Spurs Logo Tottenham Hotspur 1 - 1 Everton
Half-time: 0 - 1
Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 97/98 - Game 32
Saturday 4 April 1998
White Hart Lane, London
Att: 35,624
« Aston Villa (h) Ref: Alan Wilkie Leeds United (h) »
1997-98 Fixtures & Results League Position: 17th Premiership Results & Table
Tottenham Hotspur: Armstrong (74)
EVERTON: Madar (24) Gavin McCann
  LINEUPS Subs Not Used
Tottenham Hotspur: Walker, Fox, Nielsen, Armstrong, Carr (79 Howells), Ginola, Vega, Wilson (58 Calderwood), Campbell, Klinsmann, Berti (70 Saib). Baardsen, Clemence.
EVERTON: Myhre, Watson, Madar (79 Spencer), Barmby, Ferguson, Hutchison, Short, McCann, Ball, Dunne, O'Kane.
Unavailable: Parkinson, Grant, Branch, Phelan, Thomas, Ward, Williamson, (injured); Jeffers (recovering); Bilic, Tiler (suspended).
Gerrard, Beagrie, Farrelly, Cadamarteri.
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Tottenham Hotspur: Ginola, Armstrong, Carr.
EVERTON: Barmby, Madar, Ball, McCann, O'Kane.

Guy McEvoy Back to Earth from the Summit
Lyndon Lloyd Kendall's braves earn valuable point
Jenny Roberts We will survive

THE SUNDAY TIMES Spurs in lost chance saloon
by Joe Lovejoy
THE GUARDIAN Honours even for elite strugglers
by Amy Lawrence
THE TIMES Ginola presents dilemma for Gross
by Rob Hughes

ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Saib the inspiration as Armstrong rescues Spurs
by Patrick Barclay
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

Back to Earth from the Summit
Guy McEvoy
I surveyed White Hart Lane. My seat was in the second row from the back in the South Stand lower tier. Next to me on one side sat an old, haggard looking Evertonian (but then don't we all look old and haggard after this season).  On the other side, mystifyingly, were two empty seats. I pondered how the seats could be empty, spares had been going for £60 outside Seven Sisters tube station. Here, next to me was £120 of waste.

Spurs fans seemed in no rush to get to the game either. Whilst the visiting supporters were in good voice early on, you could still see huge areas of empty seating in the home stands. Only after 10 minutes did I believe the hype that this game was actually a sell-out. Maybe Spurs fans – even more so than us – need 'just another quick one' before they leave the pub for the ground.

Directly opposite us was the Jumbotron screen. It's much like the big screen at Arsenal except this one isn't hidden in the corner but is bolted dead center to the roof of the newly finished North Stand. The whole match is screened live on it which makes it an enormous temptation to look up and get a better view when play is at the other end (though the sudden change of angle doesn't half give you a headache). The instant replays though can be a godsend.

The big team news as far as Evertonians were concerned was the return of Ferguson. For Kendall though it wasn't just the reintroduction of the big man that mattered, it was the reintroduction of a tried and tested system. Everton reverted to three center-backs with two wing-backs – the line-up we've become quite familiar with. Farrelly, Oster and Spencer were left out of the starting line-up (Oster not even on the bench); McCann and Dunne were the two who joined Duncan in it.

First Half

Our support started in great voice. "Grand old team to play for" and "Royal Blue Jersey" both got rousing renditions. The home fans let their nerves get the better of them and hardly mustered a whisper. With the stakes high the game started off frantically. The referee wasted little time in waving about his yellow card, something he did with great frequency. The pattern of the game eventually settled down. For both teams, the forwards looked much more competent than the backs. You felt there were goals to come in this game.

With the gods on our side, it was us who broke the deadlock. Madar had just become the latest in a line of players to pick up a yellow card for a nothing offense. His crime was apparently kicking the ball away after the whistle had gone, though it looked to me like he had deliberately kicked the ball hard knowing it would bounce back the right way off the advertising hoarding. The ref didn't have such a grasp of angles. The angry Madar responded positively within a minute. Barmby thread the ball through to him, he broke the offside trap, and neatly released the ball over Walker before he could narrow the angle.

By god we enjoyed the moment! Total celebration. When the delirium died down enough a new chant was started "Oh Madar-in, oh Madar-in, oh Madar-in Mick Madar" to the tune of Oh my darlin' Clementine. We sang the team safely through to half-time though not without a last minute scare as Ginola flashed one just wide.

I was ready for my half-time break but no sooner had the players left the pitch than they put the Grand National up live on the big screen. The timing was so perfect that it was almost as if Aintree had been waiting for just for us. So instead of a much needed rest. I spent the next 10 minutes going equally nuts cheering home Earth Summit which I'd spontaneously stuck a fiver on when I passed a bookies during the walk to the ground from the tube. This was turning into a seriously good afternoon, though I think by this point my voice was spent.

Second Half

Everton made no changes during the break and we started off with confidence. The move of the game came when Ferguson received a long ball and then played a breath-taking one-two with Madar. The magic was in Madar's touch, a controlled back-heel into Ferguson's path which put him clear through on goal.

Now we all know that, for all his positive attributes, you would never back Duncan heavily in a 'clear through on goal' situation. He is just not the type of player who can cope with the luxury of time to think about his shot. However, this effort was by far the most woeful he's mustered. I cannot describe what he did. It honestly has to be seen to be believed.

After this point, you just began to sense that Everton were beginning to tire. Sure enough, it now became apparent that we were planning on sitting on the lead. Everton haven't the talent to sit on a lead, every time we try it we get punished and this was no exception.

Spurs found a string of attacks. Armstrong, Klinsmann and Ginola all looked sharp. Finally we succumbed to the barrage. Armstrong snuck a header at the back post, the Spurs fans suddenly woke up, and two points had slipped from our grasp.

Thankfully, we were able to hold on to the one point. Before the game started I guess we would all have settled for that. It was just disappointing that, having taken the game to them, we let the passion and commitment drop for the last quarter of an hour or so. On the positive side, this performance was a vast improvement over last week's debacle, the system suited us a lot better.

Ball, Short and Barmby should all take credit with solid performances. It's usually a case of Ferguson coming into his own in the presence of Madar but this time I felt it was more the other way round. The Frenchman for all his apparent disinterest and gallic whinging was crucial to the result. This is a forward partnership that works.

So neither team took the opportunity to pull away from the pack. More finger-nail chewing for both teams ahead. I wish I won forty quid at half-time of every game I went to!

Individual Performances

  • Myhre 7 - Fine. Handled most high balls well, did the business in other areas. One great moment of long distribution when he threw to Barmby to launch an attack. More please, Tommy.
  • Ball 8 - Fantastic. Always a cool head. Much better suited as a wing-back rather than the orthodox left-back he was stuck as last week.
  • Watson 7 - Still defying his years.
  • Short 8 - Whenever spurs did look to have breached the defense Craig somehow managed to come from apparently nowhere and squeeze himself goal-side to block it. Another good game.
  • Dunne 7 - Fine. Had a lot to deal with in Armstrong but looks to have regained his confidence. One to watch out for.
  • O'Kane 7 - By far his best game for us yet, though he's clearly only a squad player. We can definitely do better.
  • McCann 7 - Did his job. Didn't impose himself on the game in the way I would have liked, but all his involvement was competent. His steel in this situation is more valuable than Oster's flair. Good choice by Kendall.
  • Hutchinson 7 - On reflection, Is Kendall's buying policy really that bad? Don along with Tiler, Myhre and Madar have all proved valuable acquisitions.
  • Barmby 7 - (just short of an 8) Thoroughly enjoyed his return to White Hart Lane. Busy right from kick-off.
  • Madar 8 - Looks SO Lazy when he's playing! Nevertheless, I'm sure he'd claim he conserves his energy for when he can make a meaningful contribution and, on this showing, I'd have to say fair play to him. Good goal, numerous good touches, stupid haircut.
  • Ferguson 7 - Miss of the year. That aside, lots of running, lots of heart and most importantly his very presence seemed to lift us.
  • Spencer 7 - Didn't really have time to make much of an impression.

Kendall's braves earn valuable point
Lyndon Lloyd
Everton's fighting spirit, so conspicuous by its absence last weekend against Aston Villa, returned in abundance as Howard Kendall's men came within 16 minutes of stealing the show at White Hart Lane. Bolstered by the determination of Duncan Ferguson, who admirably played the full 90 minutes, the Blues more than matched Spurs' sprinkling of flair and both manager and supporters alike can have no complaints about the attitude of the team in an absolutely vital relegation match-up.

The sight of Ferguson sporting the captain's armband at kick off instilled hope in the vast Blue army that dominated the South Stand and prompted chants of "Duncan, Duncan Ferguson" as the game got underway. Everton lined up with Myhre in goal behind a back five of O'Kane, Watson, Dunne, Short – somewhat surprisingly given that he was rumoured to have suffered a long-term injury last weekend – and Ball. Gavin McCann partnered Barmby and Hutchison in midfield with Ferguson and Madar leading the line up front.

First Half

Tottenham were playing on the back of a 3-0 win at Crystal Palace the week before but it was Everton who looked the more confident outfit throughout the first half. Tough tackling by Hutchison and McCann in midfield and a steely determination in defence provided a firm foundation for a pleasing first 45 minutes.

Madar had the first real opportunity of the match but it was wasted as he chose to crouch and nod the ball on for Ferguson when he time to control and shoot instead. Dave Watson then sliced a golden opportunity just 8 yards out after a Barmby corner. Barmby himself was denied by Campbell after Madar had looped a header dangerously across goal; the Spurs defender blocking Barmby's shot.

In the 24th minute, though, the deadlock was broken. Tottenham lost the ball in midfield and Barmby immediately sent a deft through-ball for Madar who sprinted clear and smashed the ball past Walker. Cue pure, unbridled celebration at the other end where shocked Evertonians could not control their elation. It was ample reward for an impressive spell from the Blues and the silence from the rest of Tottenham's impressively refurbished stadium was all the more amusing.

The goal did prompt Spurs to step up their endeavours. Campbell headed a yard wide from a corner and Ginola, who saw plenty of the ball throughout – and who was booked for diving at one point – lashed a 20 yard shot inches wide of Myhre's left hand post. Despite Spurs' increased tempo, the score was 1-0 to Everton at half-time.

Second Half

The beginning of the second half saw no changes in personnel on either side, despite the fatigue shown by Ferguson towards the end of the first period. Evidence that the big man was not completely on top of his game, though, came three minutes into the half when he sprinted down the left before chipping a neat ball to Madar before slicing a woeful right-footed shot from the Frenchman's lay off well wide of the goal. It could, and perhaps should, have been 2-0.

Tottenham, meanwhile, resumed their attacking efforts and Klinsmann had their first chance of the half when he headed a yard over from Carr's inswinging cross. The German then had half the ground in rapture when he crashed a header within a hair-s breadth of the post, the ball ricocheting off the advertising hoarding into the rear side of the net which fooled 15,000 Spurs fans into thinking they had equalised.

Everton kept causing problems, though. Myhre's quick thinking and 50-yard over-arm throw released Barmby who raced clear but was foiled as he tried to cut across the Spurs defence and the chance was lost. Clive Wilson fell awkwardly during the move and was replaced by Colin Calderwood for the home side. Ferguson was then sent clear by a superb ball from the dynamic Hutchison but was forced wide by the defence and his thumping left footer had lost too much pace by the time it had reached the feet of Walker.

Tottenham's pressure eventually told, though, in the 74th minute. Moussa Saib, who had come on for Carr just a few minutes previously, clipped a delightful ball into the heart of the Blues' defence which Ramon Vega flicked on towards the advancing Armstrong who buried the header past Myhre from 3 yards. There was more than a hint of off-side, as Match of the Day cameras proved later that night, but Everton had paid for defending their slender lead so frustratingly deep.

Both sides pressed for victory. Spencer came on for Madar who looked disappointed at being substituted but the last significant chance of the match fell to Michael Ball who displayed wonderful skill on the edge of the Spurs area before jinking left and cutting an awkward shot across Walker's goal which the Tottenham keeper saved. The full-time whistle blew and both sides had to be content with a point. Results from elsewhere improved the mood of optimism as Barnsley lost at Leeds (and had another man sent off which will translate into yet more suspensions), and Wimbledon and Bolton fought out a goalless draw at Selhurst Park.

If Everton show this much spirit and enterprise in their remaining six matches, they should be able to pull well clear of relegation danger. Today proved that there is no need for the type of capitulation witnessed at Goodison last weekend against Villa. There is more than enough talent and ability in the players we have and we have an excellent youth system to thank for the likes of Ball, Dunne and McCann, without whom today might have yielded a different story. It also proved, though, just how vital Duncan Ferguson is to the side. If he has sustained long-term damage to his knee, then Everton have got to start learning how to survive without him.

Individual Performances

  • Myhre 7  Can't be blamed for the goal. He wasn't really called upon to make any spectacular saves; he was solid and reliable. His excellent throw to release Barmby early in the 2nd half was easily his most memorable contribution to the game.
  • O'Kane 6  Growing in confidence all the time but offensively he still lacks that extra something to make him a successful wingback. That might come but he is looking like a highly competent right back in terms of his defensive abilities.
  • Watson 7  In the right place at the right time on many occasions forming a solid back line with Short and Dunne that was breached just once by a moment of inspiration from Saib.
  • Short 8  Still looking like a prime candidate for player of the season. Solid and industrious, he made some great tackles and was on hand to deal with the threat posed by Klinsmann and Armstrong in the air.
  • Dunne 8  Was called upon in similar circumstances for the Tottenham game at Goodison a year ago and he was superb again today.
  • Ball 7  Another good game, both defensively and offensively. Still showing maturity far beyond his years.
  • Hutchison 7   Played the role of "dog of war" and midfield playmaker in equal measure. With every game, he is proving wrong those who decried his arrival from 1st Division  Sheffield United.
  • McCann 7  A very solid game from another Everton youngster with a very bright future. On this evidence he could force both Farrelly and Williamson out of the reckoning in the near future.
  • Barmby 8  A live-wire as usual. Great through-ball for Mick's goal and unlucky not score himself on a couple of occasions. Perhaps the enormity of the occasion distracted the Spurs fans from booing him too much.
  • Madar 7  Three goals in three games which you can't really argue with and he again played well alongside Duncan.
  • Ferguson 8   He looked short on match fitness but hardly looked like a player whose season is about to be ended by injury. Dunc was a tower of strength today and I think we can forgive him for that awful miss due to his efforts in defence and attack.
  • Spencer 6  Wasn't really on long enough to do anything substantial.

Team 8  A determined and courageous performance. Although the Spurs camp say they deserved to win, Everton will feel more aggrieved at the result because we could have won this game. We have a tendency to sit too deep when we're defending slender leads and we paid for it again today. Still, there's ample evidence that we have the ability to again survive relegation.

We will survive
Jenny Roberts
After successfully resisting the temptation to bash my head against a brick wall, having seen the Spurs squad for the match, I was a little less than optimistic. Even though Duncan was back, he had not played since the Derby in February. Kendall had assured us that the players "would be lifted", and lifted they certainly were. Putting pessimistic Evertonians such as myself to shame, the Blues started explosively. Madar looked dangerous each time he got the ball, and when Don Hutchison's cross met his head, we were not far away from taking the lead.

Madar was also setting up his team-mates, and Barmby was the recipient of a superb chance. However, his right-footed shot was sadly struck over the crossbar.

Barmby's corner met none other than Dave Watson. He normally grabs one or two goals each season, and this looked like another. Unfortunately, it was directed away from the goal by a Spurs player.

Spurs looked like they thoroughly deserved their meagre, unsatisfactory position down at the bottom of the league. So much so that they require a little assistance from the ref. Chris Armstrong was constantly diving in an attempt to get Craig Short sent off. However, the referee, who was not as disappointing as recent officials, saw through the plot each time.

Michael Ball looked excellent once again, and has developed a talent for keeping the ball in when it looks certain to go out, by chipping it over his own head. By some miracle, it always seemed to land at the feet of one of his team-mates.

In the 24th minute, Nick Barmby obtained possession on the half-way line. He saw Madar begin to run, and directed the ball towards Madar's destination. The beautiful demonstration of vision was reminiscent of a move of a side challenging for league honours, and not for survival. Madar beat the offside trap, and was eventually facing Walker. Madar ignored the goalkeeper's presence, and coolly directed his shot past Walker's outstretched finger-tips.

Soon after we had taken the lead, Spurs began an attack, a rare event in the first half. O'Kane challenged Ginola, who flew past him, and ended up in his usual pose – rolling about in unrealistic "agony". The referee reached for his cards. That cheat was going to get O'Kane booked – and bookings eventually lead to suspensions, which we could currently survive without. O'Kane's crossing abilities are too valuable for us to be without. Marvellous. But then I realized. The referee was showing the yellow to Ginola! For the first time in several months, we had a referee who I actually agreed with!

O'Kane provided another of the afore-mentioned crosses which I adore. It looped into the box, causing panic amid the Spurs defence. Unfortunately, Madar was ruled offside, so even if his header had been accurate enough to find the net, it would not have counted.

Half-time came with an optimistic team leaving the field triumphantly. Several players applauded the away fans, who deserved every word of praise they were given.

Madar kept his temper admirably, despite being held and pushed throughout. He worked hard when he saw need to but had the tendency to "disappear" for a few minutes. However, he linked up superbly with Barmby and the ailing Ferguson. One such display came when Ferguson went on a run. Madar, marked closely by a Spurs defender, was passed to by the Scot. He tapped the ball back to Duncan, whose shot was appalling. Perhaps Ferguson didn't realize that he had much more time to take the shot. However, it became obvious that this was not the Ferguson that had been on fire before his suspension. He is still a long way from full fitness, and he seemed to lose his usual precision.

Thomas Myhre looked inspirational at the back, and it never seemed as though Spurs would score. He made Klinsmann look ordinary, and Ginola posed no threat. After snatching possession away from the Spurs side once again, Myhre threw the ball out with an amazing amount of power. It bounded towards the half-way line, and crossed it, where it was picked up by the goal-bound Barmby. He continued until he reached the penalty area, where he collided with Walker and another Spurs defender. The ball was spilled by the goalkeeper, and Ferguson was ironically close to reaching it. I feel that if he had been fully fit that it would have inevitably been 2-0. However, there is no use in commenting about what might have happened and what could have been prevented. We must make the possibilities happen, and we must prevent the concession of goals.

Despite a lot of Spurs pressure during the second half, they never seemed capable of scoring two goals past Myhre. He constantly averted disaster, and had another been in goal, then perhaps the result would have been a little closer to the pundits' predictions of 3-0 or 3-1 to Spurs!

Don Hutchison provided the attack with a few chances, the most memorable of which went to Ferguson. The shot was easily saved by Walker, but at least our captain had improved on that garish miss. John O'Kane also looked impressive on the right side.

Richard Dunne and Gavin McCann coped with the likes of Ginola superbly. Dunne looks like he has generally improved his overall fitness, which has helped his pace immensely.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that Spurs were incapable of scoring two past Myhre did not mean that they could not score one. We had not capitalized on our chances, and so when Spurs bombarded the defence late on, they were fighting for a point. The game should have been put beyond them by half-time. Saib crossed to Vega, who headed across the goal to Armstrong. Despite the presence of Watson and Myhre, he still scored. Fortunately, I watched Leeds on Match of the Day, and it was obvious to me that they lack a man at the far post. We will not concede another like Armstrong's next Saturday (unless, of course, the lack of a far post man was obvious to the rest of the Leeds team too).

In the dying embers of the fiery game, O'Kane took a throw-in. McCann set up Michael Ball, who turned and shot with about five Spurs shirts surrounding him. Unfortunately, the shot, which seemed destined for the back of the net, was saved by Walker. This move, which involved two of the youngest on the pitch, was the last action of the game.

I sincerely hope that we will not look back at this game, considering it as two points thrown away. There had been no question of an Everton victory before kick-off – Spurs had 23 fit players. We had the usual casualties and suspensions. The players deserve so much praise for this one little point. We fielded such an under-strength team that I hoped we could keep the score down. Suddenly, at 3.24 p.m. we were faced with the prospect of victory.

This game will not be remembered – we didn't win – but the Blues played well away from home. We made Spurs look like the relegation side. Certainly, they should never have clawed back that equalizer. But the Blues really achieved something. We have proved that it is us with the fighting spirit, us with the grit and determination. It is us who will survive.

Spurs in lost chance saloon
by Joe Lovejoy, The Sunday Times
TOO good to go down? You pay your fortune and take your chance. The best qualities of these two teams would put the title, rather than relegation, on the agenda, but Tottenham lack the rugged, never-say-die resilience of Everton who, in turn, can only envy Spurs' resourcefulness on the ball, and their respective inadequacies leave them dependent on the shortcomings of others for survival.

Remarkably open for relegation warfare, it was good, gripping stuff, easier on the eye than it was for the nerves of the partisan. The result was the one neither side really wanted, but both manager's perked up with the news of Barnsley's 2-1 defeat at Leeds, and Wimbledon drawing with Bolton spread the smiles a little wider.

Spurs have won back-to-back matches only once all season, and continued repetition of this failure to translate a welter of second-half possession into goals could be ruinous come the final reckoning. For all that, they have lost only one of their past five games, and a return of five points from the last three suggests that they are on the mend at the right time. As for Everton, four of their last six fixtures are at home. It should be enough.

Tottenham played the better football and dominated the second half, but they took an eternity to equalise the goal with which Mickael Madar rewarded Everton for a purple patch, after 24 minutes.

The introduction of Moussa Saib from the bench worked the oracle. The Algerian was a livewire from the moment he bounced on, his clever pass enabling Chris Armstrong to supply the late equaliser Spurs' fightback merited. Everton, inspired by Duncan Ferguson, the captain they call "Braveheart", defended heroically, but ultimately paid the price for trying to sit on the most precarious of leads.

Howard Kendall, their manager, said: "I stressed to the players at half-time that if we tried to hang on at 1-0 we would find ourselves in trouble. All credit to Tottenham, though. They produced quality from the wide positions when it mattered." Kendall, however, was encouraged by his team's appetite for the fray. When they were up against it, they showed a steely determination which will serve them well come the denouement.

Tottenham's dissatisfaction with the result was compounded by the loss of their left-back, Clive Wilson, who was taken to hospital with a shoulder injury that is expected to keep him out for three weeks.

Kendall had seen ominous signs in last week's 4-1 home defeat by Aston Villa of players "dropping their heads" and "running up the white flag", but there was none of that. A forthright pre-match reminder of their responsibilities had them in combative, sleeves-rolled-up mood.

Ferguson, a lion throughout, personified their attitude. After a six-week absence, he returned still hampered by a troublesome knee, but you would not have known it. A towering performance, as auxiliary defender as much as attacking totem, exemplified the character that gets teams out of trouble.

Kendall said: "In terms of setting an example with the captain's armband, he was tremendous." Scotland's loss, indeed, after his premature international retirement.

The pre-match talk had been all about David Ginola, recalled after suspension at the expense of Saib. Nobody had more incentive than Ginola, who was told at the start of the week that the door to the French team, and the World Cup, was still ajar. He did not exactly kick it open, his performance the usual curate's egg; genius and dilettante, wholly neither.

Spurs made the more promising start, Ginola pulling wide from his starting position, just behind the two strikers, to try his luck on the right, where Everton had an 18-year-old novice, Richard Dunne, standing in, in the absence of Slaven Bilic and Carl Tiler, who were suspended. Inexperienced or not, Dunne acquitted himself with distinction, as did Gavin McCann, a lanky 20-year-old making his debut in midfield.

After an opening 15 minutes in which Tottenham were more creative, Everton carved out the first real chance, when Ramon Vega, under challenge by Madar, could only divert the ball to Ferguson, whose tame shot will have disappointed him, as they say on television. Nicky Barmby, full of running back at his alma mater, and Dave Watson demanded saves of greater difficulty, and for Spurs the writing was on the wall.

It said 1-0 when Barmby's nudge through caught the defence hopelessly square and Madar ran on unattended to score his third goal in as many games. It needed Stephen Carr's timely intervention to parry another thrust from "Braveheart", who then rattled Ian Walker with a typically robust shoulder charge. The home fans fell into an apprehensive silence. Everton were impressively resilient when the pressure was on, and Short and Dunne dispossessed Armstrong and Ginola respectively on the edge of the penalty area.

Ginola threatened an equaliser just before half-time, but his right-foot curler, from 20 yards, was tantalisingly wide.

The second half belonged to Spurs, although Ferguson started it by exchanging passes with Madar before shooting negligently over, and Barmby rounded Wilson at pace and cut into the goalmouth, only to be thwarted by Walker's well-timed, and brave, advance to save at his feet.

Jürgen Klinsmann should have restored parity after 58 minutes, but the flashing header with which he met Carr's cross flew wastefully wide. Christian Gross leapt from the bench and held his head in his hands in disbelief. He was not alone.

Gross sent on Saib in place of Nicola Berti, who had been tamely ineffective, and the substitute might have created the equaliser at once. His cross from the right was met with a spectacular bicycle-kick volley by Klinsmann, whose dexterity deserved a goal. Watson disagreed, of course, and prevented it with a heroic block.

It was Saib, however, who brought Spurs tangible reward for their second-half superiority when his pass enabled Vega to supply Armstrong for a routine header from three yards.

Armstrong was close to producing the winner with seven minutes left, but a volley every inch as acrobatic as Klinsmann's, executed with back to goal, flew over. Everton's thin blue line held – just. John Spencer, with a deflected shot which demanded Walker's leaping intervention, might even have won it for them at the death, but that would have been hard on Tottenham, who had the bulk of the possession.

Gross thought they deserved to win, and said they would have done so had Klinsmann had better luck with his finishing, but then that would have been tough on Everton. Justice was done.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Honours even for elite strugglers
by Amy Lawrence, The Guardian
Massive game, massive crowd, massive clubs. It almost beggared belief that Tottenham and Everton, once proud members of the big five, were colliding in this most meaningful of relegation scraps. Three points would have offered breathing space for the winning side, but a draw means that both will be gasping a while longer.

The commitment was total and every challenge was made with no holding back whatsoever. For a game of such immense importance, it was all hands to the pump. Tottenham welcomed back influential personnel, with Ginola and Nielsen restored after suspension and illness respectively. And with Armstrong playing his third game since October, Christian Gross fielded as strong an 11 as he has managed.

It was some baptism of fire for the Goodison youngsters McCann and Dunne - the latter had turned out for the youth team in midweek - but the experienced heads nursed them through. None led more impressively than Everton's captain and talisman Ferguson, who shrugged off the effects of knee ligament damage to inspire with every inch of his imposing frame.

The feisty Scot was in one of his defiant, belligerent, menacing moods, and his towering presence upset Tottenham in both penalty boxes. It was almost impossible to keep up with him, at one moment he was deep in his area nodding danger away, the next he was prowling around in attack, a predator in waiting.

The flow of the game swung from desperate end to desperate end and for a basement battle it was surprisingly and exhilaratingly open. It would have been understandable if both teams had played for a point, but victory appeared paramount to both and so they went for all-out attack.

Everton fashioned the clearer chances, partly because the rear-guard protecting Walker's goal was far more fragile than the massed dogs of war who bit and nudged and scratched anyone in a white shirt entering Myhre's territory. But Campbell managed to get ahead of them to send a glancing header the wrong side of an upright and he banged his fists against his legs in frustration.

When Armstrong, accelerating on to Ginola's deft pass, collapsed in the box with Short in close attendance, the Everton defender leapt up furiously as the crowd bayed for a rather hopeful penalty. The vital need for three points escaped nobody inside an intensely warm White Hart Lane.

Everton drew first blood. After 23 minutes, Barmby, the former Spurs midfielder who was booed throughout, showed one of the touches which were once cherished in these parts. The defence was bisected, and Madar was freed. The Frenchman cantered clear into a private duel with Walker in the Tottenham goal, and dispatched the coolest of chips round the keeper with admirable swagger.

The other pony-tailed Frenchman on the pitch, Ginola, seemed the most likely to offer Tottenham a lifeline. Twice he unleashed that speciality low, curling drive which has been so fruitful this season, but one took a ricochet and the other inched fractionally wide.

After the interval, Everton might have doubled the lead through Ferguson, who shot wildly and wastefully, and Barmby, whose advances were smothered by Walker. A two-goal deficit might have broken Tottenham, but instead they sensed the opportunity to assert themselves.

They began to force increasing periods of pressure but the end product was perplexingly elusive. Klinsmann steered a header on to the pole which supports the goal nets, and half the stadium whooped, fooled as it bounced behind the goal like some sort of cruel visual trick. Then the German's vicious volley from Saib's cross was blocked by Watson. Moments after Fox's drive was deflected. The tide, it seemed, was turning.

With 15 minutes to go, deservedly, it had. Saib chipped a delightful ball towards Vega, who twisted in mid-air to nudge the ball across the goalmouth for Armstrong to steer a header past Myhre. Everton's resilience had finally cracked and the men in white were jubilant.

Report © The Guardian

Ginola presents dilemma for Gross
by Rob Hughes, The Times
WHEN clubs are in trouble – even mighty clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur and Everton – the onus is on every man to do his duty. It is a team game and yet FA Carling Premiership salvation for these two clubs rests around two pivotal characters. For Everton, even though they now have four home games and only two away, it is essential that Duncan Ferguson is on the field for every moment that his frayed left knee will tolerate. For Tottenham, it is all about David Ginola; not concerning his fitness, but the ego of the man.

Christian Gross, the head coach of Tottenham, did not duck the issue after the fraught draw at White Hart Lane on Saturday. He felt that things had improved after Moussa Saib, the Algerian, came on as a substitute, releasing the ball with better vision and less selfishness. "Saib is an excellent player," Gross said. "It could be that he will start against Chelsea on Saturday."

Although there are feelings at White Hart Lane that both playmakers cannot be in the same side, this may not need to be a straight choice. Saib can orchestrate the central midfield; Ginola can dance to his heart's content on the wings.

As Jürgen Klinsmann, the forward, had tried to argue, Tottenham needed to sacrifice a little, to deliver, to boss the ball so that the finishers could express their art. Of course, Ginola, with all his advertising potential, wants to be his own man; he can be, but to the betterment of Tottenham. In a language North London may struggle to comprehend, it is time for Gross to dictate to his players how they are going to get out of this mess.

And in a language some at Everton barely understand, Ferguson's presence, and his voice, appear to be essential to his side's survival campaign. Howard Kendall, the manager, appearing calm after a season of adversity in which he has used 34 players so far, said: "When I first came back to the club, I was a little concerned about Duncan. I felt he could work hard for the team, but giving him the captaincy has given us such a lot. Nobody can hear what I am saying in the dressing room when Fergie is screaming and shouting. I like that, I hope we can get him through to May 11 and then get his knee problem sorted."

Pinning Everton's immediate future on something so tenuous as a damaged medial ligament can seem extreme. However, on Saturday, Ferguson, who had not seen action for six weeks through suspension and then the training-ground injury, was the leader on the field. Four times when the early pressure was on, he lent his head to a defence well marshalled by Watson, the veteran, and featuring two very keen, gifted teenagers in Richard Dunn and Michael Ball.

And if Ferguson was here, there, everywhere, imagine the load imposed on Mikael Madar, the Frenchman left to soldier alone in attack. He has speed, he has a sixth sense of where to go and, in the 23rd minute, he exploited a terribly flat Tottenham defence.

Sol Campbell gave the ball away to Nick Barmby, the former Tottenham youngster, in the centre circle. Barmby sprang Tottenham's woeful attempts to catch Madar offside; Ramon Vega appealed to the referee, rather than denying Madar room, and the illusive forward drew Walker, the goalkeeper, and expertly converted his chance.

Ferguson wasted a second opportunity when, admittedly, he had run into fatigue. Tottenham, who were to lose both full backs, Stephen Carr and Clive Wilson (the latter for three weeks after dislocating a shoulder), during the second half, gained a reprieve in the 74th minute. Saib had already threatened to create a goal with his first touch as a substitute, but Klinsmann, with an excellent bicycle-kick, was thwarted by Short. This time, Saib's perceptive through-ball was met by Vega's back header into the goalmouth, where Armstrong, using his pace and arguably half a yard offside behind Short, stooped to head the equaliser from three yards.

Gross said that Klinsmann had not had his best day and he knew it. But relegation fear, when it seeps into a club so grand that, on Saturday, it opened its new North Stand, expanding the capacity to 36,000, is a corrosive element.

Tottenham have the talent; we must see whether they have the will. Gross will watch two reserve games this week before deciding whether Darren Anderton and Les Ferdinand are ready for a return. "They must be fit, absolutely fit, because you need fit men for a Premiership battle prepared to fight until the last seconds," he said.

There was the difference. Everton gambled on Ferguson, who was nothing like match-fit, and achieved the aim. The team were fuelled by his desire. Tottenham seem to be waiting for perfection, for wholeness in body and mind of a collection of players who have not proved either point for too long.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Saib the inspiration as Armstrong rescues Spurs
Patrick Barclay, Electronic Telegraph
TOTTENHAM, having trailed for 50 minutes, eased growing fears of relegation by finally breaking down an Everton defence of the utmost obduracy.

Chris Armstrong brought the Londoners level, but they owed a lot to Moussa Saib, who had been on the field only four minutes, and Ramon Vega. Saib chipped forward, Vega headed on and Armstrong nodded between Thomas Myhre and the near post to cause an explosion of relief.

Everton deserved the point for which they probably would have settled before the match. After Mickael Madar had put them in front, Howard Kendall's team protected their goal splendidly with the veteran Dave Watson always to the fore.

Everton had come in search of reassurance after last week's defeat, their heaviest of the season, at the hands of Aston Villa. These are strange times for the club. Attendances at Goodison Park lately have been averaging 36,000 – as many as during their championship triumphs of the mid-Eighties – and yet the fans have looked in vain for a team in keeping.

The reason for the customers' faith and optimism can only be presumed to lie in Everton's creditable endeavours to rectify a persistent shortcoming: they are bringing young players through in quantity at last. Michael Ball, Richard Dunne, Gavin McCann, on his debut, and the talented recruit from Manchester United, John O'Kane, began this match. But Kendall also needed his experienced men to stand up and be counted here and hence Duncan Ferguson was pressed into action despite worries about the knee ligament injury from which he has been suffering.

Two of Kendall's signings combined to give Everton the lead midway through the first half, Don Hutchinson putting Madar through for his fifth goal since joining the club from Deportivo La Coruña. This rewarded their spirited response to adversity, even though Nicky Barmby in particular was excessively physical on his first appearance at White Hart Lane in an opposition shirt; tackles that obliged Vega and Nicola Berti to take evasive action were hair-raising.

From the Tottenham point of view, there has been pre-match interest in where David Ginola would play on his return from suspension. Jürgen Klinsmann irked the manager, Christian Gross, by going public with his opinion that the Frenchman should operate on a flank, in other words serve Klinsmann with crosses rather than weave his magical patterns immediately behind the front men.

As at Crystal Palace last weekend, where Spurs' victory was quite impressive even allowing for the poor quality of the opposition, the newcomer, Saib, occupied the left flank and was outstanding. It was the Algerian, however, who made way for Allan Nielsen, back in the side after 'flu, and Ginola took the role of Gross's choice.

The least nervous-looking player in a windy stadium, he roamed, inviting fouls in his usual manner, and soon made an opening for Armstrong, who fell in the penalty area under challenge from Craig Short without convincing the referee. Ginola then had a shot deflected wide before being clattered in the air by Barmby, who was cautioned.

It was a mistake by Sol Campbell that gifted Everton the lead. The England centre-back mis-hit a pass, which Hutchinson collected and sent Madar through to clip impressively over Ian Walker into the net.

The rest of the first half saw Spurs in territorial control but without causing serious damage, while the second period see-sawed until Armstrong finally headed the equaliser.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

RESULTS  (Game 32)
Wednesday 8 April 1998
Leeds United
Hasselbaink (7, 47) Wetherall (22)
3 - 1 Chelsea
Charvet (11)
Monday 6 April 1998
Blackburn Rovers
Sutton (pen:32)
1 - 3 Manchester United
Cole (56) Scholes (73) Beckham (90)
Sunday 5 April 1998
Derby County
0 - 1 Chelsea
Hughes (37)
Saturday 4 April 1998
Aston Villa
Joachim (77) Milosevic (83)
2 - 0 West Ham United
Leeds United
Hasselbaink (20) Moses (og 80)
2 - 1 Barnsley
Hristov (44)
Leicester City
Wilson (78)
1 - 1 Coventry City
Whelan (80)
Sheffield Wednesday
Carbone (78)
1 - 0 Southampton
Tottenham Hotspur
Armstrong (74)
1 - 1 Everton
Madar (24)
0 - 0 Bolton Wanderers

LEAGUE TABLE (after 8 April 1998 )
Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Manchester United            33   20    6    7   63   24   39   66
Arsenal                      30   17    9    4   49   26   23   60
Liverpool                    31   15    9    7   54   34   20   54
Leeds United                 33   16    6   11   50   35   15   54
Chelsea                      32   16    3   13   61   38   23   51
Blackburn Rovers             31   14    9    8   52   42   10   51 <Safe
West Ham United              31   14    5   12   44   40    4   47 
Derby County                 31   13    6   12   44   41    3   45
Aston Villa                  33   13    6   14   40   42   -2   45
Coventry City                31   11   11    9   37   36    1   44
Southampton                  32   13    4   15   41   44   -3   43
Leicester City               31   10   11   10   36   33    3   41
Sheffield Wednesday          32   11    7   14   46   58  -12   40
Wimbledon                    31    9   10   12   30   34   -4   37
Newcastle United             31    9    9   13   28   35   -7   36
Tottenham Hotspur            32    9    8   15   33   49  -16   35
Everton                      32    8   10   14   36   47  -11   34
Bolton Wanderers             32    6   13   13   29   48  -19   31
Barnsley                     32    9    4   19   33   73  -40   31
Crystal Palace               31    6    8   17   27   54  -27   26
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© Michael Kenrick 1998
Last updated: 8 Apr 98