Pearce epitomises the spirit of Forest

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Nottingham Forest 1 (aet; score at 90 min 1-1; Forest win 3-1 on penalties)
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The Independent Online
White Hart Lane was not short of sympathy for Teddy Sheringham and company on Saturday. While most of the Forest team were celebrating victory by the dubious means of penalty kicks, Stuart Pearce went to console the inconsolable. The Forest captain knew better than anyone how his old team- mate felt, with the possible exception of Chris Waddle, who, coincidentally, was watching from the stands.

The disappointment of defeat by such means in an FA Cup fifth-round replay may pale beside that of a World Cup semi-final, but the principle remains the same: it is a thoroughly unsatisfactory way to decide a football match, let alone games of such importance as these.

All agree that the English calendar can ill afford any further congestion with additional replays, but given some of the hare-brained schemes which the governing body of world football, Fifa, is all too willing to experiment with, is it not worth giving sudden death a trial run? The drama would be no less gripping than it is for penalty kicks and a lot fairer upon individuals.

It was the effect that "failure" can have upon the unfortunate penalty- taker that most concerned Gerry Francis, the Tottenham manager, although given the way the Forest players celebrated with Klinsmann-type dives into the mud at the finish, I am not too sure many of them would agree with his verdict that it represented a hollow victory.

Needless to say, Forest's Mark Crossley, speaking as a goalkeeper, found more pressure in the course of a match than a penalty shoot-out. As the only person to have saved a Matt Le Tissier penalty, he positively thrives upon them, although modestly he put down his three saves from Clive Wilson, Ronny Rosenthal and Sheringham to luck. "It's just a guessing game," he said.

If Spurs, led with typical gusto by Gary Mabbutt on his 600th appearance for the club, did enough to deserve a second replay in this rattling good tie, Forest were due some sort of reward for somehow summoning the energy after their midweek exertions in Munich to go the distance and more here.

From no one did it demand a greater effort than Pearce, who finished the Uefa Cup tie, his first game in seven weeks, limping with a calf injury. Yet here he was four days later leading again by example, be it from the back, clearing a Rosenthal chip off the goal-line, or the front, converting the first of the penalties.

With Steve Stone looking ordinary for someone recently feted at international level, it was as well for Forest that Ian Woan has emerged as a force to be reckoned with. His invention paved the way for Bryan Roy's opening goal and he could be the one to benefit from Darren Anderton's enforced absence from the England team.

Still, at least the Spurs goal scorer, Sheringham, might benefit from his sweet left-foot service - hopefully then without recourse to shoot- outs.

Goals: Roy (8) 0-1; Sheringham (32) 1-1.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Campbell, Calderwood, Mabbutt, Edinburgh (Nethercott, 105); Fox, Howells, Wilson, Rosenthal; Sheringham, Armstrong (Slade, 105). Substitute not used: Thorstvedt (gk).

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Lyttle, Chettle, Haland (Phillips, 67), Pearce; Stone (McGregor, 103), Bart-Williams, Gemmill, Woan; Campbell (Lee, 119), Roy.

Referee: G Willard (West Sussex).

Bookings: Tottenham: Sheringham. Forest: Stone, Haland.

Man of the match: Crossley. Attendance: 28,221.

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