Football / FA Cup Fourth Round: Wark deepens Spurs' gloom

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The Independent Online
Ipswich Town. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Marshall 53, Johnson 64, Thompson 85

Tottenham Hotspur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Attendance: 22,539

SO, IPSWICH are not that dull after all. Berated for being the turn-offs of the Premiership, they left the site of their 3-0 victory yesterday with Portman Road dancing to the sounds of 'boring, boring Ipswich' and the delighted sarcasm of the home fans ringing in their ears. Theirs was an impressive, often entertaining display from which they deserved to prosper and from which Tottenham Hotspur deserved nothing.

Spurs' season has limped from injury to disappointment and the downward spiral continued yesterday leaving Ossie Ardiles talking of further involvement in the transfer market. Only a penalty-shootout separated Spurs from Peterborough United in the previous round, and their final glimmer of hope for success was extinguished when two identical goals exposed their defensive weaknesses at set-pieces.

John Wark, who provided the headed assist for Ipswich's first two goals, said afterwards that the exploiting of this weakness had been practised all week. The Tottenham alarm bells had been ringing in the first half when Ian Walker had struggled to cope with a series of swinging corners which were, invariably, met by an Ipswich head. 'Myself and David Linihan were winning everything in the first half,' Wark said, 'and we were confident that would continue.'

Indeed it did, but in the second half Spurs were made to pay for it. The first goal came when Neil Thompson swung a corner in from the right, Wark retreated unmarked to the back of the box and headed forwards allowing Ian Marshall to thump the ball home. The second was a carbon copy except the corner came from the left. It was Boncho Genchev who took it, and it was Gavin Johnson who finished it.

Spurs were poor enough to allow Wark the first header, it was unbelievable that they allowed him the second seven minutes later. Certainly in the Ipswich corners that followed, Colin Calderwood stuck to Wark like a limpet.

Spurs by that stage were beaten. They were buried five minutes from full-time when the gaps in their defence again appeared, Thompson danced through them, exchanged passes with Genchev and beat Walker with a well-directed 20- yard drive.

It had not been a disastrous performance from Spurs - three times Nick Barmby had chances on goal - but their defensive leaks earned the players a 40-minute dressing down from Ossie Ardiles. 'We were not prepared to fight for it and now we may have a fight against relegation,' he sighed.