Blades Retro: This week in 1991 - Tottenham 0 Sheffield United 1

Brian Deane celebrates scoring in 1991.
Brian Deane celebrates scoring in 1991.
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It was becoming a little like Groundhog Day for Sheffield United fans as the 1991/92 season staggered on.

It was all a bit reminiscent of the previous campaign where fans had to wait until 22 December before they could celebrate their first league victory.

Brian Gayle in 1991

Brian Gayle in 1991

While that culminated in a storming second half of the campaign and the subsequent great escape, too many nerves had been shredded for there to be a repeat.

Or so Blades fans hoped. Against hope.

They didn’t have to wait so long for an opening win - this time they downed Everton in mid-September - but by the time they reached mid-November and the Sheffield derby at Bramall Lane, there had only been one more league win to celebrate.

However, goals by Dane Whitehouse and Brian Deane had earned United a win over their confident neighbours.

Jamie Hoyland'Sheffield United FC - 1991

Jamie Hoyland'Sheffield United FC - 1991

The following week saw the Blades travel to Tottenham for whom a striker called Gary Lineker was bidding a long farewell in his final season before moving to Japan.

Peter Shreeves was in charge of the north London side after replacing Terry Venables who had moved upstairs to become chief executive.

Spurs, the FA Cup holders, welcomed United in mid-table with the Blades in the relegation zone but buoyed by their derby victory.

Kevin Gage, on loan from Aston Villa, made his debut at left-back in place of Tom Cowan who had sustained knee damage against Wednesday while there was a surprise spot on the bench for youngster Nathan Peel.

Ian Bryson signs for Sheffield United watched by wife Kirsty and Dave Bassett

Ian Bryson signs for Sheffield United watched by wife Kirsty and Dave Bassett

Spurs fielded an attacking line-up with Lineker, Gordon Durie and Paul Walsh all starting.

It was an aggressive start from both sides with John Gannon driving just wide for United and Simon Tracey making a comfortable save from Durie.

Walsh - who always seemed to reserve menacing form for when he faced the Blades - again became a thorn in their sides, causing trouble down the left but the hosts were almost caught out when Deane raced 50 metres towards goal before unleashing a shot which was not so far wide of the far post.

Spurs were forcing a succession of corners - five in the first 12 minutes alone - and United were forced into doing some serious defending with Brian Gayle and Jamie Hoyland marshalling matters well at the back.

Nathan Peel Sheffield United FC - 1991

Nathan Peel Sheffield United FC - 1991

Tracey blocked well from Durie with the keeper then tested by Vinny Samways whose chip was superbly intercepted before he held on to a high cross from the Spurs left.

Deane was causing problems for the hosts who could not find a way through the resolute defence with Tracey immovable in goal.

Nayim volleyed over with Dane Whitehouse responding in kind, the Sheffield youngster collected the ball yards outside the box and let one fly, forcing Spurs keeper Erik Thorstvedt to dive full stretch to tip it over the bar.

And then nine minutes into the second half United were ahead. Gayle pestered Spurs into trouble and Gage picked up the ball and arrowed it into the box.

Deane was there, Whitehouse was there and Gary Mabbutt was there. And the ball was in the back of the net.

Deane was awarded it, his second goal of the week, and in front of the travelling fans.

Spurs raised their game in response but United almost doubled their lead only for Carl Bradshaw’s cross from the right on the break just too strong for Ian Bryson.

The game was stop-start with players on both sides needing treatment and Spurs were getting into a bit of a tangle such was their desire for the equaliser.

Lineker had had scarcely a look-in all match and it was Durie again who threatened, his right-footed shot going narrowly past the post after Tracey had for once found himself exposed.

Whitehouse fired over spectacularly while Deane had another rampaging run and shot with United looking more and more assured and three points were theirs.

All eyes were on Deane with manager Dave Bassett saying: “Six clubs have asked us about Brian but if we have to sell him I would really like him to go abroad.

“He is good enough and it will be part of his education.

“He is the right type to go. He could make something of it in Germany or Italy and come back the better for the experience.”

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