Football: Sheringham in dominant style

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The Independent Online
Tottenham Hotspur. . . . 3

Queen's Park Rangers. . .2

IT MAY mean nothing to Joao Havelange, the president of Fifa, who was given a presentable exhibition of high-velocity English football at White Hart Lane yesterday, but being London's top club counts a lot with those involved.

Spurs needed to beat QPR by five to leapfrog over them in the division and for a while, with Teddy Sheringham again leading the way, it looked like they could do it. In the end, though, it was indeed a five-goal game, two of those were needlessly conceded to an undeserving Rangers in the dying minutes. Havelange will have noted that only Darren Anderton's goal was scored from the boot.

Sheringham has now scored 21 goals for Tottenham in 32 appearances and on the evidence of recent form it should have been him rather than QPR's Les Ferdinand making his debut for England against San Marino. With Nick Barmby and Anderton to provide, respectively, ground and aerial support, he is the spearhead of what is currently the country's sharpest forward line. Had he not seen his penalty well saved by Tony Roberts a minute before bouncing back with his first goal, predictably nodded in from Anderton's free-kick, he would have had his second consecutive hat-trick.

Barmby's contribution was for once muted or at least passive, suggesting that perhaps Tottenham will not miss him quite so drastically when he flies off to Australia today. Danny Maddix was deputised to follow him around the pitch and by dragging him to and fro Tottenham opened up acres of room to carve through Rangers' befuddled ranks.

The second goal, a well-worked move in which Vinny Samways crossed for Sheringham to glance in at the near-post, was the sort of jewel you expect of the west Londoners but they were in no shape to put on a show and were outplayed in every area.

Alongside Ferdinand was Devon White, tall as a lamp-post and just as mobile, and between them they could not muster one shot on target until the latter nodded in his colleague's cross in the 89th minute, shortly after Darren Peacock had scored from David Bardsley's free-kick. On yesterday's showing it is hard to pin down where White is less valuable - in the opponent's area or his own. It was his trip on Gary Mabbutt in the seventh minute that yielded the penalty.

Andy Sinton rifled in a few shots in a slightly more purposeful second half for the visitors, but he had nothing in his armoury to compare with Anderton who did much to prove that he is more than just a dead-ball specialist. A through ball on the hour from Samways should have been controlled and cleared by Rufus Brevett, but Anderton showed more persistence than he has been wont to do, took the ball on and the shot evaded Roberts's palm.

Tottenham: E Thorstvedt; D Austin, J Edinburgh, V Samways, G Mabbutt, J Cundy, A Gray, N Barmby (Nayim, 89 min), D Anderton, T Sheringham, P Allen. Subs not used: S Nethercott, K Deardon (gk). First team coach: D Livermore.

Queen's Park Rangers: T Roberts; D Bardsley, R Brevett, S Barker (A Impey, 31 min), D Peacock, A McDonald, C Wilson, D Maddix, L Ferdinand, D White, A Sinton. Subs not used: B Allen, J Stejskal (gk). Manager: G Francis.

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow).

Goals: Sheringham (1-0, 8 min); Sheringham (2-0, 31 min); Anderton (3-0, 59 min); Peacock (3-1, 86 min); White (3-2, 89 min).