Football: Spurs relieved to see off Brentford

Tottenham Hotspur 3 Brentford 2 Tottenham win 6-4 on agg
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The Independent Online
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR finally restored a modicum of pride in themselves when they pulled rank on their Nationwide League opponents in this Worthington Cup second round second leg tie at White Hart Lane last night. But a spirited Brentford display, especially in the first half, made life far more uncomfortable for Spurs than their supporters would have wished.

It took Brentford just 54 seconds to level the tie on aggregate following Tottenham's 3-2 win at Griffin Park last week. Charlie Oatway, the only change to Brentford's side from the first leg, brushed past Stephen Clemence's feeble challenge near half-way and fed Andy Scott in the inside-left position. The lanky striker muscled his way past Stephen Carr and swept his shot beyond Hans Segers in the Tottenham goal.

It might have been considered something of a shock for a Third Division team to pick their way through a Premiership defence so easily but the way things have been going for Spurs recently leaves little room for surprise.

Chris Armstrong should have equalised for them after eight minutes but he headed wide from Clemence's cross, and Darren Anderton, back for his first game since injuring his knee playing for England, headed a more difficult chance wide from David Ginola's deep cross.

Brentford, though, were far from overawed by their illustrious opponents and began to knock the ball around with an air of confidence, Martin Rowlands bringing the best out of Segers with a well-struck shot.

The frustration was mounting for Spurs, Allan Neilsen being booked for a petty foul, but after 25 minutes they finally found a way through when Ruel Fox's low cross from the byline was volleyed by Armstrong. Jason Pearcey saved but was helpless to prevent Neilsen from turning in the rebound.

A caution for Ginola following a reckless challenge on the stroke of half-time served as a warning to Spurs that there was still work to do, but they came out after the interval determined and took the lead on the night within a minute. This time Sol Campbell was there to score after Ginola's shot had been parried by Pearcey.

For a while the floodgates opened for Spurs and Armstrong added a third after Neilsen's shot had come back off the post in the 53rd minute. Armstrong then hit the post and a full-blooded drive by Clemence was held by Pearcey.

Three goals clear overall, Tottenham should have been coasting, but even then there was an alarm when the three Brentford substitutes combined to reduce the arrears. Tony Folan picked out Kevin Rapley, he cut inside Justin Edinburgh with ease and crossed for Lloyd Owusu to convert from close range. It was not enough for Brentford, but Spurs, nevertheless, will be glad to see the back of them.

Tottenham (4-4-2): Segers; Carr, Calderwood, Campbell, Edinburgh; Fox, Neilsen, Clemence (Gower, 81), Anderton; Armstrong, Ginola (Dominguez, 63). Substitutes not used: Berti, Vega, Baardsen.

Brentford (5-3-2): Pearcey; Boxall, Bates, Powell, Quinn, Anderson; Rowlands, Aspinall, Oatway (Rapley, 71); Freeman (Owusu, 59), Scott (Folan, 71). Substitutes not used: Watson, Hebel.

Referee: A Wiley (Burntwood).

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