Football: Limpar's statement of intent: Tottenham break drought

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The Independent Online
Everton. . . . . . . .0

Tottenham Hotspur. . .1

Slight of frame and reputedly light on endeavour, Anders Limpar may not appear the most obvious candidate to help a club scramble for survival. But, having enthusiastically exchanged a bit part at Arsenal for a leading role at Everton, the stylish Swedish winger displayed on his debut why Mike Walker invested pounds 1.6m and such high hopes in an almost forgotten talent.

In the wake of the narrow defeat to Spurs, a surprising turn of events which accelerated Goodison's relegation fears, the Everton manager demanded of certain players in the dressing-room whether they wanted to continue their careers in the Premiership. Limpar was exempted the wrath of Walker.

Understandably so. Everton's deadline-day signing was positive in attack and assiduous in his support of Andy Hinchcliffe when Spurs broke forward. 'I was very pleased with his commitment,' Walker said, a line of praise Limpar became unfamiliar with at Highbury.

After a 'nervous night' on Friday Limpar settled in solidly, bringing enterprise and much- needed variety to an occasionally artisan midfield. Fleet-footed and two-footed, Limpar possesses the class to help steer his new club to safety. 'Everton will stay up - that's no problem at all,' he said.

After 20 minutes' observation, Limpar found his stride. Picking up possession in the inside-left channel he glided past Vinny Samways, and outstripped two pursuers before driving the ball towards the top corner of the goal, only for Ian Walker, Mike's son, to thwart him with an overhead grasp.

Walker Jnr, worried afterwards about what 'mum's going to say', confirmed again his considerable promise, although he was assisted by the modest nature of an Everton attack which needs strengthening.

Ditto Spurs, although Teddy Sheringham may be available within 10 days. Sheringham's understudy, Ronny Rosenthal, enjoyed a number of chances in a very poor match but, through inept finishing and typically fine goalkeeping by Neville Southall, failed to score. Southall was eventually beaten by a midfielder, Steve Sedgley stealing forward to head in David Kerslake's excellent cross.

Ossie Ardiles was understandably delighted by Spurs' first Premiership win of 1994. For a man whose job was reportedly on the line, Ardiles is nicely placed for the March manager of the month awards. Spurs, unbeaten in four, can face the rest of the season with equanimity. Limpar should help Everton do the same.

Goal: Sedgley (70) 0-1.

Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Jackson, Snodin, Watson, Hinchcliffe; Stuart, Horne, Ebbrell, Limpar; Cottee, Rideout (Angell, 79). Substitutes not used: Radosavljevic, Kearton (gk).

Tottenham Hotspur (5-3-1-1): Walker; Kerslake, Mabbutt, Nethercott, Scott (Dozzell, 13), Edinburgh (Campbell, 57); Anderton, Samways, Sedgley; Barmby; Rosenthal. Substitute not used: Thorstvedt (gk).

Referee: K Barratt (Coventry).