BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
MONDAY 25th APRIL, 2016
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1) WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1(0)
Dawson (o.g), 33
West Brom scorer:-
Referee:- Mike Jones (not Robert Madley as published)
Assistants:- P. Kirkup & C. Hatzidakis
Fourth Official:- R. East
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier (sub Mason, 75), Dembele; Lamela (sub Son, 85), Alli (sub Chadli, 90), Eriksen; Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Davies; Carroll
West Brom (4-2-3-1):- Myhill; Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Evans; Fletcher (Capt.), Yacob; Sessegnon (sub Sandro, 90), Gardner, McLean, Rondon
Subs not used:- Palmer; Chester, Leko, Roberts, Anichebe, Lambert
Booked:- Evans (foul on Lamela)
Spurs' title hopes lifted and dashed - by a man called Dawson.
Spurs hopes of a first Premier League title were all but finished, after West Brom's Craig Dawson got the unwanted credit for the own goal which gave Spurs a deserved first half lead, before the same player redeemed himself with a 73rd minute equaliser. Yes, a man called Dawson just about ended our title dreams. Now that's #spursy!
Mathematically, it is not quite all over for Spurs, but they do need Leicester to lose at least one and draw the remainder of their games, whilst we would need to win all three of our games. We cannot afford Leicester to get more than two points from their matches.
Spurs hit the woodwork three times during the game, but they didn't hit the target often enough, and they didn't work goalkeeper Boaz Myhill hard enough. First choice keeper Ben Foster is unavailable, and there was also no sign anywhere of former Spurs target Saido Berahino.
West Brom manager Tony Pulis set his side up to soak up the anticipated Spurs pressure, which was duly applied. At times Spurs played their neatest football, moving the ball from their own half so swiftly and often skilfully. Too often they would be blocked by the banks of Pulis defenders. Pulis and his men have integrity, and determination, if not the skill to keep a team like Spurs at bay.
Mauricio Pochettino was again able to field an unchanged side, which dominated the early proceedings. West Brom had kicked off towards the Paxton End, but spent a lot of time pegged in their own half in front of their own fans.
A third minute free kick taken by Christian Eriksen was saved by Myhill at his bottom right corner. Three minutes later, PFA young player of the year Dele Alli stole the ball and fed it swiftly to Eriksen who in turn passed to Kane on his right. Myhill got a touch to Kane's shot, pushing it against the outside of his right post, conceding a corner.
Danny Rose was fouled just outside the box, and Eriksen's kick just skimmed the top of the bar on the left of goal. After a Spurs throw on the left after 19 minutes, Harry Kane had a chance, hitting a right footed shot, which was saved by Myhill low to his left. I seem to remember Myhill holding out against Spurs when playing for Hull a few years ago.
West Brom did start to appear in the Spurs half, and Craig Gardner hit a shot well over the target when the ball was crossed from the right.
At last, in the 33rd minute, Spurs got their deserved reward for their early domination. Eriksen swung in a free kick from the right, and initially the goal was claimed and announced as Vertonghen's, but in fact Craig Dawson had sent the ball past his own keeper with Vertonghen applying pressure.
Towards the end of the half, referee Mike Jones (a late replacement for Robert Madley) had "words" with Kyle Walker and Salomon Rondon over a tangle on Spurs' right flank.
Hugo Lloris had work to do after Mousa Dembele was penalised after 52 minutes, holding a deflected Gardner free kick.
West Brom were getting on the attack more, and after 57 minutes Spurs broke well from their own half, with Dele Alli sending Eriksen forward. Eriksen advanced down the left side and crossed to Lamela, whose effort rebounded off the inside of Myhill's left post. Harry Kane's attempt to follow up was blocked.
Former Manchester United defender Jonny Evans got the only booking of the night for preventing Lamela's advance.
Spurs had a warning when Rondon headed wide from Gardner's cross. More clever play by Spurs from the back ended with Dele Alli's ball to Eriksen, who hit a shot just outside Myhill's left post. Harry Kane was fouled after 66 minutes, and after Eriksen's free kick was cleared, Dembele also had shot go outside the left post.
Goalkeeper Myhill advanced outside his box to head clear from the threat of Eriksen after another Alli ball.
West Brom got a not entirely unexpected equaliser after Lloris made a good save from Rondon's right footer, before Dawson headed home Gardner's corner.
Eric Dier got injured in this episode and had to be replaced by Ryan Mason. After a foul on Dembele, when Yacob required treatment, Eriksen hit his free kick well over.
Pochettino pulled the stops out with two late attacking substitutions in the shape of Son Heung-min and Chadli, but the visitors offered just as much threat as Spurs in the closing phase of the game.
The Spurs crowd had urged on their team to no avail, and there is still a little work for Spurs to do to mathematically secure Champions League football. One win will do that, and also secure a top three finish. However, the dream of a league title has surely eluded us this year.
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