Football: Samways' simple solution

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The Independent Online
Manchester City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

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

ON A NIGHT for hard work, it was a measure of the change that has come over Tottenham since the departures of Gascoigne, Lineker and Stewart that it was the north Londoners who found the wherewithal to go through to the fourth round of the Coca-Cola Cup at Maine Road last night.

Form dictated that there would be few goals if only because the forwards would not be sharp enough to capitalise on defensive errors. So it proved. Vinny Samways put away the only goal five minutes before the interval, scoring simply with his left foot to round off a simple move. Nick Barmby, always busy, had nodded on a long clearance by his goalkeeper Erik Thorstvedt, leaving the City defence flat-footed.

Thorstvedt, standing in for Ian Walker, played a fine match as Spurs coped ably with the absence of five first-choice starters. After Spurs' Teddy Sheringham had set the attacking tone with a stinging shot in the seventh minute, City carved out enough first-half chances to have sunk Spurs.

David White, whose goals have dried up since he scored seven in his first seven games this season, headed over when unchallenged after 14 minutes and 10 minutes later Fitzroy Simpson emerged from midfield to meet Rick Holden's cross on the volley but Thorstvedt sprawled to save.

After Samways had struck, City produced a flurry of attacks which so rattled Spurs that Nayim followed Steve Sedgley into the referee's notebook as the home side created and squandered three good chances, Thorstvedt again denying them.

After the restart Samways was booked for time-wasting and City seemed to realise they were wasting their time. They lost their cohesion, their running off the ball became aimless and despite all their possession the home side hardly had a chance. When Simpson deliberately rolled a pass through the Spurs' defence into the penalty area and no blue shirt moved, it was typical of City's lack of understanding.

Typical of their finishing was Niall Quinn's inability to hit the target 10 minutes from time after his marker Neil Ruddock had slipped on the treacherous surface. When the Irish striker did find the mark with a flashing header moments later the excellent Thorstvedt ensured that City were not flattered by a replay.

Manchester City: Coton; Brightwell, Phelan, McMahon, Curle, Hill, White, Sheron, Quinn, Simpson, Holden. Substitutes not used: Reid, Flitcroft.

Tottenham Hotspur: Thorstvedt; Edinburgh, Austin, Samways (Turner, 84), Mabbutt, Ruddock, Sedgley, Barmby, Nayim (Howells, 78), Sheringham, Allen.

Referee: J Key (Sheffield).

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