RETRO: Sheffield United put six past Tottenham

Ian Bryson
 celebrates United's third goal
Ian Bryson celebrates United's third goal
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Sheffield United supporters revelled in a night of “goals, glee and glory” against Tottenham Hotspur on March 2 1993.

And The Star Blades writer Tony Pritchett summed it up.

“Don’t give much attention to that 6-0 scoreline. It gave a false impression of the match. It should have been 9-1!”

For the Bramall Lane club it was a result and performance that returned attention to the pitch rather and away from disagreements between Board and fans about distribution of FA Cup tickets for the forthcoming quarter-final against Blackburn Rovers.

And it was indeed a cracking display against a club in the top half of the FA Premier League who were to finish fifth at the end of the season.

In the aftermath of a disappointing 3-2 defeat at Southampton on the Saturday, United made seven changes for this Tuesday night clash including the return of Kevin Gage and David Barnes to the full back spots and the selection of John Pemberton to partner Brian Gayle.

Franz Carr

Franz Carr

Glyn Hodges and Franz Carr returned and found that Spurs, a disgrace to their high traditions, were just lambs to the slaughter.

Briefly Teddy Sheringham and Darren Anderton lived up to their reputations but a stunning individual goal from Carr in the 12th minute knocked the stuffing out of the visitors as United poured through them like a tidal wave knocking over a sand castle.

Carr seized onto a Hodges short corner, lost his marker with a clever turn and smashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner away from Eric Thorsvedt’s stretching left hand.

No-one knew it then but this was the beginning of a rout against defenders who could not defend and a midfield who could not mark.

Brian Deane

Brian Deane

Next Brian Deane’s cross into the box was headed into his own goal off the bar and off the keeper by Andy Gray to make it 2-0 after 20 minutes.

Two goals in as many minutes by Ian Bryson had three sides of the ground in ecstasy with the Tottenham faithful behind the goal stunned into disbelief.

Bryson took the first with a neat and accurate shot into the corner with the defence looking for offside. And while everyone was still discussing that goal Bryson did it again. Deane put the ball into the box, Bryson embarrassed the already panicky Jason Cundy and turned the ball into the goal.

Twenty nine minutes gone and 4-0 to the Blades.

Dave Bassett with Paul Rodgers

Dave Bassett with Paul Rodgers

Alan Kelly saved well from Shringham’s header and then United could have gone to five and then six.

Hodges, too much to handle all night, was just wide and Deane’s clever chip shot just failed to dip under the bar.

Briefly in the second half Tottenham threatened to salvage some respectability when Shringham had a free header, Anderton hit the side net and sub John Hendry hit a post.

But it was to be no more than a flourish as United, clearly enjoying themselves, turned on the party tricks, the short passes and ther back-heels.

The crowd, naturally, wanted five and Deane obliged after 72 minutes, cashing in on more uncertainty by Cundy.

Gary Mabbutt, a forlorn figure amonst the rubble of the defence, was knocked senseless by Hodge’s irresistible volley, Bryson went off to an ovation and Cork came on to a splendid welcome.

Cork, clearly keen to get in the action, had a goal disallowed for offside.

But the relief was brief as Deane set up Paul Rogers and his joy hammering it in was shared by the Kop on the night of the biggest win in Dave Bassett’s five-years at the Lane.