Tottenham Hotspur. . .1
THE clock was almost turned back 30, even 40 years, to the time when Peterborough emerged as a club who in the FA Cup could always make life difficult for posher opponents. They still could.
Spurs came within four minutes of paying for poor finishing, but then Jason Dozzell balanced Peterborough's lead that had been taken by a former Arsenal junior, Jason Brissett, in a second half dominated by Peterborough. In the first, Posh 'were not even at the races', as their manager, Chris Turner, confessed.
Peterborough gave little initial impression of having the defensive qualities needed to spoil Tottenham's smoothness. Fred Barber, their goalkeeper, almost immediately came near to giving Spurs a goal. Under pressure from Nick Barmby, he made a hurried clearance and was 10 yards off his line when Darren Anderton inexplicably tried to run the ball at him rather than chip it over.
The continuing absence of Teddy Sheringham makes it imperative that Spurs take such opportunities when they come, and as a result yesterday, their possession-play, which threatened to overwhelm Peterborough, was finally eroded.
A succession of crosses from Anderton came to nought and his own shooting was so haphazard that Peterborough's defence became ever more confident.
Shortly before half-time, Peterborough survived a prolonged onslaught in which another Anderton centre was nodded on by Barmby and Dozzell's header was cleverly blocked by Barber. Anderton followed up but his shot was also blocked, and finally Ian Carter turned Justin Edinburgh's blast over the bar.
Some bright sprints down the left side by Brissett hinted that Peterborough might have a match-winner lurking. And when Ken Charlery, a substitute, moved into the attack, the complexion changed. Then the arrival of Dominic Iorfa, early in the second half, added speed and power.
After an hour, Spurs gave all the impression of losing their defensive tether. Sure enough, in the 62nd minute, David McDonald knocked a forward pass to Tony Adcock wide on the right and he lofted a centre towards the far post. Edinburgh failed to cover Brissett, who slid the ball in.
Here were a team who had taken only two points out of a possible 27 in the First Division penalising Tottenham for failure to convert so much possession into goals. Even when Spurs did break out of Peterborough's last 20-minute barrage, Anderton seemed to spurn their final equalising chance when heading wide from Sol Campbell's accurate cross, and Eric Thorstvedt had to make two crucial point-blank saves. Spurs owed their goalkeeper a lot. After their equaliser did come, in the 86th minute, when Dozzell climbed high in the goal area to head in Anderton's centre, he still had to defend it spectacularly. Charlery broke through with the crowd willing him to shoot. He did, hurriedly, and though the ball went under Thorstvedt he sat on it, as well as the tie.Reuse content