Pleat plays down his worries

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Tottenham Hotspur 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0

Gerry Francis's only worries for Spurs are a lengthening injury list, made worse by a knock to Ruel Fox on Saturday, and a pitch with severe drainage problems. David Pleat's concerns for Sheffield Wednesday are more tangible: a string of poor results, a woeful performance against Tottenham, and a further decline into the lower reaches of the Premier League.

Pleat shrugged off Wednesday's deficiencies, saying: "I'm no more worried than any other manager." But only Tottenham's poor finishing prevented an embarrassing scoreline.

Wednesday, mindful of the pace of Chris Armstrong and Teddy Sheringham, came to defend, playing three centre-backs and hoping that Lee Briscoe and Ian Nolan could push up on the flanks. But the plan failed, as Fox and Sol Campbell on the right and Andy Sinton and Clive Wilson on the left foraged further and further forward, pinning Wednesday in their own half.

Armstrong needed only one chance to show off his devastating pace and finishing, picking up a pass from Wilson, running at the defenders and deftly beating Steve Nicol before looping the ball at pace over a bewildered Chris Woods.

The frustration of Wednesday's strikers at the lack of meaningful service was plain to see. As Spurs continued to press down the wings in pursuit of a second goal, only a series of saves from the overworked Woods kept Tottenham at bay.

He parried a short-range shot from Sheringham after a cross from Sinton and got his fingertips to a shot from the edge of the area from Sinton himself, whose drive was heading in the top left corner.

Goal: Armstrong (32) 1-0.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Wilson, Calderwood, Mabbutt, Campbell; Fox (Rosenthal, 78), Howells, Dozzell, Sinton; Sheringham, Armstrong. Substitutes not used: Nethercott, Day (gk).

Sheffield Wednesday (5-3-2): Woods; Nolan, Atherton, Nicol, Walker, Briscoe (Platts, 72); Whittingham, Hyde, Degryse (Waddle, 46); Hirst, Kovacevic (Watts, 89).

Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).

Bookings: Tottenham: Howells. Sheffield Wednesday: Hyde.

Man of the match: Armstrong.

Attendance: 32,047.