Ferdinand takes two

QPR2 Ferdinand 64, 75 Tottenham Hotspur1 Sheringham 45 Attendance: 18,367
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The Independent Online
ALL the applause might have gone to two-goal Les Ferdinand but Danny Maddix's contribution should not be overlooked. This industrial- sized defender is often unsung but here he marked Jrgen Klinsmann totally out of it and stifled nearly everything else Spurs had to offer. It was also his challenge on a goal-bound Nick Barmby, 18 minutes from time, that robbed Spurs of their best player. Barmby, who fell awkwardly, had to be helped off, his right foot raised piteously. No game for girls, this one.

Just before kick-off, Klinsmann looked thoughtful, as though pondering whether this might be his last visit to Loftus Road. Maddix's disrespectful treatment of him, and a disallowed goal in the final moments, will hardly encourage him to return. His fellow Spurs will not want to spend long mulling over memories of this one, either.

Rangers pressurised them for most of the first half, though the home team missed out on an early lead when Colin Calderwood and Ian Walker misread each other and Gary Penrice was left with what might have been a free shot if he had not panicked and jabbed it into the side netting.

Rangers continued to harry their opponents. One of Trevor Sinclair's corners from the right sizzled only just over his team-mates' bobbing heads in front of a beaten Walker. A follow-up corner saw Barmby having to boot away the threat unstylishly.

But Spurs, when they did attack, were potentially deadly. With 37 minutes gone, Andy Impey had to head off the line after Tony Roberts was beaten by Barmby's beautifully struck shot. Then, on the brink of half time, Barmby went weaving from the left and centred. Simon Barker should have cleared but didn't, and Teddy Sheringham broke free to give Spurs the lead.

Rangers began the second half with a belter from Sinclair that brought a palmed save from Walker. They had to wait till the 64th minute though, for their equaliser, when Ferdinand dispossessed Gary Mabbutt and caught Walker cold with a drive from the right. After Barmby went, it was hard to see how Spurs could hold on. Suspense did not last long. Rangers went ahead within two minutes, Impey helping Ferdinand to notch up number two at close range.

Afterwards Rangers came out to thank their fans and Ray Wilkins did a little sprint of honour, the sunlight bouncing off his dome. Not a bad season for them, it has turned out. But for Spurs, the jury is still out.