Nottingham Forest. . . . . . . . .4
Stone 10, Roy 53, 70, Bohinen 79
IT WAS a day when Nottingham Forest stepped out of the shadows to show just how quickly these saplings are growing. As Newcastle took breath in their breathtaking start to the season, Forest closed the gap at the top of the Premiership to two points and while Jurgen Klinsmann may be the Spur of the moment, Bryan Roy demonstrated that he is among the most influential of imports.
The Dutchman scored twice to take Forest to their fifth win in seven unbeaten games, condemning Tottenham to their fourth defeat in five matches after they had opened with two wins. Perhaps the FA deducting six points at the start of every month might serve to stiffen them.
Forest's performance was at first clever, then clinical, interrupted by a mid-period when they conceded an equaliser and were fortunate not to fall behind, Teddy Sheringham missing his third consecutive penalty. But in Roy's rampant runs from deep, Stan Collymore's expanding awareness of colleagues and Steve Stone's unselfish providing, Forest had the mixture of talents that deserved to win the match.
In their best periods, they reeled in the Spurs attack, before countering incisively and exploiting a weakness on the left flank of midfield, in which Gica - as he wishes to be known - Popescu made an isolated home debut. In turn, Forest limited the damage on their own weak right flank with a stronger work ethic.
It took them only nine minutes to open the scoring. Collymore, elegant and explosive, crossed from the left and Stone, making amends for an even earlier missed chance, lost Justin Edinburgh and drove home.
Tottenham equalised after 32 minutes when Ilie Dumitrescu finally took centre-stage. Taking Edinburgh's pass, he went round Colin Cooper and squeezed home a shot at the near post from a narrow angle.
It seemed that now the real Spurs their supporters imagine them to be might stand up. Just before half-time, Dumitrescu was brought down by Des Lyttle but Sheringham's penalty was turned aside by Mark Crossley diving to his right. Now they will seek a new taker, the Spurs manager Ossie Ardiles said; on this evidence Klinsmann will claim the job, so few other chances did he get to add to his 10 goals.
In the second half, the real Spurs did stand up. 'We committed defensive suicide,' said Ardiles, who warned that heads will roll. 'The first three goals were the product of big individual mistakes.'
After only four minutes, Stone shrugged off Micky Hazard on the right and Roy dived to head home his low cross. His second came similarly, Edinburgh the Spurs culprit on the left, Roy driving Stone's cross emphatically into the roof of the net with his left foot.
'I had a few words at half- time,' Frank Clark, the Forest manager, said. 'I had to raise my voice at Bryan to get him back into position. When he gets the ball and runs at defences he is very difficult to deal with.'
So too is Lars Bohinen who crowned the game with a beautifully chipped goal from 25 yards after a penetrating run 12 minutes from time.
Forest defended in such depth that Tottenham were restricted to long-range shots by Darren Anderton and the odd speculative, spectacular overhead kick from Klinsmann. Instead they were handed a lesson about the importance of industry to even the most talented of teams when not in possession.
It was supposed to be a relief to see football at White Hart Lane, a pleasure even. The pleasure was all Forest's.
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