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Trips to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge rarely offer much cheer for Tottenham - and February 1994 was a case in point. Ahead of Saturday Night Football, we revisit one of their most painful Premier League defeats on Blues turf, from 20 years ago...
By Jon Holmes - @jonboy79
Last Updated: 07/03/14 12:51pm
Nayim crosses in, Gary Lineker pounces to head home, and Tottenham win 2-1 away to Chelsea in the old First Division.
Almost a quarter of a century has elapsed since that day, and to Spurs fans it probably feels even longer.
The two capital clubs have met 56 times in league and cup in the intervening period, with the Blues winning a whopping 31 of those encounters, while 20 have been draws. Those celebrating Lineker's goal in February 1990 could not have dreamt that such slim pickings would follow for their side against the Blues.
Of those five Spurs wins, the most valuable came in the 2008 Carling Cup final at Wembley, a 2-1 victory secured by Jonathan Woodgate in extra-time. The most emphatic was a 5-1 thrashing dished out in January 2002, also in the League Cup; the semi-final second-leg setting up a Millennium Stadium showdown with Blackburn. The other three were narrow Premier League triumphs at White Hart Lane, in 2006, 2009 and 2010.
But as for successes on Chelsea territory in that time... none. For a whole generation of the Tottenham faithful, the Bridge has provided precious little satisfaction, save for the occasional battling draw. This Saturday, they will make the short trip south-west across London for the 27th time since that Lineker goal, hoping for a touch of good fortune to break the hoodoo.
One particularly crushing defeat occurred on a Sunday afternoon in late February 1994, when - for either club - title or top-four ambitions were far from realistic. Spurs came into the game in 16th spot, and on a demoralising run of six straight league defeats under manager Ossie Ardiles. A hero as a player at the Lane, Ardiles was finding life in the dugout hugely difficult since his summer switch from West Brom - but at Chelsea, so was Glenn Hoddle. He had joined as player-manager from Swindon and his struggling team lay four points behind Spurs, in 19th. Having not won in four games, Hoddle's men were only being kept out of the relegation zone on goal difference from Oldham.
Ardiles selected Darren Anderton in his starting line-up at the Bridge that day, and the young midfielder flourished on the right flank. After 18 minutes, he swung in a deep cross to the far post which eluded Steve Clarke, blocked by Ronny Rosenthal. That allowed Steve Sedgley to tuck the ball home past Dimitri Kharine from a tight angle in front of the Shed End, and celebrate in exuberant fashion.
Spurs then lost Justin Edinburgh to injury - a 19-year-old Sol Campbell came on to replace him - but their momentum was not interrupted as Dean Austin crossed perfectly from the right for the arriving Jason Dozzell to head firmly downwards and double the visitors' lead.
Only 16,807 fans had turned up to see this game at Stamford Bridge, with redevelopment having resulted in a reduced capacity. The North Terrace had been demolished to make way for a new two-tiered stand that would later be named after director Matthew Harding. The old running track still encircled the field of play; cars were parked inside the ground in front of the Shed.
Those in the home sections might have wondered why they bothered attending at this stage, but that distinctly uncomfortable opening was forgotten when Chelsea drew level with a two-goal burst around the half-hour mark.
First, Gavin Peacock found a gap between Austin and Anderton and dinked the ball into the area from the left. Mal Donaghy took control, cut inside Stuart Nethercott and saw his effort deflected inside Ian Walker's near post by Dozzell.
Shortly afterwards, Jacob Kjeldbjerg rose above Nethercott to nod down Dennis Wise's corner from the right, and Mark Stein swivelled and shot high beyond Walker from close range to equalise.
With their tails up, Chelsea claimed a half-time advantage as John Spencer took Wise's ball down the right channel in his stride in the area, and let fly with a powerful strike on 41 minutes.
In the 68th minute, Ardiles took off Dozzell and threw on Andy Gray in what would prove to be the latter's final outing in a Spurs shirt. Shortly afterwards, Gray was tasked with levelling up from the penalty spot after a handball offence by Erland Johnsen, under pressure from Kevin Scott on an Anderton corner. The substitute duly obliged, drilling home low down the middle.
And Spurs were soon presented with a chance to reclaim the lead. Shrugging off a challenge in the centre circle, Rosenthal burst past a static Kjeldbjerg and with Eddie Newton and Johnsen trailing in his wake, he was able to nick the ball past Kharine only to be brought down. Gray stepped up again - but this time Chelsea's Russian goalkeeper was wise to his penalty technique and saved with his legs.
Even though the attendance was low, the atmosphere was now heated and Ardiles urged his men to keep cool heads. But a frantic finish ensued, and when Wise bravely headed on past Nethercott into the box in stoppage time, Peacock reached the ball ahead of Austin's tackle. Referee John Lloyd had little option but to point to the spot for a third time in the match.
And what a penalty it was. Displaying an entirely different approach to Gray, Stein took a long run-up before rocketing the ball into the top left corner of Walker's net to snatch victory for the home side right at the death. The Bridge went wild with delight.
The three points nudged the Blues up to 18th, and they would go on to finish one place above Spurs in the final table. Hoddle's Chelsea also reached the FA Cup final, only to be humbled 4-0 at Wembley by Manchester United.
As for their beaten opponents, Alan Sugar demanded a major improvement the next season yet despite signing the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann in the summer, Ardiles' Tottenham were unable to keep pace with the teams at the top. The final straw proved to be a midweek League Cup tie in late October at Meadow Lane, where Notts County ran out 3-0 winners against a dismal Spurs team reduced to 10 men when Ilie Dumitrescu was sent off. Although he was given one more game, in which his players saw off West Ham 3-1 at the Lane, Sugar showed Ardiles the door the next day.
Tim Sherwood's task at the Bridge this weekend could hardly be more daunting. Not only are Spurs up against their own recent poor record at the stadium, there is also Jose Mourinho's own unbeaten home league run to consider. That will stretch to a staggering 75 games if his players avoid a shock defeat to Spurs. The odds are not in Tottenham's favour, but when they do finally have a victory to celebrate again on Chelsea soil, it will surely taste very sweet indeed.
You can watch Chelsea v Tottenham live on Saturday Night Football on Sky Sports 1HD, with coverage underway from 5pm.