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BBC Five Live's Mike Sewell
With a round-up of the action
 real 14k

banner Tuesday, 31 October, 2000, 22:24 GMT
Spurs 1-3 Birmingham
Dele Adebola
Dele Adebola scored two in win against Tottenham
Dele Adebola's two first-half strikes and another by Mark Burchill knocked 1999 winners Tottenham out of the Worthington Cup.

First Division Birmingham claimed a notable third-round scalp and allowed disenchanted home fans to pour more scorn on manager George Graham and chairman Sir Alan Sugar.

Despite a spate of goals at the beginning of the campaign before he was injured, transfer-listed Adebola has since had to play largely second fiddle to top scorers Marcelo and Geoff Horsfield at St Andrews.

Incisive

But given a chance again with the two other strikers on the casualty list, he carved Spurs open with an incisive first-half display, aided and abetted by jet-paced former West Ham winger Stan Lazaridis.


I had something to say afterwards but the players knew they were not good enough. There's no doubt it was a fair result. Birmingham's tactics were ideal. They kept it nice and tight and hit us hard on the break.
  Tottenham manager George Graham
Spurs mustered a determined second-half rally after the first half was an unmitigated disaster for Spurs with German midfielder Steffen Freund having to hobble off after just eight minutes with a pulled hamstring before Nigerian hitman Adebola struck his first blow.

By then Burchill should have already put Birmingham in front, scuffing his shot into Neil Sullivan's grateful smother after being ideally set up by Lazaridis' perfect pass.

But the speedy Australian continued to wreak havoc with his speed and guile and it was his cross from the left in the 14th minute after a purposeful gallop which Ramon Vega could only head down into the path of Adebola who cracked it home.

Ian Bennett's saves from a pair of headers from Ferdinand kept City in front and they were lethal on the counter-attack against woeful defending.

Lazaridis should have made it 2-0 instead of screwing a good chance wide, but in the 27th minute Adebola sliced through on the right, cut inside and with defenders backing off, fired a beauty past helpless Sullivan.

It might have been different had not Chris Perry's header from an Anderton free-kick brushed the bar, but Tottenham's pressure was unconvincing.

Jeered

George Graham
Pressure is severe on Graham
Spurs were jeered off at the break, with boss Graham and chairman Sugar also suffering familiar abuse, and there was no respite as howls of discontent still rang at the start of the second period around a stadium that was heavily punctuated by empty seats.

Then Martin Grainger was allowed to run unchallenged into 40 yards of space down the left before firing over a superb low cross which Burchill effortlessly converted.

And Graham risked further embarrassment by switching to three-at-the-back, taking off substitute Simon Davies who had been brushed aside in the build-up to Birmingham's first goal.

With Sherwood and Anderton pushing forward to support Ferdinand and makeshift strike-partner Willem Korsten, S[purs briefly threatened a revival when and Anderton potted a 59th minute penalty.

Ferdinand should have further cut the arrears in the 73rd minute, but headed straight at Bennett from Carr's cross just eight yards out.

But the Nationwide League side still played with greater panache and variation on the counter, with Adebola leading Vega a merry dance with his elusive runs.

Birmingham now have a fourth round tie against either Bradford or Newcastle to savour.


Tottenham: Sullivan, Carr, Freund, Perry, Anderton, Sherwood, Ferdinand, Korsten, Thatcher, Clemence, Vega. Subs: Walker, Young, Doherty, Davies, Dominguez.

Birmingham: Bennett, Gill, Purse, M. Johnson, Grainger, Eaden, O'Connor, Hughes, Lazaridis, Adebola, Burchill. Subs: Poole, Robinson, Bass, Ndlovu, A. Johnson.

Referee: D Pugh.

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