FA BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 1ST OCTOBER, 2005
CHARLTON ATHLETIC 2 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (0)
Bent, 25, 48
Referee: - Phil Dowd
Attendance: - 27,111
Charlton (4-5-1):- Andersen; Young (Capt.), El Karkouri, Perry, Powell; Rommedahl, Murphy, Smertin, Kishishev (sub Spector, 85), Thomas (sub Hughes, 78); Bent (sub Bartlett, 70)
Subs not used: - Myhre; Sorondo
Booked: - Young, Kishishev, Murphy
Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Stalteri, Naybet, King (Capt.), Kelly; Lennon, Jenas (sub Keane, 64), Mendes (sub Tainio, 58), Davids; Mido (sub Dawson, 81), Defoe
Subs not used: - Cerny; Rasiak
Booked: - Defoe, Mendes
An Egyptian scored the Spurs equaliser today, but it was the Valley of Keane’s, as Robbie Keane scored a cracking winner with ten minutes to go to secure a massive three points for Tottenham, after Charlton had gone two up early in the second half. This was Spurs’ best come back in a League game since 14th April, 2001, when they overcame a similar deficit at Sunderland. Robbie Keane has scored his second crucial goal of the season in three weeks, having given Spurs a point with his stunner at Villa Park, and now this winner, which he and the Spurs fans celebrated in the usual fashion!
Spurs made one change from Monday’s line-up with Stephen Kelly coming in at left back for Young-Pyo Lee. Refreshingly, for an away team we had two strikers on the bench in the shape of Robbie Keane and Grzegorz Rasiak. Teemu Tainio and Michael Dawson were the other outfield subs. On the other hand, Alan Curbishley is happy to play his five man midfield with Darren Bent patrolling up front with Rommedahl and Thomas his chief supporters on the flanks a la Chelsea, I suppose. Murphy, Smertin and Kishishev ensured that bent did not get too isolated, and whilst Spurs enjoyed some good early possession and even dominance, it wasn’t long before the Spurs midfield – more delicate with the exception of “Pitbull” Davids – were getting closed down quickly, and being allowed little time on the ball. Jenas in particular seemed to struggle to find time for his game, and Spurs were not getting Aaron Lennon into the game enough.
Former Spur Luke Young captained Charlton against his old team, and Spurs played towards their fans in the Jimmy Seed stand in the first half. Mido led an early attack after a great win of the ball in the Charlton half, but it wasn’t long before ex-gooner Jerome Thomas was bursting into the Spurs box, going down quite theatrically under Ledley King’s challenge, but seeing referee Phil Dowd wave away any penalty appeals. Mr Dowd had a weird sort of game. At times he seemed to want to let play go on, and let a few rough challenges go. There were moments when he upset Spurs players and fans with a free kick awarded when Spurs clearly had an advantage, and then he let a push in the back of Defoe go un-punished. I wouldn’t argue with any of the bookings he meted out though. Defoe got upset over a challenge near the bye line then went after El Karkouri, and Mendes committed a cynical shirt tug as Charlton broke near the half-way line. The Charlton bookings were all for foul play, and from a Spurs point of view the most entertaining was that of Murphy near the end as Davids won a tigerish battle, despite a foul and a shirt pull by the one-time Spurs target.
There were a few occasions in the first half, when Ledley King stayed forward after corners, which he would not have done if Charlton had two committed strikers. After 8 minutes, Lennon crossed from the right and Mido’s glanced header went wide of the post, leaving Andersen un-troubled. Dean Kiely sat this game out completely despite his return to reserve action this week. Another corner taken by Mendes after 12 minutes was met by Stalteri at the back post, and fed into Ledley, who had time for a shot, but hooked wide. He should have scored. Stalteri had a great battling run from the right flank into the middle of the area, laying the ball back for Mendes, whose shot was tame and easily picked up by the keeper. At this stage, Spurs were looking in control.
Having already won a few offside decisions, Spurs clearly had a strategy for Bent, but failed dismally in the 25th minute, as Murphy lifted a ball over King, whose arm was out-stretched, when it would have been better used to try and catch up with bent, who by this time had Robinson in no-mans land, and beat him with a cool finish. Bent should have put his side two up after 37 minutes, when Smertin sent Rommedahl away on the left of the area. Rommedahl’s low cross went to Bent in the 6 yard box, but he somehow managed to miss this great opportunity.
Two minutes before the break, Paul Robinson stepped up to take a free kick near the half-way line, and Mido’s header was saved by Andersen with the ball outside his right post anyway.
Bent’s second goal came just three minutes into the second half, and it looked like being a sad but typical away-day across London for Spurs. Bent had been on the floor having been denied a foul and Lennon was breaking for Spurs. Lennon also went down under a challenge, but referee Dowd waved play on for this as well. Thomas had nicked the ball, and again, Spurs were caught out by the ball over the top. I had my suspicions about Bent returning from an offside position, but it has to be said he took this chance well, with two defenders trying to close him down; failing as Bent curled the ball to Robinson’s left.
Spurs’ heads were back up within three minutes though, as Mendes’ long free kick was flicked on by Mido, and Ledley King touched the ball home across the goal. It looked a soft effort from our end, but the celebrations soon confirmed the ball had reached the net! Mendes was soon replaced after his booking, and Tainio added the necessary grit in the middle, starting on the left, but moving inside once Jenas was replaced. There was another scare for Spurs, as Robinson held Smertin’s powerful 60th minute shot, as the rain now dampened the previously sun-drenched ground.
Spurs equaliser followed a good build up, starting with great work out of defence by Ledley, and continuing down the left through Kelly and Tainio, before Mido hit a great low shot from a sharp angle on the left across the goalkeeper into the net. It was a really powerfully hit shot and a great goal from start to finish, as was the winner! Robbie Keane replaced Jenas with 25 minutes to go, and Martin Jol seemed to be sniffing a win, as Mido now pulled towards the left, and Defoe and Keane were in the middle. Ironically, earlier in the game, Mido had been the one crossing the ball from the right, looking for a header in the area, where he should have been!
Murphy threaded a pass inside the area on the right and Luke Young skied his shot from quite close range. This was after the referee had failed to notice a rather nasty clash of heads between Stalteri and Bent, who came off worse and never recovered. Stalteri had to be bandaged and then wore a number 49 shirt for the rest of the game.
Spurs’ dramatic winner came with ten minutes to go, and again came from a rapid break out from the back. Mido was crocked on the floor near the half way line, which may have distracted the Charlton defence, but it did not dissuade Aaron Lennon who won the ball at the back, and rapidly carried it into the Charlton half, with Keane and Defoe making ground inside. Lennon passed inside and Robbie and Jermain had a swift exchange, with Defoe laying the ball to the right for a smacker of a shot by Keane that burst the net. Cue cartwheels, and raucous celebrations in the away stand!
There were some worrying moments, in the closing stages for Spurs. Dawson had come on for Mido, but Naybet had trouble marshalling those around him, and Charlton had half-chances when Murphy chipped from the right, when Bartlett fired wide. Luke Young also hit another shot wide, and Paul Robinson got a vital saving touch on a cross, which he pushed to the edge of the area. Spurs were lined up across the back, but by the time the whistle was blown, had cleared into the opponents half.
It’s been a great, great day then and a great week, with two wins, both over London rivals, and a top four place ensured over the International break. Spurs are third in the table overnight, but Bolton play tomorrow.
· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
· Read the preview for this game.
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