"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published 17th September, 2017, but first written in 1997 by the late Brian Judson
Wednesday, September 17th, 1997
Coca-Cola Cup 2nd Round 1st Leg
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (1) 3, CARLISLE UNITED (2) 2.
Attendance : 19,255.
Referee : Mr G Ashby (Worcester).
Tottenham Hotspur : Walker; Scales, Campbell, Mabbutt, Edinburgh;
Howells, Clemence, Neilsen, Ginola; Denn (sub Mahorn, 47), Dominguez.
Substitutes *NOT* used : Calderwood, Carr.
Booked : Clemence, Dominguez.
Carlisle United : Caig; Barr, Varty, Pounewatchy, Archdeacon, Harrison
(sub Dobie, 69), Couzens, Aspinall, Jansen, Prokas, McAlindon.
Substitutes *NOT* used : Miligan, Bowman.
Booked : Varty.
Many Tottenham fans travelled to this match hoping to see Tottenham lose.
Behind this odd aspiration was a line of thinking that if Tottenham *did*
lose to Carlisle, it would undoubtedly lead to Gerry Francis' dismissal
as the circumstances would mirror the swift dismissal of Ossie Ardiles in
1994 following an abject display at Notts County. I was not one of those
who travelled in that mood. I always travel in the hope that Spurs will
Travelling from my new home at Berkhamsted, in Hertfordshire, allows me
more time to ponder about the match. Firstly, there is a school of
thought that demands Tottenham play in style. But we have not got the
players for that. They are beginning to emerge as more and more youth
team players begin to emerge from their chrysalis of youth team football.
But we have to be patient a bit more longer for it to fully flower.
Another school of thought believes that Francis is not the right manager
for Tottenham. Yet, unless my memory deceives me entirely, there were few
voices of dissent when Francis replaced Ardiles in November 1994. And no
one has yet come up with anyone who could do a better job than Francis.
Bobby Robson has started to look forward to retirement. Bryan Robson has
managed to make a pig's ear of the job at Middlesbrough (I have a contact
who supports Middlesbrough, who is scathing about Robson.) There are few
managers qualified to succeed Francis : those that are are tied to
contracts. Keegan? We would make the same mistake with him as we did with
At any rate, I arrived at Tottenham, aware that we had never beaten
Carlisle at Tottenham. I wondered who would replace the injured
Armstrong. Virtually all the other strikers were injured. Tottenham
decided to recall the promising Neale Fenn and pair him with Dominguez.
Tottenham's faith in Fenn was quickly repaid when he struck in the first
minute when Carlisle were slow to react.
Spurs evidently decided that Carlisle would roll over and began to be
careless in their approach to the game. Ginola was most unenthusiastic
about the game and, once or twice, over-reacted to some of the tackling,
presumably in the hope he would be substituted.
As time wore on, Tottenham's supporters were becoming restless. Tottenham
were making so many unforced errors that they were allowing Carlisle to
come back into the game. Campbell was having a nightmare of a game whilst
his England colleague Walker consistently over-kicked the ball upfield to
his strikers. One sighed for the commonsense approach of Ted Ditchburn.
He eschewed the hoof upfield, instead rolling the ball to the hovering
Ramsey, who prodded the ball on to Nicholson and thus in this way Spurs
reached the halfway line still in possession of the ball.
It has been said push and run would never work in present day
circumstances. Those critics are probably right IF ONLY BECAUSE THE
PRESENT SPURS SQUAD ARE SO BLOODY LAZY WITH RUNNING OFF THE BALL. Push
and run only works if people work hard at running in support off the ball.
I suspect few people were surprised when Carlisle equalised in the 39th
minute. McAlindon crossed the ball for Couzens to volley it in with the
side of his foot. Well might the three coach-loads of Carlisle fans loudly
Five minutes later, the Tottenham defence was as static as pillars of
salt when Caig made a long downfield punt. The back four assumed Walker
would win the race to the ball and left it to him. Aspinall, the former
Portsmouth striker, won the race and Carlisle were 2-1 ahead. Not
surprisingly, the team was booed off the pitch at half-time but there
were also chants of "WE WANT FRANCIS OUT!".
I would have loved to have heard what was said in the dressing room
during the interval because Tottenham emerged looking more determined.
But within two minutes of the resumption, Fenn had been carried off and
Mahorn had come on as substitute. Mahorn has been on the fringe of the
Tottenham squad for a long time but has never made the breakthrough. This
probably represents his final chance of doing so. Not surprisingly Mahorn
tirelessly sought possession of the ball.
But Carlisle were starting to look as if they had done enough to take a
2-1 lead back to Brunton Park. Tottenham were hopeless in front of goal.
Their worst offender was Allan Nielsen, who managed to miss the ball from
three yards out with the goalkeeper stranded.
But soon after, Fox struck in the 72nd minute and Fox threaded his way
through the packed Carlisle defence to drive home the equaliser. Soon
after that, Ginola stirred himself long enough to jink down the wing and
place an inch-perfect centre for Mahorn to head home with a decisive
thump from close range.
Providing Tottenham ride out the initial Carlisle storm in the return
game, they should manage to find some gaps to exploit and increase their
advantage. But more displays of this kind will be unacceptable to the
supporters who travel to Tottenham. Yet I bear in mind the words we so
often heard from George Graham when at Arsenal. He used to say in effect
that the mark of a good team was in winning games when they played badly,
no matter who the opposition were.
· Read the preview for this game.
· All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats
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