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MATCH REPORT: SPURS 4, DERBY 0

Posted on 18 August 2007  - 12:00

Three goals in 14 first half minutes and a first White Hart Lane goal for Darren Bent ensured maximum points profit against Derby County.

Three goals in 14 first half minutes and a first White Hart Lane goal for Darren Bent ensured maximum points profit against Derby County.Our first points of the season were recorded in considerable style, Steed Malbranque opening the previously sticky gates to early season success with a two-goal salvo that effectively counted Derby out of the contest early on.

Unlike on Tuesday night, this one got off to the perfect start when, with just one minute showing on the clock, Tom Huddlestone knocked a free-kick left to Steed Malbranque and the industrious Frenchman clipped a shot that beat the dive of Stephen Bywater to the goalkeeper's right and rattled the back of the net.

Things only got better on six minutes when Pascal Chimbonda picked out the run of Darren Bent down the right channel and the England man squared and who was waiting but that man Malbranque and his finish was all the sweeter this time around - curling his effort inside the left-hand upright with Bywater well beaten.

It was time for a treble eight minutes later and Jermaine Jenas helped himself. Picking up the ball at around half way, the athletic midfielder just ran and ran through the centre, skipped a few challenges along the way and then calmly slipped the ball beyond Bywater and it went in off the inside of the right hand post.

Huddlestone, enjoying his first start of the campaign, was looking a majestic figure in the centre of midfield against his old club, with Wayne Routledge, Ricardo Rocha and Lee Young-Pyo also starting for the first time this term. For Routledge it was his first Spurs start since December 2005 at West Brom.

Jenas was providing the legs in midfield and he made another surging run just before the half hour mark and for a few moments looked set to go all the way again, before electing to swap passes with Robbie Keane and switch to supply mode.

Bent then powered down the left and centred for Keane, who made a bit of a hash of his attempt, but the ball ended up in front of Routledge and was promptly put into the net. The celebration was cut short by the flag of the assistant. Jenas was later a matter of inches wide with a teasing curler from just outside the area.

Derby's big man in attack Steve Howard forced Paul Robinson into his first meaningful action with a header, just before Malbranque was threatening a hat-trick at the other end with a skilful surge into the area.

Huddlestone's vision was sublime minutes before half-time when the outside of his boot dispatched a defence-dissecting ball into the path of Keane in the area and the Irishman clipped across goal to where Bent was waiting. Our No.23 went to beat his marker Jay McEveley and was clearly caught, but referee Mr Foy decided against the award of a penalty.

Keane then forced a brave block out of Bywater and then stretched the former West Ham man in first half stoppage time. It was three at the break, but six would have been a more accurate reflection on the events of the first 45 minutes.

The second half was probably always going to struggle to live up to the heights of the first, but almost complete domination was again established.

Keane forced Bywater into a smart save before the introduction of Adel Taarabt to bring his very own brand of skills to proceedings. Routledge made way, but not before sub Gar Teale ensured Robinson's fingertips were well warmed with a powerful drive from out on the right.

Taarabt was the entertainment for the final 20 minutes, twisting, turning, shooting and generally delighting his audience. Jermain Defoe was next on stage, replacing captain Keane.

On 80 minutes came No.4 from a Huddlestone free-kick and a Chimbonda header, Bywater did brilliantly to divert the ball onto the bar, but the predatory Defoe and Bent were waiting to nod the ball into the net - and Bent won to score his first ever goal at his new home.