Football: Sherwood shines for Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur 3 Newcastle United 1

THE ECLIPSE happens tomorrow and, even though London is not one of the best places to see all of the momentous event, Newcastle's fans will have felt on this visit to the capital that their side was all but invisible to the naked eye, despite having taken the lead. Instead it was Tottenham who shone, leaving their silhouette firmly imprinted on Ruud Gullit's men, who have now lost their first two games of the season.

Spurs overcame the disappointment of losing on Saturday and suffering an early setback last night, while all Newcastle could do, after Nolberto Solano's impressive opening goal, was see five names enter the referee's notebook.

Already, Gullit's construction job, which cost pounds 15m in the summer, looks only half-complete, while the Tottenham manager George Graham, who spent a fraction of that in the break, could reflect on his team's impressively one-sided victory.

Home debuts by Chris Perry and Oyvind Leonhardsen, which had Graham glowing afterwards, simply put added gloss on a convincing performance. While their effort was matched by Newcastle, despite the new faces in the Gullit's squad, the same old problems, namely creativity and supply to the forwards, seem to have resurfaced with alarming speed.

To boot, Newcastle seem to have left their defensive coaching manual on a shelf over the summer. Two goals were conceded from set-pieces, and their assistant manager Steve Clarke, himself once a defender and speaking in place of Gullit, admitted: "It was disappointing to let in two goals like that."

Once Tottenham had seized the lead, through Les Ferdinand's neatly-taken glancing effort in first-half injury time, there was no looking back for Graham's men, and they denied Newcastle even one shooting chance after the break.

Alan Shearer, who was sent off at the weekend in controversial circumstances, had a quiet game, which was not entirely his fault. Such was the infrequency of the passes at his feet that he might have forgotten what one looked like long before the end.

Despite ending the game so poorly, it was Newcastle who opened the scoring with a well-taken goal by Solano.

The Peruvian has barely had a break since last season ended after being on duty with his country in the Copa America last month. But, with 17 minutes gone, he anticipated Shearer's flick-on from a Steve Harper goal- kick and after avoiding one challenge his shot rifled inside the post from 20 yards.

Newcastle's lead was against the run of play, as Tottenham tried to make instant amends for their defeat at West Ham and Ferdinand, against his former side, went close twice before finally getting on the score sheet after enduring a tough, but ultimately fruitful contest with Alain Goma.

The equaliser was the shape of things to come as the evening progressed but Solano's early goal had prompted a rare sighting of Tottenham's manager, George Graham, in the dug-out during the first half, coming down from his usual lair in the stands.

Whether by accident or design, it inspired Steffen Iversen to bring Spurs level after 28 minutes. Darren Anderton, another north London contract rebel in the making, swung in a corner and Iversen, who was praised afterwards by Graham, thumped home a header from short range.

Ferdinand then gave his side the lead after Mauricio Taricco worked his way to the byline and put in a low cross that the former England striker flicked in past a despairing Harper.

That was his final contribution but Tottenham continued in the same enterprising vein, prompting Graham to comment: "We were very good tonight. We showed tremendous desire and commitment."

Spurs' third was never far away. David Ginola volleyed over from 18 yards five minutes after the break and 11 minutes later Anderton swung in a free-kick from the left and Tim Sherwood marched in at the far post to seal the three points, a goal which Clarke graciously admitted made Tottenham worthy winners.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Scales, Perry, Carr, Taricco (Young, 90); Leonhardsen, Sherwood, Ginola, Anderton; Ferdinand (Dominguez, h- t; Freund, 80), Iversen Substitutes not used: Baardsen (gk), Fox.

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Harper; Goma, Dumas (Robinson, 73) Barton, Domi; Speed, Dyer, Hughes (Maric, 67), Solano; Ketsbaia, Shearer. Substitutes not used: Perez (gk), Caldwell, Serrant.

Referee: R Harris (Oxford).

Keane's deadline, page 20

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