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Ruddock goal gives Spurs a share

Battling Tottenham gave new manager Gerry Francis more cause for satisfaction by denying Liverpool three points with a late equaliser at Anfield.

Spurs, boosted by their possible FA Cup reprieve, shrugged off a controversial first-half penalty to grab a much needed point.

Liverpool's teenage top scorer Robbie Fowler netted from the spot but Spurs hit back with an equaliser 12 minutes from time through a Neil Ruddock own goal.

It gave Francis his second draw in four days after seeing his White Hart Lane career start with a 4-3 defeat by Aston Villa.

But Francis' work on the training ground with his side's ramshackle defence is clearly paying quick dividends as they confidently dealt with everything Liverpool threw at them.

But it took heroics from keeper Ian Walker to deny Liverpool the victory in front of their biggest crowd of the season that would have closed the gap on the leaders.

Left back Sol Campbell had more success than most defenders against the running of Steve McManaman but ironically it was this confrontation that bought the home side their controversial opener.

As McManaman raced onto Rob Jones' inside pass he tumbled under Campbell's challenge and referee Stephen Lodge had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Fowler, who had been having one of his quietest games of the season, made no mistake as he sent Walker the wrong way and buried the penalty low into the corner.

It gave Fowler his 15th league goal of the season and 17th in all competitions of the campaign.
Until the breakthrough Liverpool rarely threatened with Gary Mabbutt excelling at the heart of the defence, twice making late interceptions to thwart Ian Rush.

John Barnes drove a long-range effort inches wide, McManaman struck the post from an acute angle and Jones should have done better when he shot straight at Walker.

Walker also superbly plucked a Jamie Redknapp cross before going on to almost single-handedly deny Liverpool after the break.

The keeper easily dealt with long-range efforts from McManaman and Redknapp before denying Stig Bjornebye after seeing his shot very late.

Michael Thomas - making his first appearance for nearly two months - and Jones were also denied while Fowler should have done better when a Colin Calderwood interception rolled into his path.

But Spurs also had chances with Nick Barmby producing two weak efforts in the first half while Teddy Sheringham also sent a shot skidding just wide minutes before the break.

Forced to soak up the pressure in the second half Spurs had to rely on quick breaks with Jurgen Klinsmann shooting straight at David James from one such counter-attack.

Klinsmann thought he should have had a 69th minute penalty when he escaped the attention of Phil Babb but James did enough to hold him up and as the German shaped to shoot he collided with Babb.

But nine minutes later the Londoners got the equaliser their efforts deserved with Campbell, who gave away the penalty, heavily involved.

The youngster sent over a hopeful low cross from the left that no Spurs player was close to but it rebounded off Ruddock's shin to give James no chance.

James had to react smartly to save from Klinsmann moments later, Fowler shot wide with three minutes left but Spurs hung on to gain a morale-boosting draw.

Copyright - British Soccer Week

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