Football: Ardiles trusts in tradition

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Tottenham Hotspur. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Ipswich Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

OSSIE ARDILES came out with some fighting talk at half-time and Tottenham soon got a helpful equaliser. Or at least that is what he said he did. Trying to imagine Ardiles inspiring anyone with his almost inaudible mutterings is not easy, but the little man of principle is bravely insisting that relegation can be avoided only by playing the traditional Spurs way. Ipswich loved him for it.

Spurs' defenders and midfield players were generous to a fault. Gavin Johnson was offered a nice patch of set-aside land on the left and used it to set up Ipswich's early goal from Chris Kiwomya. Spurs ploughed on with some uncharacteristic direct football and got nowhere until, it seems, Ossie stormed in at half-time and whispered: 'We can't go on like this . . . it's too desperate.' He was referring to Spurs' football, not their situation, but you could have taken it either way.

In the end he was happy that 'we kept on fighting, we have to fight for everything'. It was the returning, combative Nick Barmby who got the equaliser from Jason Dozzell's header, but Barmby looked to have lost some of his sharpness and control.

'We have everyone coming back to fitness now,' Ardiles promised, but the only one the suffering Spurs fans really want to see is Teddy Sheringham, who got almost the biggest cheer of the day simply walking across the car-park.

Sheringham could be back by Saturday, when Spurs go to Everton. If he does, and even then nothing changes, the enduring fault, which is as much to do with the lack of a commanding figure in midfield as the absence of a reliable goalscorer, will have to be overcome by an awful lot of guts and sweat. That not being Tottenham's natural style, the omens would be even darker.

Kiwomya still epitomises the industrious sort of player Spurs have failed to find. He more than anyone benefited from the absence of serious marking, never more than when he was presented with his goal by a defence with which even Gary Mabbutt sometimes seemed to have lost patience. He also lost his sense of timing when bringing down Kiwomya in the area. 'A close thing,' Ardiles said. He may well be saying that on the last day of the season.

Goals: Kiwomya (11) 0-1; Barmby (56) 1-1.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Austin (Kerslake, 71), Mabbutt, Scott, Campbell; Sedgley, Anderton, Dozzell, Caskey; Barmby, Rosenthal. Substitutes not used: Hendry, Day (gk).

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Baker; Stockwell, Wark, Whelan, Johnson; Palmer, Slater, Williams, Mason; Kiwomya, Marshall. Substitutes not used: Linighan, Durrant, Morgan (gk).

Referee: G Ashby (Worcester).