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WTPS: Sunday reports and rumours

Posted on 23 December 2001  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Teddy Sheringham's red card dominates Sunday's reports on our 2-1 defeat against Ipswich Town.

Meanwhile, on the rumour front. the Mirror's Chat Zone gossip column suggests Chris Armstrong is a £2m target for his former club Crystal Palace.

Ian Ridley's report in the Observer reads like this:

The wind of change through White Hart Lane this season has been a soothing zephyr, but the chill factor hit Tottenham Hotspur as much as the rest of us yesterday. Not only were they beaten by plucky, bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town, but they saw their captain, Teddy Sheringham, sent off after an off-the-ball incident, which will mean a suspension for their tricky FA Cup third-round tie away to Coventry City in a fortnight.

All seemed to be going well for Spurs when Simon Davies, with his third goal in as many games, gave them an early lead, but strikes late in each half by Finidi George and Alun Armstrong pinched the points for Ipswich.

No side bottom at Christmas may have avoided relegation from the Premiership, but Ipswich proved they have it in them to prove an exception.

The teams, linked by championship wins in successive years in the early 1960's, are currently poles apart in the Premiership. In recent seasons, the situation at Tottenham has frequently been serious but never desperate. Now, though, under Glenn Hoddle, they are playing with a fluency that had seen them record 13 goals in their previous three home games and move up to seventh place.

By contrast, the situation with Ipswich is desperate but not serious, so philosophically does the club weather the vagaries of fortune. They arrived at White Hart Lane on the back of five consecutive defeats.

The opening to the game duly mirrored the clubs' positions. There was early energy to Ipswich and the formation of 4-5-1 devised by their manager, George Burley, worked well to frustrate the movement that has been the Tottenham trademark this season, with Jim Magilton, Jermaine Wright and Matt Holland clogging central midfield.

As Spurs took time to find an antidote, Ipswich created chances, with George shooting wide and Holland almost getting on the end of Wright's cross. Typically, though, for a side struggling for form, confidence and, above all, results, they conceded a goal to Tottenham's first real attack.

Sheringham, with a neat lay-off in midfield, set free Davies to run into space and, after supplying Sergei Rebrov, Davies ran on into the penalty area to divert home the Ukrainian's low cross. Ipswich were left looking for a linesman's flag that was never raised, or at each other.

One lapse had left Ipswich chasing a game again. They did so to good purpose, though. They looked as if they might get an equaliser when John McGreal rose to meet Herman Hreidarsson's corner, but his glancing header was wide. Neil Sullivan then turned a curling low shot by Martijn Reuser round a post.

Reward came when McGreal rose again to meet a corner, this time from the left by Reuser. His header was blocked, but George struck sharply, his overhead kick from the rebound fizzing past Sullivan.

Roused from complacency, Spurs almost retook the lead just before the interval when Christian Ziege shot against Matteo Sereni's right post. Minutes after the interval, the German again struck wood. Darren Anderton played an excellent pass out to Rebrov and, from his low cross, Ziege's snatched touch from a few yards out hit the crossbar of a gaping goal.

Now Spurs looked more like the team that had destroyed Bolton Wanderers 6-0 and Fulham 4-0 here the previous week. Their momentum was rudely interrupted, however, by a strange incident. As Ipswich lined up to defend another Tottenham corner, Mike Riley, the referee, blew his whistle and singled out McGreal and Sheringham, presumably for some argy-bargy. The Ipswich defender was shown the yellow card, but there was shock around the ground when the Spurs captain was shown the red.

So, too, did his team and for a while they lost their way. The introduction of the in-form and fit-again Les Ferdinand galvanised them anew, however, and he immediately tested Sereni with a fierce drive. Other attempts followed, Sereni touching aside Davies's shot and Anthony Gardner heading just wide.

The attempt that counted came at the other end, though, when Armstrong finished off an Ipswich breakaway by heading home George's cross. Ice Cold in North London.