Heskey terrorises Spurs into submission

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STILL WEARING the scars of their Worthington Cup final defeat by Spurs last season, Leicester went some way towards makingamends with a gritty second-half fightback that got the reward it deserved and hoisted them to sixth in the table.

STILL WEARING the scars of their Worthington Cup final defeat by Spurs last season, Leicester went some way towards makingamends with a gritty second-half fightback that got the reward it deserved and hoisted them to sixth in the table.

With David Ginola turning it on and Spurs extremely good value for a 2-1 interval lead, there are some, even in the top flight, whomight have settled for a damage limitation exercise. But that is not Martin O'Neill's, or Leicester's style.

Steve Guppy showed precisely why Kevin Keegan has finally called him up into the England squad, Emile Heskey frightened thelife out of Tottenham's back four, and fine goals by Muzzy Izzet and Gerry Taggart made that Worthington Cup nightmare just adistant memory.

Poor George Graham. The Tottenham manager prowled the touchline like a demented demon for the final 45 minutes as hisSpurs side squandered all their early initiative and proved, if proof were needed, that they are still a very long way away frombeing the force that he envisages.

After Steffen Iversen had quickly cancelled out the 24th- minute lead that Izzet gave Leicester from the penalty spot for a foul byLuke Young on Heskey that was clearly outside the area, with two delightful goals, Graham might reasonably have expected thepoints and an end the Premiership hold which O'Neill and his side seem to have over them.

No such luck and a stark reminder also to Graham of opportunities sorely missed in more ways than one. Graham knew wellbefore this setback that he is at least one good striker away from thinking in terms of mounting a serious challenge to theManchester Uniteds and Arsenals of this world.

How galling, then, that the very man who might make all the difference was playing against him yesterday and showing all thepower and predatory instincts that the Tottenham manager was prepared to pay £10m for last summer.

What, one wonders, would the outcome have been if Heskey had been in a Spurs shirt, benefiting from the sort of superblyinventive service Ginola provided for so little return.

How many goals might the big man have bagged if he had been up against the rather defensively dodgy Taggart rather than theincreasingly resolute Chris Perry? What is clear is that Leicester, with Heskey, look like achieving rather more than Spurs will thisseason without him.

"I'm very disappointed," said Graham. "We are just too nice a side. We badly need to be more mean and nasty. We don't seem tobe able to take a lead and kill off the game."

His opposite number, naturally, was "euphoric", although mystified why Heskey had had a first-half goal disallowed.

"For Heskey to have scored would have been terrific," he said. "He's so powerful and he's on top form at the minute. He'll causeproblems for anybody, he's playing so well. "

O'Neill was also full of praise for Izzet, but reluctant to push his England claims just yet. "If anybody should be disappointed it's TimFlowers. He made some vital saves today and he could reasonably have been expecting to get back into the England set up."

Goals: Izzet (pen 25) 0-1; Iversen (26) 1-1; Iversen (35) 2-1; Izzet (69) 2-2; Taggart (76) 2-3.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Carr, Perry, Young (Vega, 72), Taricco; Leonhardsen, Freund, Sherwood, Ginola (Nielsen,71); Armstrong, Iversen. Substitutes not used: Edinburgh, Clemence, Baardsen (gk).

Leicester City (3-5-2): Flowers; Gilchrist (Marshall, 65), Elliott, Taggart; Impey, Savage, Lennon, Izzet, Guppy; Heskey, Cottee.Substitutes not used: Fenton, Oakes, Zagorakis, Arphexad (gk).

Referee: G Barber (Hertfordshire).

Bookings: Tottenham: Leonhardsen, Sherwood, Nielsen. Leicester: Lennon

Man of the match: Izzet.

Attendance: 35,591.

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