Woan thinking of Europe

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The Independent Online
Nottingham Forest 2

Stone 40, Woan 62

Tottenham Hotspur 1

Armstrong 80

Attendance: 27,053

IAN WOAN, dropped from a Forest side that performed dismally in defeat at Wimbledon last week, kept alive Frank Clark's slim hopes of another tilt at the Uefa Cup with a spectacular second-half goal here, raising his personal tally to three goals in four matches against Tottenham this season.

In doing so, he dealt a serious blow to the London side's own European ambitions. Having lost to them in the FA Cup in a penalty shoot-out, Tottenham will not regard Forest as their favourite opponents, but they can blame nobody but themselves for failing to gain a reward yesterday. Sweetly struck though Woan's goal was, with his less effective right foot, culpability was unavoidably directed at the Tottenham defence, who paid dearly for their doziness at the critical moment.

They shot themselves in the foot, really, having looked the better side until Steve Stone gave Forest the lead, against the run of play, at the close of the first half, forcing home Stuart Pearce's cross at close range after the Forest captain had embarrassed Dean Austin on the left flank.

Until then Forest had again looked a team lacking bite. They were without Kevin Campbell and Andrea Silenzi, both injured, and lost Bryan Roy to a pulled hamstring at half-time. However, given that this expensive trio have managed a mere 17 goals between them this season, Forest had more cause to regret another reminder of the error made when Brian Clough sold Teddy Sheringham to Tottenham in 1992.

Sheringham twice went close to scoring on his old patch before half-time, although Chris Armstrong, thwarted by Mark Crossley's double save, had Tottenham's clearest chance. Forest had looked nothing like as threatening.

But Stone's goal, combined with the fresh impetus provided when Alf-Inge Haaland replaced Roy, restored Forest's confidence and punished Tottenham's failure to make their earlier dominance count. Even so, Woan, scorer of two stunning free-kicks against Tottenham in the FA Cup, should not have been granted the space to launch the curling strike that put Forest in control after 18 minutes of the second half.

Armstrong's late header from Sheringham's cross raised the possibility that Tottenham would salvage a point, but Forest, having shaken off their initial lethargy, merited the victory in the end.

Gerry Francis, a manager already facing a lengthy injury list, went away rueing two more casualties, with Andy Sinton and David Howells almost certainly ruled out for the remainder of the holiday period.