Football: Ndlovu has last laugh on Spurs

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The Independent Online
Coventry City. . . . 1

Ndlovu pen 62

Tottenham Hotspur. . 0

Attendance: 14,491

AS they left the field, the Tannoy told the worst for Tottenham, culminating in the agonising Norwich 4 . . . well, at least one went our way then . . . Southampton 5 . . . . They had to be joking.

But laughs were in short supply at Highfield Road, except for a few at expensive Tottenham's expense. Results may have conspired to put them closer to relegation but mostly they conspired against themselves as they fell to a penalty by the fitfully exciting Peter Ndlovu.

So fragile is their psyche in front of White Hart Lane's fickle fans - they have won only three out of 19 there - that they thought playing away might help.

It has worked and did occasionally yesterday. They might have taken the lead, notably after 33 minutes in an extraordinary episode when Darren Anderton and Teddy Sheringham combined to put in Nick Barmby. His clip over Steve Ogrizovic was stopped on the line by Brian Borrows, who before clearing sidestepped Sheringham as he lunged in.

Ogrizovic also had to save sharply at close range from Barmby and Anderton in the second half but mostly Tottenham's work was summed up by an early free-kick; it was fancily flicked up to Anderton but the shot drifted ineffectually wide.

Coventry, settled by David Rennie in midfield, and always likely to receive a token of Ndlovu, also fashioned few chances but, unlike Tottenham, scored with their clearest. The busy Sean Flynn, put through by Leigh Jenkinson, looked about to break the deadlock when Kevin Scott intervened - illegally, the referee deemed, though the Tottenham manager Ossie Ardiles called it 'controversial'. Ndlovu's sidefooted penalty kick was too near to a post for Erik Thorstvedt's left hand.

The Zimbabwean, having outpaced Gary Mabbutt, also crashed a shot with his stronger foot against the underside of the bar.