The Tottenham tradition of "after
the Lord Mayor's Show" continued with a disappointing home draw
against West Bromwich Albion following picking up an unexpected point
While it proved difficult for Tottenham
to break down a resolute Albion defence in the second half, the
visiting team deserved their point for an enterprising first half
showing that they could prove a potent attacking threat in making four
very acceptable chances ... only one of which was taken !! In
the first minute, Albion spurned a great opening. Spurs gave the
ball away and as West Brom broke into the area, the ball came in from
Richardson on the left and as it came off a stretching Dawson as he
stopped Kanu's shot, the central defender just managed to get back to
put off Gera. The WBA midfielder, who was to play a major par
tin the game, could have put the away side ahead, but he pulled his
shot wide of the post with the goal yawning in front of him.
were struggling to hold Albion's fast start and a free-kick had
already been conceded 25 yards out, before Dawson got booked for a
lunge on Richardson. Clement took responsibility for the dead
ball kicks and his second effort was better than his first, which had
been dragged a long, long way wide. For the foul, he stepped up
more confidently and curled one over the wall and it bounced away off
the post with Robinson looking after it anxiously.
put together their first attack and a straight-ish ball into the box
saw Gaardsoe defend it, by heading it backwards under pressure and
Hoult had to turn in mid-air to push it over the bar, just when it
looked like it might drop just under it. From the corner, Dawson
climbed highest to head on and Sean Davis had a clear header, but
failed to hit the target. In fact, the returning midfielder had
another headed effort on the 15 minute mark, but once more, it floated
wide rather than hit the target.
tackle on Richardson had done for him and Junichi Inamoto came on to
replace him. Despite his lack of Premiership action, Tottenham's
lethargy let him look good in the midfield. It proved an
inspired substitution, with Albion taking the lead in the 23rd
minute. A dubious corner was given and as it came over, it
flicked off Dawson's head at the near post and he was the only one
quick enough to respond to try and block Gera, as he curled a hard
shot into the gap just inside Robinson's right hand post at the Paxton
Spurs were lucky to keep it
down to one at half-time, as WBA opened them up a number of times and
Spurs contributed to their own pressure by giving the ball away with
square passes across the midfield straight to a red shirt. One
came when Kanu broke on the right and pulled a low ball across the
edge of the six yard box and although there was nobly there to put it
in, the Spurs defence let it travel all the way across the area.
Coming in at the far post, Richard Chaplow hit it firmly and Robinson
did well to make himself big and beat it out with his hands.
from the header from his own man, Hoult had not been troubled too much
by Spurs shots. With ten minutes to the break, Andy Reid
flighted a corner over and Stephen Kelly got his head to it with a
good jump, but he was just underneath his header and it landed on the
top of the net.
At the sound of
the half-time whistle, there was an accompaniment of booing and it
looked like being a tough half for Tottenham. Atouba and Mido
came out to warm up with their kit on, indicating that there would be
subs used. But who would go off ? Reid hadn't been
outstanding in the first 45 and Keano had looked a little off the
pace. When the players came out Davis and Edman were missing, it
was a shock to all Spurs fans. Both had solid first half
performances and could have offered good second half showings.
However, the presence of Mido was no doubt to unsettle the WBA defence
and the move worked straight away.
got the ball out wide in the penalty area and wriggled through a
challenge and hooked his shot into the side netting when other players
were better placed. He was in the thick of things and five
minutes into the half, it was he who tried to leather the ball and
only succeed in skying it over the bar after King had kept the ball
moving on in the area from a corner.
was of little consequence a minute later, as a long ball played in
from the left touchline by Ledley found Clement's head as he
challenged Mido and the ball dropped right in front of Keane, who
struck a looping shot about waist high that flashed past Hoult for the
equaliser. It was an opportunist finish from the Irishman, whose
partnership with Defoe was not going well and Jermain seemed
frustrated with Mido when he came on too. It just wasn't falling
for Defoe, who struggled to keep onside in the first half, when he
could have been away through on goal a few times, had the ref's
whistle not stopped him. And when he allowed play to move on,
then Spurs got no advantage from it.
Brom hit back straight away from the goal and Inamoto was worked in on
the right side of the area and he hit a low shot that bounced up and
Robbo did well to get down to it and divert it wide of the goal.
Back up the other end, a long clearance saw Mido try an outlandish
shot from wide on the right just a yard or two out fro the
goal-line. The ball ballooned way over the top. Marco van
Basten he ain't !! Robbie Keane got a taste for it too and hit a
volley well over from 25 yards. The Spurs fans thought that
Spurs had got another goal when Kelly played a precise pass into
Davies in the box, but his low shot only hit the side-netting and not
the inside netting.
proving a handful for the Albion back four, Bryan Robson made an
astute substitution by bringing on man mountain Darren Moore to play
in the centre at the back and removed a forward from the attack.
Spurs were now reliant on long shots as they were kept away from the
box, but their lack of use of the width meant that everything was
narrow down the pitch and not much went outside the width of the
penalty area. This made Davies tuck inside and Andy Reid was
reduced to ploughing a furrow ten yards in from the sidelines.
He did at least produce some telling shots, with the closest being in
the 65th minute when he drilled a 30 yard drive just over the bar.
once more showed that not only has he got skill in abundance, but he
knows when to make a good run into the area, which was picked out by a
good ball from Chaplow and the Hungarian volleyed the ball true but
without the accuracy that might have restored their lead and the
volley slipped wide of Paul Robinson's goal.
75 minutes, Defoe left the play and Ziegler came on. The three
forward system seems never to work that effectively and even before
that he was not firing on all cylinders alongside Keane. The
Swiss youngster hit a low drive straight into the diving Hoult's arms
a couple of minutes after coming on and with Atouba taking up an
intelligent position at the far post from corners, he twice lobbed the
ball back to the far post. Firstly, it looked as though Keane
ducked under the ball when it came to him and with the latter, Mido
did get his head on it, but he could not get it on target to trouble
Andy Reid finished a
better second half for him, if not for Tottenham, with involvement in
some late incidents. Tottenham had worked the ball around and it
fell to Reid outside the box, from where he hit a shot that took a
deflection off a defender and it flew over the top. As Chaplow
broke away on the right hand touchline in injury time, Reid clattered
him as he looked to be past the former Forest man and he got a yellow
card for his troubles. With the final whistle there were a few
murmured boos and it was a little unnecessary, as Spurs had built up
the expectation and failed to deliver, but the need for points was
just as great for WBA.
Davies did well on the right, but had trouble getting past the tough
tackling Paul Robinson (the other one), while Sean Davis looked strong
in the first half and Carrick had an in and out game. Sometimes
grabbing possession and looking for the million dollar pass, while
other times, he went long periods without getting on the ball.
King had another good game and for me, Stephen Kelly was the man of
the match, with some great running up the right touchline and some
very good defending. He made on tackle in the second half, when
he ran half the length of the pitch to get back and then timed an
immaculate tackle as an Albion player was poised to shoot inside the
Spurs box. Always available for the ball to be played to him, he
gave Tottenham some options to pass the ball when others were
European football will be the reward at the end of the season for
Spurs, the finishing position should be higher than last season, the
points total should be higher than last season and we will have
unearthed some players for next season and the future.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - STEPHEN KELLY