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Sunday, August 22, 1999 Published at 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK

Spurs take over at the top

Tottenham's Les Ferdinand manages a shot under pressure from Des Walker

Sheff Wed 1-2 Tottenham

Tottenham surged to the top of the Premiership table with an impressive away victory at Hillsborough.

The BBC's Ian Brown: "It's three wins in a row"
Sharp first-half strikes from Les Ferdinand and Oyvind Leonhardsen proved enough to give the north London team their third win in a row.

Benito Carbone scored from the spot for Wednesday - but the goal could not disguise a poor display from the home side, who are now rooted to the foot of the early-season standings.

Spurs produced more of the flowing football that had brought them two victories - and six goals - from their previous two matches.

England's Darren Anderton, revelling in his new central midfield role, directed proceedings, ably supported by Leonhardsen and Tim Sherwood.

Ferdinand was a major presence up front, as George Graham's attack-minded side belied their manager's reputation for dour football.

But Wednesday, with just one point from four games, lacked any real creative spark and continue to look like a team who will struggle this season.

Late withdrawal

Tottenham, already without injured skipper Sol Campbell, suffered another defensive blow just before kick-off. Campbell's deputy John Scales injured himself in the warm-up and had to be replaced by Luke Young in the starting line-up, with Ledley King promoted to the bench.

[ image: Ferdinand is congratulated by Iversen after scoring with a superb header]
Ferdinand is congratulated by Iversen after scoring with a superb header
Wednesday, with Ian Nolan back in action after breaking a leg against Spurs 18 months ago, began brightly enough.

Spurs took the lead after 19 minutes - courtesy of a piece of vintage Ferdinand.

A cute back-heel from David Ginola sent Mauricio Tarrico clear on the left flank and the Argentinian sent over a hanging cross to the far post, where former England centre-forward Ferdinand rose to power a header into the opposite corner of Kevin Pressman's goal.

But Wednesday proved they are made of resolute stuff - and their dominant reply soon bore fruit with a 23rd minute equaliser.

Gilles De Bilde, surging into the Spurs box, collapsed after Young clipped his heels, the referee pointed to the spot and Carbone stepped up to steer the penalty to the right of Ian Walker.

It was the third penalty Spurs had conceded in the space of eight days.

Oyvind on target

The equaliser merely served to revive Tottenham's attacking instincts, as Steffen Iversen shot straight at Pressman and Anderton lashed a 20-yard effort just wide.

Spurs then had strong claims for a penalty waved away when Ferdinand went down under Pressman's challenge.

But their dismay did not last long, as Leonhardsen immediately put the visitors back in front.

Cutting in from the right, the former Liverpool midfielder lashed a powerful shot into the far corner.

Visitors on top

Tottenham, with Anderton to the fore, continued to dominate after the break.

Ferdinand dragged an angled shot wide of the target and Chris Perry, on a rare forray forward, smacked a volley just over the bar.

Wednesday still had their moments, though, and Sherwood showed his importance to Tottenham as a box-to-box midfielder when he headed substitute Andy Booth's header off the line.

Booth's aerial power offered the Owls a chance of resurrection and from the subsequent corner he flicked a header just wide.

With Spurs becoming increasingly nervy as the final whistle approached, Nolan fluffed a glorious chance to claim a point.

But the last word rested with Tottenham, and Iversen almost made it three goals with an impudent lob that spun the wrong side of the post.


Sheff Wed: Pressman, Atherton, Thome, Walker, Nolan, Alexandersson, Haslam, Jonk, Rudi, Carbone, De Bilde. Subs: Srnicek, Booth, Scott, Donnelly, Newsome.

Tottenham: Walker, Carr, Perry, Young, Taricco, Leonhardsen, Sherwood, Anderton, Ginola, Iversen, Ferdinand. Subs: Baardsen, Freund, Fox, Dominguez, King.

Referee: A D'urso (Billericay)

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