Report: Spurs 3-1 Derby
English Barclays Premiership
Les Ferdinand, Christian Ziege and Gus Poyet scored the goals that capped a memorable team performance against Derby at the Lane.
It is a first three-point haul since Sunderland were accounted for in September, but it is the style it was achieved in that will live long in the memory.
Ziege and Dean Richards returned to the starting line-up as Glenn reverted to his favoured wing-backs system. Simon Davies and Ben Thatcher took their places on the bench after playing in the 4-0 win over Tranmere.
With only two minutes on the clock Spurs nearly put their noses in front with Gus Poyet feeding Teddy on the edge of area. Teddy took a touch, stepped forward and flashed a shot just wide of Derby's on-loan keeper Ian Feuer's left hand post.
Teddy was at the heart of all the game's quality movement and on six minutes his inviting chip into the penalty area was met full throttle by the deadly left foot of Christian Ziege whose volley dipped just over.
Two minutes later Teddy had the ball in the net following up a Ferdinand effort, but the assistant referee flagged for offside.
Not to be deterred, Spurs took the lead on ten minutes when Ledley King surged forward and unleashed a shot which was blocked and fell into the path of Ziege. The prolific wing-back whipped in a low cross and Ferdinand was there to meet it at the far post, sweeping the ball high past the helpless Feuer.
Totally against the run of play, Fabrizio Ravanelli conjured an equaliser out of nearly nothing on 15 minutes. Receiving a pass half way inside the Spurs half the Italian ran goalwards and across Ledley to squeeze a low effort past Sullivan and inside his left hand post.
Spurs continued to press and Teddy, Poyet, Anderton and Ziege were posing a constant threat with their incisive passing movements. Teddy was denied by a lunging stop by Feuer and a teasing effort from Ziege was parried away by the American low down to his right.
A vocal crowd at the Lane were baying for the boys to once again claim the advantage, but Derby were growing in spirit and looked dangerous on the break with Ravanelli and Burton always a threat.
The depth of the squad became evident midway through the half when Sergei Rebrov and Simon Davies started to warm up. Ben Thatcher and Tim Sherwood were next on their feet.
Poyet was hurt when leaping in an attempt to meet another Ziege cross, colliding with the post and requiring treatment. He recovered and was soon scurrying around again to good effect.
With half an hour on the clock, Spurs upped the tempo and even Steffen Freund appeared full of attacking intent. His burst down the left sparked a chain of events that led to Teddy seeing his shot saved by Feuer.
Once again in the box seat, the team's passing was a delight to watch. Ten minutes before the break a Taricco burst saw the ball out to Ferdinand, via Teddy. Ferdinand's cross was met by Poyet whose header grazed the top of the cross bar with Feuer beaten.
The advantage was restored on 41 minutes, Teddy supplying a delightful reverse pass that dissected the Derby back line. The grateful recipient was Ziege who calmly slotted past the advancing Feuer to add a fifth goal to his season's tally.
The tempo of the opening minutes of the second half did not quite match those of the final minutes of the first. Teddy was still doing most of the promptings and Freund made several energetic runs.
Such was Freund's impact on the game, the crowd offered added encouragement with the 'shoooooot' call whenever he got the ball. The midfield enforcer's commitment once again lifted the crowd as the second period livened.
Teddy was what seemed inches wide with a free-kick from the edge of the box after Poyet was impeded as Spurs definitely grabbed the initiative again in front of a crowd of 30,148.
Derby sought to add a spark to their game with the introduction of Georgi Kinkladze just after the hour, but it was Teddy who showed up next with a burst into the Derby area and shot deflected wide. The crowd then held its' collective breath when a loose ball fell to Freund who wound up for a shot. Sadly his effort was blocked.
Malcolm Christie replaced Deon Burton with 20 minutes remaining as Derby chased the game and the young England striker caused problems straight away by wriggling into the Spurs area and created space, only to overdo it and allow Sully to collect.
It was a warning shot for Spurs that, for all the domination, the game was still in the balance and was still there to be won.
A teasing Anderton cross was met by Poyet who failed to direct his header on 79 as Spurs strived to close the game. Freund was still full of flicks and running, but a nervousness was creeping around the Lane, a tension that three points were not quite in the bag.
Sergei Rebrov entered the fray five minutes from time and won a corner straight away, looking sharp after replacing Ferdinand. An Anderton dipper shortly afterwards narrowly missed the target.
The fear did not last too much longer. Poyet dispossessed Youl Mawene and, with Feuer off his line, dispatched a perfectly measured chip that dropped just inside the post to make it 3-1.
A superb team performance and a welcome three-point deposit has been made in the Spurs account.