Football: Kilcline's cutting edge

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The Independent Online
Swindon Town . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Fjortoft 38, Whitbread 80

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

Barmby 30

Attendance: 16,563

WITH so many dear old pals around, a sharing of much-needed spoils might have been expected before everyone adjourned to the bar for swapping of yarns and slapping of backs.

Instead Swindon, having taken on West Ham's mantle of most-favoured opponents, belatedly discovered the killer touch to claim a third victory in 27 League games. The killer in question is six feet two with eyes of blue, a moustache and pony tail, and answers to the name of Brian Kilcline. 'Solid and straightforward, an extra bit of edge and experience,' said Swindon's manager John Gorman of his new pounds 90,000 purchase from Newcastle.

How Ossie Ardiles could do with a bargain. After losing five matches out of six and Darren Anderton and Erik Thorstvedt to injuries before half-time, the Spurs manager will resume his search for a stiker first thing tomorrow. The debutant Paul Mahorn is not yet the answer.

For half an hour Spurs were overwhelmed. Then they scored - and were immediately overwhelmed all over again. After Thorstvedt, beaten twice but spared by a goalline clearance and the crossbar, departed with a twisted knee, Ian Walker carried on where his mentor had left off. Upset at being dropped following his penalty heroics against Peterborough in midweek, Walker made a point or three by denying John Moncur, Jan Age Fjortoft and Shaun Taylor.

At the other end, Nicky Hammond, whose Cup had been smashed to smithereens with one horrible miskick at Ipswich, must have been praying for one tenth of Tottenham's good fortune. Numbed perhaps by inactivity, he failed to gather Darren Caskey's cross and Nick Barmby accepted the invitation to an open goal.

Fjortoft wins high marks for persistence if not artistic impression. Despite missing badly twice more, he tried and tried again, finally getting the angles right to equalise seven minutes before half-time. It was his second goal in a week after 24 games without one and prompted Swindon to decide against loaning him back to his former Norwegian club Lillestrom as planned.

As Spurs tightened up a little in the second half, Colin Calderwood denied him with a late block only to be caught 10 minutes from time lying on top of the ball. Swindon wanted a penalty, Tottenham a dropped ball; the referee Paul Durkin offered an indirect free-kick and when Nicky Summerbee's shot was scraped off the line, Adrian Whitbread, the central defender, lashed in his first goal for the club.

(Photograph omitted)