Football: Spurs take their time

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The Independent Online
Tottenham Hotspur. . .1

Manchester City. . . .0

IT WAS not easy, it was not pretty, but it was richly deserved. Tottenham secured their first home victory of the season thanks to a gift-wrapped goal deep into a game which they looked in danger of passing up.

From start to finish Tottenham showed frequent flashes of inspiration without ever building up the inexorable momentum needed to crush their unambitious opponents. The growing understanding between the Spurs forwards promised rather more than it delivered - on this occasion at least.

As early as the fifth minute Gordon Durie set up Jason Dozzell with a canny knock-down, but the new signing's low volley was comfortably gathered by Tony Coton. Teddy Sheringham, brimming with confidence, was both making and taking chances. Twice in the first half he almost broke the deadlock. A glancing header grazed the bar and then - in the 37th minute - he sent a tantalising shot high across the face of Coton's goal.

In the crowded midfield it was the Tottenham players who showed the greater composure, and the rampaging runs of Sol Campbell were a constant source of pain to City's right flank.

Against all this constructive endeavour the visitors could offer nothing but the inevitable 'commitment'. With Niall Quinn only on the bench, a fresh plan of attack might have been advisable but the City players continued to punt high balls forward into the all-too-empty space.

It was not a performance to enhance Peter Reid's managerial position. Nevertheless, as the second half wore on it looked as if it might be almost enough to frustrate Tottenham's superior invention.

In the 67th minute, however, Dozzell robbed McMahon in the centre circle, broke forward and fed Sheringham on the right. The striker's cross looked to have missed its target but City's Andy Hill wrong-footed his own keeper with a backwards header and Steve Sedgley slid in to score.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-3-1-2): E Thorstvedt; D Austin, S Campbell, C Calderwood, G Mabbutt; S Sedgley, D Howells (D Caskey, 75 min), V Samways; J Dozzell; G Durie (D Anderton, 75 min), T Sheringham. Sub not used: I Walker (gk). Manager: O Ardiles.

Manchester City (4-4-2): T Coton; A Hill, T Phelan, D Brightwell, M Vonk; S McMahon (M Quinn, 73 min), P Reid, G Flitcroft, R Holden; D White, M Sheron. Subs not used: M Quigley, A Dibble (gk). Player-manager: P Reid.

Referee: K Hackett (Sheffield)

Goal: Sedgley (1-0, 68 min).

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