Football: Shipperley gives Gross a grim welcome to Premiership

Tottenham Hotspur 0 Crystal Palace 1
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The Independent Online
Christian Gross officially begins work at White Hart Lane today, but Tottenham's new head coach was given a clear indication of the size of his task last night. A fourth successive defeat leaves Spurs only one point off the bottom of the Premiership and the new man will have his work cut out improving a side desperately short on confidence.

Although they struggle to pick up points at home, Crystal Palace are the Premiership's away-day specialists and they were worthy winners. The discipline and teamwork shown by Steve Coppell's side - qualities Gross said he considers the most important in a side - earned their fifth away win of the season.

Gerry Francis, Gross's predecessor, must have had a wry smile on his face when he saw Tottenham's line-up. His three-year reign was bedevilled by injuries and for this match Spurs welcomed back three players Francis had been missing in recent weeks, Les Ferdinand, Darren Anderton and Steffen Iversen.

It did not take two of them long to show what Spurs had been missing. After only three minutes, Anderton picked up Andy Linighan's poor headed clearance and fired in a 25-yard shot, which Kevin Miller did well to push over the bar. From the ensuing corner David Ginola's cross was volleyed spectacularly by the unmarked Ferdinand but his shot was just too high.

With Tottenham looking eager to impress their new coach, the first half was played at a frantic pace and the home side struggled to build on their early promise. The eager Ginola sought the ball all over the pitch but Anderton rarely got far enough forward and Ferdinand did not receive the service he needed.

Palace played a containing game, content to soak up Tottenham's pressure and attack on the break. They had few decent opportunities, however, even after Spurs had to reshuffle their defence following an injury to Justin Edinburgh midway through the first half. Sol Campbell moved to left-back and Ramon Vega joined John Scales in the centre of the back four.

Michele Padovano, Palace's pounds 1.7m signing from Juventus was making his debut in attack and looked lively, but the visitors' best first-half chances fell to Bruce Dyer, who shot narrowly over the bar from Dean Gordon's cross and shot tamely wide after being sent through by Linighan's pass.

There could be no doubting Ginola's commitment and seven minutes into the second half his jinking run through the middle produced the best chance of the match so far. Andy Sinton, with a free shot 12 yards out, struck the ball firmly but Miller threw himself to his left to keep the ball out.

At the other end, Padovano wasted a good chance when he failed to control Gordon's cross, but after 57 minutes Palace took the lead with a well-worked goal. Marc Edworthy made a storming run down the right flank and his cross was met at the near post by Neil Shipperley, who steered the ball into the far corner of the net.

Two minutes later, Padovano's goalbound header was deflected just past a post. From the subsequent corner, Hermann Hreidarsson had a free header but failed to find the target.

By now, the White Hart Lane faithful were becoming restless as Tottenham failed to find any sort of rhythm. Palace were always ready to defend in numbers and Spurs had little idea how to break them down.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-3-1-2): Walker; Carr, Scales, Campbell, Edinburgh (Vega, 25); Sinton, Anderton (Nielsen, 65), Clemence; Ginola; Ferdinand, Iversen (Allen, 65). Substitutes not used: Dominguez, Bardsen (gk).

Crystal Palace (5-2-3): Miller; Edworthy, Linighan, Warhurst, Hreidarsson, Gordon; Roberts, Rodger; Dyer, Padovano (Veart, 80), Shipperley. Substitutes not used: Davies, Emblen, Zohar, Nash (gk).

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset).