Football: Surefire Sheringham

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The Independent Online
Norwich City. . . . . .1

Sutton 71

Tottenham Hotspur. . . 2

Sheringham 56, Woodthorpe og 76

Attendance: 21,181

AN aimless game of polite push and run was going nowhere until the 56th minute when Nick Barmby broke free from a throw-in on the right. The Spurs striker whipped in a low cross and Teddy Sheringham, left alone on the penalty spot, killed the ball, swivelled on his good leg and fired the ball past Bryan Gunn.

It was Sheringham's first appearance since 16 October and was a fine way to celebrate his 28th birthday. Three operations on his right knee later, he is still Spurs' top scorer with 12 goals. 'It was fairytale stuff,' he said. 'Dream world really.'

Until his introduction in place of Ronny Rosenthal three minutes earlier, Spurs had lacked direction. His arrival galvanised them, but also injected life into Norwich.

Suddenly players who had been treating the ball like a hot potato began running into space and screaming for it. Darren Anderton, previously anonymous, dropped deep, slipped Chris Sutton and sped goalwards. As he reached the area with only Gunn in his way, Colin Woodthorpe took away his legs. The referee, Alan Wilkie, should have sent the left-back off, but did not even book him. Vinny Samways swerved the resulting free-kick just wide.

Some equally dismal refereeing almost let Norwich back into the game. As they surged towards the Spurs goal, the ball bounced up in a penalty-area melee and clipped Kevin Scott's hand. Sutton took the penalty and Ian Walker plunged to his right to save.

Not to be denied, Norwich brought on Mark Robins for Jeremy Goss. In the 73rd minute, Ian Crook crossed from deep, Robins dragged the Spurs defence sideways and his delicate nod down put Sutton through. The pounds 4m-rated striker drew his former manager's son and slotted home the equaliser.

Sheringham was leading Spurs' line heroically. His header from a corner was blocked on the line, before Anderton once more picked up the gauntlet.

In a glorious Spurs move Barmby swept a ball out to the England winger on the left touchline. Anderton swept the ball back across the face of the goal and, as David Kerslake swooped, Woodthorpe stuck out a foot and diverted the ball past his own keeper.

Sheringham almost got a third in the dying seconds as Gunn blocked his header, but he had probably done enough to save Spurs' season.

'Teddy coming back is the best thing that could have happened to us,' Ossie Ardiles, the Spurs manager, said. 'He is a class player and he livened up the team when he came on.'

Spurs play West Ham United at home tomorrow in a relegation six-pointer. 'The fight is not over,' Ardiles said.

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