BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER, 2015
SUNDERLAND 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0)
Referee:- Craig Pawson
Assistants:- D Cann & A Halliday
Fourth official:- A Marriner
Sunderland (4-2-3-1):- Pantilimon; Jones, OíShea (Capt.), Kaboul, Van Aanholt; MíVila, Gomez (sub Cattermole, 74); Lens, Toivonen (sub Rodwell, 81), Borini (sub Watmore, 74); Defoe
Subs not used:- Mannone; Coates; Larsson; Graham
Booked:- Borini (foul on Alli), Jones (foul on Chadli)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Mason (sub Carroll, 85); Son (sub Townsend, 62), Alli (sub Lamela, 67), Chadli; Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Rose; Winks
Booked:- Vertonghen (foul on Lens)
Brave Ryan snatches Spursí first win
Just as I was beginning to think I would have to check the records to discover the last time we drew two consecutive league games 0-0 (it was in March/April, 2011), up popped Ryan Mason to run and collect substitute Erik Lamelaís diagonal pass, dinking the ball over goalkeeper Pantilimon and into the net just inside the keeperís right post. Mason managed to make it to the goal-line for the celebrations, but he had sustained an injury in colliding with the goalkeeper, and had to be replaced by Tom Carroll. The single goal was enough to seal Spursí first win of the season, lifting themselves up to 12th, two points and five places above Chelsea and five goals better off as far as goal difference is concerned.
Spurs had survived one first half scare when the lively Jermain Defoe hit the outside of the post, and after Masonís goal, saw Sunderland substitute Jack Rodwell hit the crossbar from Younes Kaboulís cross. It seems both our former players were very determined to get a result today, and Sunderland arguably had their best performance of the season, whilst Spurs might have given their worse performance so far.
Mauricio Pochettino made four team changes, with Ben Davies selected ahead of substitute Danny Rose, Heung-min Son making his debut, Mason reverting to defensive midfield and Dele Alli getting his first start.
Spurs kicked off in a sun-drenched Stadium of Light, and it seems that ďBlack CatsĒ skipper John OíShea won the toss and elected to play towards the South Stand, leaving Pantilimon to face the sun. He neednít have worried, because Spurs didnít really bother the goalkeeper, and the sun was still shining strongly into the face of Hugo Lloris when he had to play beneath the away fans, who these days are ensconced in the upper tier of The Carling Stand. That was a move instigated in the days of Martin OíNeillís management. Funnily enough, it was OíNeill who had the away fans moved at Villa Park too!
In the very first minute, Dele Alli pushed the ball to the advancing Kyle Walker, who was blocked in the box, and got nothing for his troubles, as the ball ran clear. We then entered a phase with Spurs looking bright, but Sunderland dominating possession. During the course of the game, one or two of the Spurs players (including Alli and Mason) tried to complete passes with failed training ground touches, where the simple thing was preferable. Son had some sparkle, but Sunderland were determined, and gritty in closing Spurs down. On the other hand, Spurs too often allowed their opponents more space, which led to more work for Hugo Lloris. Llorisís attempts at clearances were poorer than usual today too. After one such clearance, and an immediate Sunderland response, it was Kyle Walker who came to the rescue at the expense of a corner.
After a Spurs corner (Son was our not too successful dead ball man today), Pantilimon cleared with a ball to a Sunderland runner, who Ryan Mason struggled to catch. The ball came inside to Defoe who hit a shot from fully 25 yards, which Lloris held at the second attempt. Spurs made an immediate response, but Harry Kaneís shot was well over the target. In the first half, Walker had to change his shirt, and in the second, Harry Kane had to have his ripped shirt replaced. Thatís how close the Sunderland marking had been.
Vertonghen took an early booking for a foul on the lively Lens, but that was the only Spurs booking of the game. Borini also saw yellow for unfair play on Dele Alli. Kane had another half chance inside the box, but despite a wriggle or two, he could not quite get a shot on goal. At the other end, a left foot shot by Lens from the right flank was always going wide of Llorisís left post. Alderweireld got forward in support of the attack, and had a decent shot blocked. Jermain Defoe received a good ball from Jeremain Lens, and hit a right footed shot which hit the outside of the left post.
The best Spurs could do in response at that stage was when Chadli got involved on the left. Chadli crossed to Kane, whose shot won a corner. After more discomfort for Lloris, Mason found Son, who hit a left footed shot wide of Pantilimonís right post.
At the other end, Defoe won a battle with Alderweireld on the left of the Spurs area. Defoe got the better of the Spurs defender, but Lloris held his shot. With the end of the half approaching, Spurs had a break through Chadli, who passed to Walker deep on the right. Walker tried to tee up Dele Alli, but again, he was closed down, and prevented from shooting. On the other hand, Lens again caused the Spurs defence problems and won a corner in added time.
At the start of the second half, Lens switched to the left flank, with Borini on the right for the home side. It took a long time for the atmosphere to warm up though, despite a crowd of 40,000. Ryan Mason had a shot go wide after an attacking Spurs throw, but subsequently was the cause of a Spurs move breaking down, after which Lens got the better of Walker, but hit his shot high. Mason tried to redeem himself with a ball aimed at Dele Alli, and Chadli, but the goalkeeper was there first. Ben Davies found room on the left channel and fed the ball to Chadli, who got all the way to the goal-line, hitting a cross, which passed all the way in front of the goal.
Heung-min Son was then replaced by Townsend, who did make an impact down the right flank, often getting around Van Aanholt, but not always hitting a successful cross. Hugo Lloris was out to win the ball off two advancing Sunderland players, chasing a long ball. The offside flag was up anyway. Vertonghen was cool and calm when faced with a Lens advance into the Spurs area, and Dier completed the clearance. Eric Dier was chosen as the Sky Sports man of the match for his determination and application throughout the game.
Dele Alli was replaced by Erik Lamela, who also proved to be an impactive substitute, and played on the left!
Sunderland fans were not happy when Borini was rolling about near the half-way line, but the referee did not stop play, and Spurs won a throw on the right. Kyle Walker passed to Chadli, who combined with Townsend, and might ultimately have done better with the time he had to at least test the keeper. Another Davies Ė Chadli combination led to a Spurs corner, from which Dierís header was held by Pantilimon. Mason got forward more and more now, and won a corner with one shot, before having another low shot held by the keeper. He was soon to be the Spurs hero though, after good build-up play from half-way, with a number of passes culminating in Mason making a run ahead of Lamela to receive and beat Pantilimon with that finish.
It wasnít long before Spurs fans were holding their breath though, as a determined Kaboul advanced down the right, and fed Rodwell for his shot which hit the crossbar. Kane forced a save at the other end though, after supply from Townsend.
There were five minutes of added time and Lamela again proved a worthy supplier, feeding Chadli, whose shot was way too high. Substitute Tom Carroll blocked the ball in the middle and it ran to Kane. He had Lamela on the left, and used him. Erik passed to Chadli, who took ages at the back of the area, and finally fired wide.
Spurs now have a busy period with 6 games in the next three weeks. The first four will be at home and we can expect to see the squad used in The Europa League and Capital One Cup. Kieran Trippier and Kevin Wimmer must be itching to get a game!
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