Rebrov to the rescue for Spurs

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The Independent Football

After the warmest of welcomes, and the most promising of beginnings, Paul Gascoigne found himself upstaged last night by the little Ukrainian who could also become a White Hart Lane icon. Gascoigne's promptings helped Everton into a two-goal lead, which was rubbed out by Sergei Rebrov, scoring the first goals since Sir Alan Sugar was persuaded to fork out £11m for him. Les Ferdinand's goal soon after the equaliser proved enough to carry Tottenham into the upper echelons of the Premiership table.

After the warmest of welcomes, and the most promising of beginnings, Paul Gascoigne found himself upstaged last night by the little Ukrainian who could also become a White Hart Lane icon. Gascoigne's promptings helped Everton into a two-goal lead, which was rubbed out by Sergei Rebrov, scoring the first goals since Sir Alan Sugar was persuaded to fork out £11m for him. Les Ferdinand's goal soon after the equaliser proved enough to carry Tottenham into the upper echelons of the Premiership table.

Gascoigne, whose last game for Spurs was the 1991 FA Cup final, in which he was carried off and might have been sent off, was rapturously received in his latest reincarnation, as part of a badly depleted Everton side. Another former hero of the Lane, Richard Gough, was one of several injured team-mates, most of them defenders. The combative Dane Thomas Gravesen at the back, but after an early scare when Stephen Carr shot wide, they coped considerably better than the home defence until the transformation midway through the second half.

George Graham, insisting that his players earn their fat wage-packets these days, had all Tottenham's international players in on Sunday morning after their travels through Europe the previous day and was pleased to find all of them fit enough to figure in his squad. He nevertheless left Norway's Steffen Iversen on the substitutes' bench, changing the team for the first time this season to give Les Ferdinand a rare start.

With 40 minutes played, Graham had been forced into two more changes and his team were two goals behind. Darren Anderton lasted no more than 17 minutes, the victim of a bad tackle for which David Unsworth was booked and later Ben Thatcher limped off. In between times, Everton had made all the chances and Francis Jeffers, after one embarrassing miss, had taken advantage of Thatcher's under-strength back pass to score. Five minutes from the interval, the Ghanaian Alex Nyarko was allowed to drift in from the left and shoot low past Neil Sullivan.

In urgent need of a change of fortune, Spurs salvaged a goal with 15 seconds of the half remaining. Sol Campbell nudged Stephen Clemence's free-kick against a post and, after a wild scramble, Rebrov drove in his first goal for the club.

That was their only scoring opportunity since Carr's in the first minute. It took 15 minutes of the second half to force another, whereupon two more goals materialised almost out of nothing. On the hour, an anonymous defender handled and Rebrov slid in the penalty.

Instead of arguing the point, Tottenham went forward and scored again; Clemence hooked a cross in from the left, Tim Sherwood seemed to get a touch and Ferdinand, with minimal backlift, jabbed past Gerrard.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Sullivan; Carr, Perry, Campbell, Thatcher (Taricco, 37); Anderton (Clemence, 17) Sherwood, Freund, Leonhardsen; Rebrov, Ferdinand (Iversen, 89). Substitutes not used: Young, Walker (gk).

Everton (3-5-2): Gerrard; S Watson, Weir, Unsworth; Alexandersson, Nyarko, Gascoigne (Moore, 82), Gravesen, S Hughes (Cleland, 75); M Hughes (Cadamarteri, 82), Jeffers. Substitutes not used:, Cleland, Gemmill, Simonsen (gk).

Referee: B Knight (Orpington).

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