Francis frustrated as Spurs fire blanks

Tottenham Hotspur 0 Wimbledon 0 Attendance: 26,261
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The Independent Online
The state of Tottenham's prospects is somewhat similar to their north London home - still under construction and, on the field, in grave danger of falling behind schedule. This scoreless draw did little to silence the moans and jeers that have become as much second nature to the Spurs faithful as the cheers and encouragement used to be.

There was some light at the end of the tunnel as their expensive purchases David Ginola and Les Ferdinand at last seemed to have found the same wavelength and the Frenchman climaxed his finest performance for his new club by dropping a cross on the Wimbeldon crossbar in the dying seconds of the match.

Spurs started with the demeanour of a side with something to prove and their first-half performance would have lifted the downhearted in the White Hart Lane seats with four good chances to open the scoring before Wimbledon could mount any real threat to Ian Walker's goal.

Jose Dominguez at least goes about his work like a man brought up in the Spurs tradition rather than his native Portugal and twice it was his trickery on the ball that created openings but Chris Armstrong should have done better than sky the well measured cross that came his way in the 26th minute. David Ginola was flitting in and out of the fray but his beautifully flighted cross in the seventh minute also deserved a better response than Armstrong's header wide of the mark.

Ramon Vega joined the attackers to out-jump Neil Sullivan to Ginola's 27th-minute free kick but again the header brushed the wrong side of the post.

The visitors' latest aquisition, Michael Hughes, looked like a meaningful addition to the Dons midfield, but it still took them until the 39th minute before they looked like threatening the Wimbledon goal. Ceri Hughes threaded his way beyond a couple of tackles only to thump his shot past Walker but into the side netting.

The action flowed back toward Sullivan and Ruel Fox clattered the right- hand post when he should have done better and then seconds before half- time he wasted an astute nod down from Les Ferdinand with a wild shot.

Ben Thatcher replaced Vinny Jones for the start of the second half and the visitors' midfield acquired more bite - not that it needed it as Ceri Hughes had demonstrated when he took the legs from under Ginola. Perhaps this encouraged the Frenchman to take on a more positive role in the second half, dropping in behind Armstrong and Ferdinand to provide a mobile link that Spurs had hitherto lacked.

Twice he provided the service that Ferdinand needed but the headers were just wide. The ball did eventually land in the net in the 57th minute but Carl Cort was ruled to be offside when he pushed Kenny Cunningham's cross past Walker.

Stephen Clemence and Allan Nielsen, who replaced Fox, both saw good efforts go wide. But the danger lessened as soon as Wimbledon they picked up on Dominguez's penchant for running into dead ends.