The Sports Matrix: Friday 30 September 2011

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The Independent Online

Spurs nearly spiked by Irish surprise

Tottenham came back from a goal behind to triumph 3-1 in a laboured win over Shamrock Rovers last night at White Hart Lane. Stephen Rice had given the Irish side a shock lead before three goals in five minutes put Spurs out of sight. MORE

England ban staff prior to key match

England have banned assistant coach Dave Alred and fitness coach Paul Stridgeon from playing any role during tomorrow’s game against Scotland, following their role in providing Jonny Wilkinson with ineligible balls for his kicks against Romania last week. MORE

Harbhajan not in India’s ODI squad

India have left spinner Harbhajan Singh out of their squad for the first two one-day internationals against England next month. Harbhajan struggled on the recent tour of England. Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag are injured. MORE

Walters lifts Stoke over feisty Turks

Stoke City came from a goal down last night to beat Turkish side Besiktas 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium. Roberto Hilbert put the visitors ahead but Peter Crouch headed in a corner soon after. With 12 minutes to go Jon Walters’ penalty won it. MORE

Barclay identifies a winning ‘method’

John Barclay showed international class in Scotland’s narrow Six Nations defeat to England earlier this year and the flanker believes his team have an excellent chance in Saturday’s meeting: “We came up with a method of testing England that day.” MORE

Johnson’s double gives Fulham win

Fulham ended an eight-game winless streak last night with a 2-0 victory at Odense. Andrew Johnson scored both goals, one in each half. Manager Martin Jol described Johnson’s second, in the final minutes, as “unbelievable” and “amazing”. MORE

Johnson leaving nothing to chance

England are not sure how they are an eight-point margin defeat away from an early World Cup exit but Martin Johnson knows that nothing must be left to chance: “We can’t think about the maths. We need to win the game. If we don’t, we’ll be on the plane.” MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Had “Ballgate” occurred during some life and death struggle with New Zealand, the media hype around this might have seemed a little less incomprehensible. However, against Romania’s Extra B? Move on, indeed. MORE

City unlikely to find clear evidence of Tevez refusal

Manchester City’s investigation into Carlos Tevez may struggle to uphold the claim that the striker refused to enter the field of play against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night. Among the City substitutes, only Pablo Zabaleta speaks the same language as Tevez and informal discussions at training yesterday established that some key witnesses cannot definitively say they heard Tevez specifically refuse to play. Manager Roberto Mancini is firmly resisting the idea of attempting to sack Tevez, as he does not want to give the player the satisfaction of earning the big move he has been agitating for. However, if Tevez is to depart, Mancini may well look to aquire another of Arsenal’s prize assets – Robin van Persie – to replace him. The Dutch striker has less than two seasons remaining on his Arsenal contract. The prospect remains a dreadful one for Arsène Wenger, who would be devastated to lose his captain but has already lost Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Touré, Gaël Clichy and Samir Nasri to City’s financial muscle. MORE

Dalglish back for Merseyside derby

Kenny Dalglish returns to Goodison Park as Liverpool manager tomorrow for the first time since his side’s 4-4 FA Cup draw with Everton in 1991. “If we get four goals on Saturday I’ll be delighted,” he joked. “The desire to win is the same as before.” MORE

Change false-start rule, demands Bolt

Usain Bolt has voiced his opposition to the “zero tolerance” false start rule, five weeks after his disqualification from the 100m final at the World Championships. “They really should go back to one false start and charge it to the field,” he said. MORE