Football: Fledgling Hill serves Tottenham food for thought: Cup finalists go through the motions in defeat as Premier League brings down the shutters on its inaugural season

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The Independent Online
Arsenal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Tottenham Hotspur. . . . . . . . . . . . .3

DEFEAT in the FA Cup semi-final by their deadly rivals was forgotten last night as Tottenham eased through to a Highbury victory that will be celebrated all the way until Saturday afternoon, when Arsenal claim the national spotlight again with their Wembley return against Sheffield Wednesday.

Joking aside, this was no consolation, and Spurs will not consider it as such. The Arsenal support kept ramming home the point by taunting their visitors with their pain refrain 'What are you doing Saturday?'

After all, this was virtually the Arsenal reserve side on parade. The Gunners, with both eyes on the FA Cup final, employed not one player who can realistically hope to be involved in the starting line-up in four days' time.

Still, Spurs can savour the fact that they rise three places in the table to eighth, and especially as they go above Arsenal. It also ensures a last- day bonus of pounds 111,000 because Premier League prize-money is dependent on final placings, while their fans can say they have seen their team gain the most valued double in the season for the first time since 1974.

Arsenal gave special attention to David O'Leary, captain in his 720th and final competitive appearance of a side sprinkled with youth and a faithful second string.

Spurs have been quietly promoting the claims of their own fledglings, and one such, the 19-year-old midfielder Danny Hill, laid on all three goals, two of which were bagged by their perennial reserve striker John Hendry. The young Scot over-celebrated the feat and was booked after his second goal, almost immediately to be substituted.

With chances going begging at both ends, it was Teddy Sheringham, the Premier League's leading marksman, who showed the way with a header from Darren Anderton's cross five minutes before half-time, taking him to 22 for the season.

Spurs were two ahead immediately on the resumption, Mark Flatts leaving his back-pass short for Hill to sweep the ball across for Hendry.

Badly stung, Arsenal responded in the 52nd minute with Paul Dickov's second goal in successive games, a stunning strike after a one-two with Alan Smith. Sheringham hit a post, as did Paul Allen later on, but Tottenham were able to make it three 11 minutes from time, when the perceptive Hill sent Hendry through.

Arsenal: Miller; Lydersen (McGowan, h/t), Keown, Marshall, O'Leary, Bould, Flatts (Carter, 77), Selley, Smith, Dickov, Heaney. Substitute not used: Will (gk).

Tottenham Hotspur: Walker; McDonald, Van den Hauwe, Hill, Mabbutt, Ruddock, Sedgley, Hendry (Hodges, 82), Anderton, Sheringham, Allen. Substitutes not used: Nethercott, Dearden (gk).

Referee: K Cooper (Pontypridd).

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