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Barnsley v Spurs, 18.04.98

"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published April, 2018, but first written in 1998

FA PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 18TH APRIL, 1998
BARNSLEY 1(1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0)

Barnsley scorer:-
Redfearn, 19

Spurs scorer:-
Calderwood, 47

Attendance:- 18,692

Referee:- M.J.D Bodenham

Teams:-
Barnsley (5-3-2):- Watson; Eaden, Moses, De Zeeuw, Redfearn, Bullock, Jones (sub Hendrie, 76), Tinkler (sub Marcelle, 88), Barnard, Ward, Fjortoft.

Subs not used:- Appleby, Liddell, Leese.

Booked:- Bullock, Tinkler, Moses.

Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Carr, Vega, Campbell, Nielsen; Fox, Calderwood, Berti, Ginola; Ferdinand (sub Anderton, 70), Klinsmann (sub Armstrong, 45)

Subs not used:- Bardsen; Scales; Clemence

Booked:- Fox, Calderwood

Sent off:- Vega, 65

This self-penned report was written after a Jumbotron viewing

Spurs survival is probably still on the cards after they struck back in the second half of this game, to take a point from Oakwell, and to stay two points above the bottom three. Bolton lost at home, and lost ground, whilst Barnsley actually moved up a place. Wimbledon were thrashed at Highbury, Newcastle got a point at Old Trafford, and Everton only drew at home, so these other teams are still in the relegation battle, and we have to play two of them!

Today, Spurs started well, and gained several corners from early pressure. I didn't think Ginola was quite on top of his game today. It's strange that since missing that game against Palace, he hasn't quite regained his best form. The surface was difficult for him today, but he also lost the ball in midfield, a couple of times, leading to strong counter attacks, and in fact leading to Barnsley's goal. After the early pressure, our midfield lost grip, allowing Barnsley too much possession. Probably our best chance in the first half, came when Ferdinand set up Klinsmann inside the 6 yard box, only for JK to loop his shot well over the bar. He came in for some stick at the Park Lane end , I can tell you. JK didn't come out for the second half, and rumour has it that it was a straight swap for Armstrong, and not down to any injury.

Barnsley scored in the 19th minute, when Ginola lost the ball about the half way line on our left flank, and on the counter attack, Barnsley quickly got the ball into the middle. Vega was marking space, and Redfearn was able to slot home.

Spurs came out fighting in the second half, and it wasn't long before the equaliser came. Ferdinand had a powerful low shot deflected for a corner, and from the corner, the ball eventually reached Nielsen on the edge of the area. His shot was deflected by Calderwood into goal. This was one of Colin's more deliberate efforts this season!, and probably the most valuable. In an interview after the game on Capital Gold, Calderwood said he saw the shot was going off target, so he put it in. I'm sure this was said tongue in cheek. Whilst I've never been a fan of his, I do admire his spirit, and I do think he should play in the central defence for the remainder of our season ( for reasons to be disclosed ! ).

From this point on, Spurs always looked more likely to score , even when we were reduced to ten men by the sending off of Vega. First of all he needlessly lost control of the ball on the edge of the area, giving it away to Ward, and then he found himself needing to pull Ward down by tugging his shirt blatantly, and using any means possible to bring his man down. Referee Bodenham sent him off. Now while I think it was a harsh decision, because I don't think Vega was the last man, and it was more a case of cheating ( alright - a professional foul ), ironically, I really believe we looked more solid without Vega, and more dangerous on attack. Gross responded to the sending off by bringing off Ferdinand for Anderton, to the consternation of many around me ( wanting Fox off ), but I don't think he could do anything else. Armstrong was the fresher of the two strikers, and with Ginola on the field, it would have been too much of a luxury ( in my view ) to keep Ferdinand on. Much as I dislike Fox, he does track back and defend quite effectively.

Walker didn't have too much to do in the way of direct saves, but there were a couple of times, when the old syndrome of uncertainty in the box looked prevalent, and Baardsen might have been more confident. Sol had a real battling day, and could be seen getting very emotionally charged towards the end of the game, urging his team mates back to aid the defence.

I honestly thought we played some of our best football, when we went down to ten men. This included short inter-linking passes involving Anderton, and Berti. There was one occasion when Berti and Ginola were side by side at the half way line, and got mixed up over who was going to take the ball forward. In the end neither of them did, and a dangerous counter-attack resulted.

In the last minute, Ginola had a golden opportunity to ensure a win, when he was alone in the area, with only the goalie to beat. Sadly, he was unable to convert the chance, and we had to settle for a point. Having been one down though, and once again with other results going in our favour ( specifically the Bolton game ), a point was a relief.

So, the tension goes on. Every game really is a cup final at the moment, and I hope to be at all three, bearing in mind the ticket allocation for the Wimbledon game is very generous. We can really make all three games a home match now, get behind the team, and ensure survival. The question of how we go forward from there can be addressed THEN. COME ON YOU SPURS!!!

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