Tue, Oct 21, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Spurs get out of jail with late clincher

RED FACE Tottenham keeper Kasey Keller blundered to allow Leicester to take the lead, but Mabizela and Kanoute came in late to save the American's blushes


Tottenham Hotspur stole a barely deserved 2-1 victory at bottom club Leicester City on Sunday to continue their improved run under caretaker-manager David Pleat.

A 79th-minute goal by South African substitute Mbulelo Mabizela on his debut and a last-minute winner from Frenchman Frederic Kanoute turned the match on its head after a Kasey Keller blunder allowed Paul Dickov to give Leicester a first-half lead.

The win meant Spurs jumped to 11th in the English premier league table on 11 points, while Leicester remained a point adrift at the bottom on five points.

There were no goals in Sunday's other two games between Birmingham City and Aston Villa in the Midlands derby at St Andrews and Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park.

Birmingham's point meant they went fourth in the table on 16 points, four adrift of third-placed Chelsea who were beaten 2-1 by leaders Arsenal (23) on Saturday.

Second-placed champions Manchester United (22) won 1-0 at Leeds on Saturday.

Mabizela, signed from Orlando Pirates in the close season, had only just come on as a substitute for Spurs when he hammered a 20m shot high into the roof of the net at the Walkers Stadium.

Spurs had trailed to a 38th-minute goal by an offside-looking Dickov after their American goalkeeper Keller had embarrassingly allowed the Leicester striker's weak shot to pass through his legs.

Kanoute converted the winner after a fine shot by another Spurs substitute, Frenchman Stephane Dalmat, came back off the post but Leicester will be kicking themselves after dominating the game.

Kanoute was carried off with an ankle injury almost immediately after the goal.

Spurs have now won three games and drawn one since David Pleat took over as caretaker manager from Glenn Hoddle, who was sacked last month.

"It's fantasy land," Pleat told Sky Sports television. "I'm enjoying being the caretaker in a strange way you haven't got that pressure [of being manager]. This is a nice little Indian summer."

Chances were few and far between in a game of much endeavor but little quality at St Andrews, although both clubs will be relieved there was no repeat of the crowd disorder and red cards that blighted their two games, both won by City, last season.

Stephen Clemence went close for City early on but the home side were lucky not to have midfielder Robbie Savage sent off for a two-footed challenge in the second half.

At Goodison Park the absence of Everton striker Wayne Rooney and Southampton forward Kevin Phillips due to suspension was sorely felt.

Southampton, knocked out of the UEFA Cup in midweek, had much the greater share of possession but once again Gordon Strachan's team failed to create enough clearcut chances.

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