Having performed remarkably well, there is not too much to remark about
on this showing by Spurs, who, having taken the lead, rolled over to
Reading, who had been having a tough time up until today.
Tottenham's players showed little of
their fighting spirit of last Sunday. Too many failed to put in
the required effort to fight off the non-stop nagging of the Reading
players and it is not hard to see how they have done so well under Steve
Coppell. But, having taken the lead and having had a large share
of the possession without looking in trouble, Tottenham managed to go
into the break 1-2 behind.
Hossam Ghaly, who sometimes looks like
the most cultured midfielder we have, too often played loose passes or
failed to track back. When Sidwell took the ball off him with ten
minutes gone, the ball was fizzed across the face of the goal and
luckily for Spurs, with no hooped shirt there to convert it. Spurs
countered this with a goal chalked off for offside, when Keane shot as a
ball was cleared, with Ghaly coming out, was clearly beyond the last
A better opportunity came when Keane
played in Ghaly and he went round the keeper to pull the ball back for
DImitar Berbatov, who hit a shot that was kept out by Reading captain
Graeme Murty on the goal-line. But it was a short stay fo
execution, as two minutes later, Spurs took the lead. Keane and
Berbatov linked again and the Irishman's ball into Ghaly saw him take a
touch and as he went past Sonko, the Reading defender took his standing
foot and a penalty was given, Keane coolly strolled up to fire the
spot-kick past the keeper, who went the wrong way.
Fifteen minutes later, some slow closing
down cost Spurs dear. Maybe a hangover from the rigorous two games
every four days schedule they are currently in, but when the ball was
played across to defender Nicky Shorey on the left, Dawson failed to get
to him quick enough and his presence only served to unsight Robinson and
the shot beat his hand into the net.
Berbatov failed to score, but showed
flashes of what he is about and a clever bit of footwork created a
chance and he fired in a low shot, but it was straight at Hahnemann. At
the other end, Reading won a corner and from it, Spurs failed to take
their positions quickly enough and when the ball came in Sidwell snuck
in behind Zokora to poke the ball into the net from a yard out. It
was a very sloppy goal to concede and not one that Spurs have been used
to giving away of late.
So, from a goal up to 1-2 down at the
half-time interval. All of our own making and leaving a tough task
in the second period.
The Reading crowd were decidedly Second
Division, with boos for Spurs players every tie they touched the ball
after they had been fouled, which was frequently. Indeed, while
originally giving Stephen Hunt the benefit of the doubt about the Petr
Cech incident, having seen him play, he is a player who involves himself
in the nastier aspects of the game in my view.
Jenas fired a low shot well wide after
Aaron Lennon laid the ball into his path, then Berbatov headed Ghaly's
cross straight at Hahnemann. Jol had decided that enough was
enough and Keane came off for Defoe to replace him, while Huddlestone
took the place of the uninspired Zokora.
The changes failed to make much impact,
as Robbo had to keep out Doyle with a sharp low save. But with 12
minutes left, Spurs created a couple of good chances. Firstly
Ghaly struck a fierce volley as Ingimarsson's header dropped to the far
side of the area, but it went across the face of the goal, while Lennon
weighted a fine pass through to Jermaine Defoe, who fired for the near
post rather than go across the keeper and his effort went into the
Like the game at Liverpool, within
seconds, the ball was in Tottenham's net. Hahnemann's kick out was
flicked on by Lita, finding Doyle, who struck a shot despite the presence
of Ledley King with him and it flew past Robinson's left hand. It
was a direct goal and one which should have been prevented.
Even then, there was time for both sides
to strike the woodwork. Lita arched a header that had Robbo diving
at his near post, but the ball cannoned off the outside of the post and
off. Breaking at the other end with three minutes left, Jermaine
Jenas played Defoe through and his shot on the turn across Hahnemann hit
the inside of the far post and bounced across the goal and away.
But Lennon won the ball back and Dimitar hit the ball to him way over
the top to sum up his day.
Too many Spurs players looked mentally
tired and physically tired, while Reading had the benefit of not playing
midweek, but if Tottenham are to be successful, they will need to cope
with playing the amount of games they are now.
Losing points like this might well cost
us a place in Europe next season, let alone our five match unbeaten run.
We can't afford slip-ups like this again ... although it might be too
late to get a UEFA Cup place through a league placing this season