"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)
Referee:- M.J.D Bodenham
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
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
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
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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