredi coming in on balls in from the wide positions might prove interesting. As Hans Segers recounts on the Spurs website today, Niemi has been a big reason why they have conceded so few goals and they will be hard to get through on Saturday. In reserve, the Saints have the young ex-Brentford keeper Paul Smith, who is untried at the top level and made a few rickets before leaving the Bees, which might have put Tottenham off him.
In defence is captain Jason Dodd, a stalwart, who is a solid pro and tries hard to hold the back line together. Without Le Saux through injury, Stephen Crainey, the former Celtic man has been selected by the manager to fill in. A strong tackler, his height gives him an advantage, but he is susceptible to being turned by a tricky winger. Claus Lundekvam had been a rock in defence when Hoddle was in charge, but lacked a regular partner after Richards left. That was until Michael Svensson arrived. Both men are tall, but the more rugged approach of Svensson added to the ball-playing ability of Lundekvam. Coming through the ranks are Fitz Hall, bought from Oldham and Norwich defender Darren Kenton, both of whom have played this season, but are being brought through slowly to be phased into the side in the coming seasons. Danny Higginbotham is another who can play wide in defence or through the middle. A former graduate of the Old Trafford academy, he moved to Derby and got a lot of experience there before ending up at the New Dell. A tough tackler, he likes to get forward at set-pieces, but with Lundekvam and Svensson, usually has to hang back to cover for them.
Former Forest man David Prutton is being given an opportunity by new manager Sturrock to show what he can do, but the young England Under-21 midfielder has a suspect temperament, that may let him (and the team) down. Jo Tessem has only played a couple of games this season and is back in the side under Sturrock, so could feature. A rangy midfielder, he can provide a ball-winning presence alongside Telfer, as can Rory Delap, who can double as a defender. The ex-Derby man is fast and his other weapon is a very long throw. Out of favour with Stachan and now restored to the side is Anders Svensson. Although short, he has a good engine and can provide quick support to the front men. Usually found out on the wing is Neil McCann, who arrived from Glasgow Rangers to add pace on the line. He seems to be favoured by Sturrock in that position to Fabrice Fernandes. Talented but prone to slope out of the game if it is getting tough, Fernandes is one of the players Sturrock might not fancy in the long run. Leandre Griffit is a pacy French midfielder brought in last summer, who has played a few games, but is seen as one for the future, much like Yoann Folly, a young defensive midfielder, who has yet to start a match for the club. An old hand in this part of the team is Paul Telfer, who gets stuck in and can be dangerous taking dead ball kicks, but SCBC will have to be without Matt Oakley who has a knee injury that currently rules him out for a long time.
Amongst the forwards are Kevin Phillips, James Beattie, Marian Parhars, Brett Ormerod. Parhars missed much of last seasonw ith injury and although fit, is now behind the other three in the pecking order. Ormerod makes the odd start, but is more often first option on the bench. He has some pace and is good at holding the ball up for a little bloke, but the first choice pairing of Phillips and Beattie means his chances are limited. Beattie has been the chief goal-scorer over the last two seasons. Tall, strong and able to hit the net, he is a good Premiership striker, although the jury is out as to whether he can make the step up to the international level. Phillips found that one step too far and has settled for a return to the club he started at. Once touted as a cert to come to Tottenham, the little nippy forward struggled to find his form on moving to the South Coast, but has scored a few goals (8 in 21 starts) lately to show what he can do. Needs to be watched closely, as he has the ability to drift off his marker and find space.
With the right liner-up Tottenham could take this game with the ability to break quickly. Pleat must pick a hard working midfield and without Davies, that means Jackson or Ricketts being included, because we can't afford passengers, with Sturrock sure to have his side fired up after losing to Pompey. The Tottenham defence must keep switched on and not fall asleep like they did at the end of the United match, otherwise they will be punished again. With everything in place, I believe that Spurs can get the result they need ...
PREDICTION : - SCBC 1 Tottenham 3
For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.
VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE
It was not possible to find a site who would contribute.
SCBC : - Graeme Le Saux (hamstring); Matt Oakley (knee); Michael Svensson (calf)
TOTTENHAM : - Dean Richards (Achilles); Darren Anderton (Achilles); Rob Burch (ankle); Simon Davies (shin); Mauricio Taricco (hip)
TV : No live coverage
Radio : BBC Radio Solent (69.1 103.8 FM - South Coast area only)
Internet : www.spurs.co.uk Live webcast (subscription only)
|SCBC 1 Tottenham 0 (Half-time score : 0-0)|
|Saturday 27th March 2004|
|Venue : - The New Dell|
|Kick Off : - 15.00 p.m.|
|Weather : - Mild, some light rain.|
|Crowd : - 31,973|
|Referee : - C. Foy (St. Helens)|
|Teams : -
SCBC : - Niemi; Dodd, Lundekvam, Higginbotham, Telfer; Prutton, Delap, Folly, Fernandes (Svensson 76); Beattie, Phillips (Ormerod 76)
Unused subs: Smith, Hall, Pahars
Tottenham : - Keller; Ziege
(Kelly 48), Doherty, Gardner, Carr; Kanoute, Brown (Dalmat 76), King,
Jackson (Redknapp 46); Keane, Defoe
|Colours : - (kits
courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
|Scorers : -
SCBC - Delap 65
Tottenham - None
|Cards : -
SCBC - None
Tottenham - Doherty (foul) 31, Ziege (foul) 39
Spurs travelled in vain once more this season, making it one of the poorest away records apart from the bottom three. At this rate it might suit us Tottenham fans to give the home side three points and save us covering the country in pursuit of the rare away win.
Even with the attacking set-up of playing Kanoute with Defoe and Keane, Spurs hardly gave great confidence in beating Niemi in the Saints goal, who, as is the norm with Tottenham, played a blinder against us. Defoe tested him more than most, but found him equal to the task, most notably when he palmed a shot from the little front man away, after Dodd's pass to Telfer had seen Defoe dispossess him.
Saints made a good start with Prutton almost setting them off on the right foot with the home crowd after narrowly failing to get on the end of a long throw by Delap, then the former Forest man was fouled by Brown and Beattie missed getting his effort on target by inches. It was another free-kick in the 18th minute that saw Gardner do well to shepherd Higginbotham wide, when he tried to get a shot in on goal.
Kasey was matching the flying Finn, who was denying Spurs at the other end, as he showed sharp reactions to keep out Beattie's snap-shot when Delap's effort dropped into his path. Keller didn't have much of a chance when a 40th minute lob over him by Phillips left him stranded, but fortune favoured him, with the ball floating off target. He was also untroubled, but concerned, when just before the break, Beattie hit a fierce volley over the top, when a more controlled finish might have yielded better results.
Jamie Redknapp replaced Jackson at the interval and halfway through the half, his drive towards the top corner was well reached by Niemi. Tottenham had a lucky escape, although it might have been a bit of divine justice, when Fernades missed a gilt-edged opportunity. Beattie appeared to barge into Gardner with no attempt to win the ball being made, a decision that was backed up by the assistant referee. However, the real ref, who I had never heard of and never want to again, let play go on and the England forward laid the ball into the path of the French midfielder. Somehow, he got it all wrong and managed to slice the ball wide when well placed in front of goal, about six yards out.
Keane tried to be too clever in attempting to chip the SCBC keeper and he easily caught the effort, while he stopped another shot of Defoe's before the winner arrived for the home team. Lundekvam headed into the area and out of nowhere Delap hit an overhead kick that surprised everyone - him included - and it flew into the net.
With the amount of shots we had on goal, we should still have got something out of the match, but the lack of impetus away from home is something our new manager (or should I say Claudio Ranieri) will have to sort out if the club are to make any move into the heady heights of the top half of the table. At this rate, our home record will be all that keeps us afloat and the fact that we have lost games at the Lane to the likes of Fulham, SCBC, Bolton and Charlton explains why some of those teams are above us in the league. Turning even half the games we have lost into draws on our travels would see us in seventh faith. Fortune favours the brave or Audere Est Facere ??
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - JERMAIN DEFOE
|Rory "Scissorlegs" Delap
sent Spurs home from the New Dell with their hopes of UEFA Cup
qualification in tatters. Although there was plenty of forward
motion in the Tottenham team, the final ball lacked the quality that
might have made a difference in this game that saw the keepers fully
involved in the action.
Jermain Defoe was a constant thorn in SCBC's side, making Niemi save on several occasions, but the rest of the side failed to show sufficient guile to get the ball to the forwards or to get the ball past the Saints custodian.
Since opening, this ground has not been a favourite one for the Tottenham team or the Spurs fans, but the record is only as poor as Man U's at Highbury. However, this means that there is a need to put more effort into the play than usual rather than just going through the motions to try and get something more by luck than judgment.
The defence looked pretty sound, with SCBC getting past them only by dint of some bizarre refereeing decisions (or should that be bizarre refereeing non-decisions). Beattie benefited from one, when he was all over Gardner. Fernandes sliced the ball when it came in, to even things up a bit.
Defoe was on target, but found Niemi on top form to stop him scoring and Keano was the other one who had a good chance, when he got in behind the defence, but his weak attempt at a lob over the keeper never got above head height. Jamie Redknapp looked OK when he replaced Jackson at the interval and his rising shot was beaten out by the Finnish keeper, as it looked like he might not get up to his top corner to reach it.
Keller did well to react to Beattie's shot when it looked like he might have been offside. Kasey didn't stand a chance when Delap launched himself backward sin the air to scissors kick the ball past KK and the defender on the line, after Lundekvam had knocked the ball up in the air and had time to head it on. It was a very good goal, but one that should have only earned them a point. However, if you don't take your chances, then you leave yourself open to a freak goal. And that was what happened.
The away form is a joke now. But nobody is laughing, as good money is being spent and time given to support the side, who are giving little in return in terms of winning on the road. Everton, Bolton, Villa and Wolves are our away matches left. Some of them are eminently winnable. Will that view be shared by the management ??
|Other scores this weekend :|
|Birmingham City||4||Leeds United||1||Saturday|
|Bolton Wanderers||1||Newcastle United||0||Sunday|
|Charlton Athletic||1||Aston Villa||2||Saturday|
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