Spurs march on

Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Sheringham 3) Queen's Park Rangers 0 Attendanc e: 28,851
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The Independent Online
THE name Jurgen may still not be too popular in certain areas of White Hart Lane, but Queen's Park Rangers' American goalkeeper Jurgen Sommer did his best to rehabilitate it yesterday, gifting Spurs the winner after three minutes. "It was another abysmal goal to give away," QPR's manager, Ray Wilkins, said of the poor defending that allowed Teddy Sheringham to pounce after Ronny Rosenthal's shot from Ruel Fox's cross had caught Sommer in hibernation.

The goalkeeper almost repeated the generosity early in the second half, flapping down Sol Campbell's cross, leaving Chris Armstrong an open goal which the striker should have found.

It would be unfair to heap all the blame on the keeper. While Trevor Sinclair and Mark Hateley worked hard to get QPR back into the game, their lightweight midfield could never break Spurs' well-balanced covering, and Andrew Impey and Kevin Gallen were virtually invisible. QPR are without a win in nine matches and badly need a confidence boost if they are to pull away from the relegation zone.

In contrast, the rise of Tottenham continues - most satisfyingly in terms of being level on points with Arsenal - and they seem to have all that QPR might envy. A relatively settled team, massive reservoirs of confidence and a consistent match winner in Sheringham. It was his own flick that set up the move for his goal and he was inventive and purposeful throughout, which is good news for England, although not on Tuesday if his back is playing up. But perhaps the best contribution to Spurs yesterday came from David Howells, who controlled midfield, linked with the attack, passed brilliantly from deep, and tackled like a demon - one fair but juddering effort threatened to turn Sinclair into a Damien Hirst exhibit.

Apart from these cameos, the match offered much typical London derby tedium. QPR enjoyed decent possession in the first half but none of the dozen or so balls Hateley won in the air came to anything. The main narrative of the second half was whether or not Spurs could kill QPR off - Rosenthal's free-kick hit the bar, and Sheringham headed wide from the Israeli's cross. But with Hateley and Sinclair slicing half-chances wide, Spurs' anxiety was kept to a minimum. Only the Tannoy's premature playing of the club's pub-song anthem looked like tempting fate, but in reality it was all over before the fat boys sang.

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