Spurs blunted

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Armstrong 73 Chelsea 1 Hughes 35 Attendance: 32,918
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The Independent Online
The last time Spurs beat Chelsea at White Hart Lane, a certain Glenn Hoddle was in the team. That was back in 1987 and he was unlucky to leave yesterday with only one point in his manager's holdall. Chelsea controlled the game for long spells and even some inspired goalkeeping by Ian Walker was not excuse enough for the draw. Chelsea still have a vacancy for someone who can consistently supply a lethal cutting edge.

It came in the 35th minute yesterday, when Craig Burley and Dennis Wise produced passes of clinical precision to set up Mark Hughes to beat Walker with a crisp no-nonsense volley.

The goal seemed to wake Spurs up and only the woodwork prevented them from equalising before half-time. In the 43rd minute, Teddy Sheringham met Erland Johnsen's headed clearance with a thunderous right-foot volley that smacked Dmitri Kharin's crossbar. The adrenalin was still coursing in Spurs' veins immediately after the resumption - Sheringham had his shot blocked by Kharin and then watched his header float inches wide. The England striker should have scored when a brave Kharin parry fell to his feet, but his shot went wildly over.

There were some compensation for him in the 72nd minute when his astute flick created another shooting chance for Chris Armstrong. Again Kharin got to the shot but the attacker's reflexes got him upright first to push home the equaliser.

Spurs, however, had shot their bolt and the visitors were slicing through their tiring midfield with great ease. Sol Campbell had stuck manfully to the difficult task of stopping Ruud Gullit, but when the big defender's legs started to give out, the Dutchman led the defence a not- so-merry dance.

Spurs could be thankful for the presence of mind shown by skipper Gary Mabbutt and two superb saves from Walker - especially where he recovered after being dummied by Gullit to pounce backwards and clutch the netbound chipped shot.

Darren Anderton's return to centre-stage was inevitably a tentative affair. He has an awful lot of rust to shed and it is questionable whether there is enough time before June and Euro 96. One glorious pass that opened the way to goal only for Armstrong to fluff it, however, showed why Terry Venables will be hoping the sandblasting equipment can do its stuff in double-quick time.

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