Tottenham On This Day: Spurs Held By Glentoran


On this day, 8th August, 1981, Tottenham  played Glentoran at the Oval in Belfast. The Irish League side held Spurs, the FA Cup holders, to a 3 – 3 draw.

Tottenham On This Day

8th August, 1981

Tottenham, the 1981 FA Cup winners played Glentoran in a pre-season friendly to mark the Belfast’s club centenary. Both clubs had been formed in 1882. It was the full FA Cup winning team which arrived at the Oval to be greeted enthusiastically by 12,000 supporters of both sides as they paraded around the ground with the FA Cup before the match.

Steve Perryman with FA Cup at Glentoran [Photo: Logan Holmes]The only changes in the Tottenham side from the successful team which defeated Manchester City 3 – 2 in the FA Cup Final Replay, the previous May, was the inclusion of new signing Paul Price in place of Paul Miller and Mark Falco partnering Steve Archibald instead of the injured, Garth Crooks.

The following is an extract of the match report by renowned Belfast Telegraph writer, Malcolm Brodie.

Oval Cracker!

Glentoran 3 Tottenham Hotspur 3

Scorers: Kingon, Cleery (pen), Blackledge  Hoddle (pen), Falco, Ardiles

Team: Aleksic; Hughton (Miller), Price, Roberts (Cooper), Villa, Perryman, Ardiles, Archibald, Galvin, Hoddle, Falco (Brooke)

‘A match of high drama, superb entertainment – a real battle of the Cockerels and the ‘Cock and Hens’. It ebbed and flowed in bewildering fashion. Glentoran led 1 – 0 at half-time. Terry Kingon scored after fifteen minutes when Johnny Jamison’s corner floated across for him send the ball into the roof of the net from 12 yards. They were in front, too, not by luck but by sheer skill, tactical know-how and they more than measured up in pace and stamina as well. Then there was tragedy in the 50th minute when the Glens conceded a penalty by bringing down Steve Perryman and from the spot Glenn Hoddle scored.

Mark Falco made it 2 – 1 in the 64th minute and everyone felt the result would be the inevitable Spurs triumph – even an unconvincing one. But then Glentoran were awarded a penalty when Aleksic pushed a defender off the ball. Cleery scored from the spot kick.

So, Glentoran were level once again. Would another glorious page in their history be written? Alas, within a minute,  Argentinian international Ossie Ardiles raced upfield to prod home a Perryman cross. Now it was 3 – 2. But, with only three minutes remaining, striker Gary Blackledge, with a dipping shot from 25 yards, beat the keeper. Now it was 3 – 3. It seemed as if the referee’s whistle would never blow. The minutes were agonising. However, it all ended with Glentoran getting that deserved draw and earning for themselves considerable prestige in the process.’

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Brodie was not impressed by the Spurs stars, even if it was their first match of the season. Glenn Hoddle who had just signed a new two-year contract only came into action in flashes, only twice did we see the astonishing skills of Ossie Ardiles and the Tottenham defence was constantly pierced by the Glentoran forwards.

Spurs, in the first half never put it together and while they improved in the second, there was nothing of  a magical quality in their play. Spurs did hit the woodwork twice in the second half through Falco and Gary Brooke but a draw was a fair result.

Manager, Keith Burkinshaw was satisfied with the result and performance and was impressed with his new signing from Luton Town, Paul Price.

"We got three and we might have had more in the 3 – 3 draw against Glentoran. The finishing could have been better and we should not have let in three, but in the first couple of matches you get rough edges and it is a matter of polishing things up."

Ricky Villa and Mark Falco [Photo: Logan Holmes]