Anderton the inspiration

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Howells 28, Sheringham 67 Leeds United 1 Yeboah 53 Attendance: 30,034
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The Independent Online
LEEDS UNITED's sprint start to the Premiership, which had revived their aspirations for a second title in the 1990s, stumbled to a halt here yesterday as Spurs shrugged off their own plodding overture to record a first win of the season.

Inevitably Tony Yeboah got Leeds back into the game in the second half with his fourth goal of the season, but it was Darren Anderton, starting his first game, who provided most of the inspiration for Spurs' win.

It was Anderton's pinpoint corner after 28 minutes which found the unmarked David Howells, who buried his header inside John Lukic's near post. Anderton might have increased Spurs' lead himself with a thumping volley which Lukic did well to hold. "Darren was our instrumental player," said Spurs manager Gerry Francis. "He was the one who made us tick."

The England midfielder has made a remarkable recovery from a hernia operation and his performance, full of fluent movement, accurate passing and thunderous shooting, was a splendid omen not just for Spurs but for England. It may even have helped banish the agonising memory for Spurs fans of Nick Barmby's scintillating midweek display at Wembley.

Which brings up the question of whether Spurs need to spend so urgently now. Their chairman Alan Sugar has declared that Francis has pounds 7.5m to spend, and Francis has been making teasing references to two imminent signings from overseas. "I want to spend the money, I really do, but it's not as easy as it sounds," Francis said.

The biggest asset his squad had yesterday was confidence. Chris Armstrong though hasn't got it - fluffing good chances in each half to register his first goal - but his part in the cross which provided Teddy Sheringham with the header which won the game will do him good.

"We had enough men to stop the cross, but they just stood around and watched," bemoaned Leeds's manager Howard Wilkinson. This comment could apply equally to the Spurs defence as Yeboah climbed to head home Leeds's equaliser, after Carlton Palmer had wriggled past Clive Wilson.

That should have been the cue for Leeds to take the game, and on another day they might well have done so. But with Leeds obliged to throw players forward, Spurs were able to counter-punch. In the 67th minute Armstrong broke free on the left, and though his path was blocked he managed to work the ball back to Wilson and Sheringham soared at the far post to head the cross back past Lukic.

Having called off their pursuit of Parma's Faustino Asprilla, Leeds will have to take on Europe - they play Monaco on Tuesday night - with their existing squad. Spurs fans can at least now look forward to seeing a squad not just being strengthened but continuing its revival.

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