Football: Verdict depends on Durie

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The Independent Online
Tottenham Hotspur. . 2

Crystal Palace. . . .2

WHERE are Tottenham's goals going to come from this season? In recent times they have relied on the likes of Gascoigne, Stewart and the irreplaceable Lineker, but they have all gone to pastures new. Of the recognised scorers only Gordon Durie remains, and he reached the point last season when his idea of a nightmare was an open goal and no keeper to beat.

He had such a chance against Palace and took it, when Vinny Samways cleverly set up Paul Allen to cross, but will have to take many harder ones in the coming winter if Spurs are to hold their own in the Premier League.

The good signs are that, unlike previous Tottenham sides, this one is prepared to fight for the right to play. You need that quality to survive a scrap with Crystal Palace, and scrap this trans-Thames encounter certainly was. Samways was booked for taunting a Palace wall, Andy Thorn got similar treatment for allowing himself to be taunted, Thorn and Neil Ruddock (who was sent off twice and booked nine times while with Southampton last season) were dismissed for second offences, and Geoff Thomas crossed swords with Andy Gray as soon as his old midfield partner rose from the bench. They did not shake hands at the final whistle.

You can always rely on Gray to be adjacent to any imbroglio, but his new employers were expecting different things from him. His coach, Doug Livermore, describing him afterwards as 'our secret weapon', brought him on at centre-forward, but Gray's tricks were no secret to Palace.

His header was answered by two plucked from the Crystal Palace goal-scoring manual: free-kick on the flank, defensive mayhem, big leap, goal. In the first half it was Eddie McGoldrick, in the second, Eric Young (there could have been another had Eric Thorstvedt not stopped McGoldrick's penalty after Terry Fenwick shoved Chris Coleman in the box). As a result Spurs were one down with 10 minutes to run and not a clue where the fightback was going to come from.

By the last minute White Hart Lane had got used to the idea of another home defeat, to go with the midweek humiliation by Coventry and all those record-breaking ones of last season, until Dean Austin, a young full-back making his debut, burst down the right and aimed a cross at no one in particular. Durie embarrassed himself with a bicycle kick, Steve Sedgley surged into the box and hacked the ball on like a centre three-quarter. With some relief he saw the ball drop kindly and he finished the job off with only his second League goal in three seasons as a Spurs player.

Goals: Durie (16) 1-0; McGoldrick (21) 1-1; Young (80) 1-2; Sedgley (89) 2-2.

Tottenham Hotspur: Thorstvedt; Fenwick (Austin, 64), Edinburgh, Sedgley, Tuttle, Ruddock, Hendry (Gray, 64), Durie, Samways, Anderton, Allen.

Crystal Palace: Martyn; Humphrey, Shaw, Southgate, Young, Thorn, Coleman, Thomas, Sinnott, Gordon, McGoldrick.

Referee: P Don (Middlesex).