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Match Reports
Spurs v West Bromwich Albion, 20.04.05

FA BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP
WEDNESDAY 20TH APRIL, 2005
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0) WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1 (1)

Spurs scorer:-
Keane, 52

West Brom scorer:-
Gera, 24

Attendance: - 35,885

Referee: - Mr. C. Foy

Teams:-
Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Kelly, Dawson, King (Capt.), Edman (sub Atouba, 46); Davies, Davis (sub Mido, 46), Carrick, Reid; Defoe (sub Ziegler, 74), Keane

Subs not used: - Cerny; Marney

Booked: - Dawson, Reid

West Brom (4-4-2):- Hoult; Scimeca, Gaardsoe, Clement, Robinson; Gera, Wallwork, Chaplow, Richardson (sub Inamoto, 22); Campbell (Capt.) (sub Moore, 59), Kanu (sub Earnshaw, 82)

Subs not used: - Kuszcak; Albrechtsen

No bookings

Neither side got all they hoped for in this game, but both got enough for their hopes to continue Ė at least till the next game! West Bromís well deserved point was sufficient to lift them back out of the bottom three on a night when the relegation battle became more compacted, as Norwich beat Newcastle to get within two points of survival. Whilst Spurs and their fans will be very disappointed that they have failed again to beat relegation candidates, they held on to 7th place Ė two points clear of their rivals. Any better than 7th would seem to be beyond Spurs now, but those UEFA chances remain.

Spurs made just one change from Saturdayís starting line up, and that was for the absence of Fredi Kanoute, with both Keane and Defoe starting. The resulting lack of height has not led to decent results with these two starting, and the first half performance of most of the team suggested they had not realised the size of their task against a West Brom side that was in the top six in the league on current (6 game) form.

Bryan Robson had to make changes, with Greening suspended and replaced by Richardson, who only lasted 22 minutes. The Baggies played with a verve and confidence belying their situation, and if they can maintain their form, they must surely be favourites for survival. There was danger for Spurs from the start, when Kanuís shot following a ball from the left was blocked, rebounding to Gera, who fired wide of Robinsonís left post. Michael Dawson, who had another impressive game, got an early yellow card for a challenge on Richardson. From an 8th minute free kick Neil Clementís shot went wide of the same post. Spurs had yet to make any impression, and the strong contingent of West Brom fans were poised for a goal.

Spursí best chance of the first half came from a near own goal, when Carrickís chip into the area following a free kick was headed by a defender towards the goal, and Hoult had to stretch to tip the ball over. West Bromís goal came from a disputed corner, which was only half cleared. Gera was in space only 15 yards out, and hit a confident shot to the right of Robinson, to start a somersaulting celebration, which he had also demonstrated in the League game at The Hawthorns in August. On that day, Jermain Defoe had equalised for Spurs, but tonight he struggled to stay onside for a lot of the time.

Sean Davis looked sluggish in the middle, and when Carrick did make his mark on the game it was with defensive interventions that were crucial, rather than incisive forward passes. Chaplow had a great chance to score from Kanuís cross, but Paul Robinson saved well for a corner. Spurs only other chance before the break came when Kelly headed over Reidís 35th minute corner.

Martin Jol is nothing if not bold, and made a great switch at the break. Edman was replaced by Atouba, who not only filled the left back slot, but got forward and got into the area to add the necessary aerial threat. He was joined by Mido, who took Davisís place. Spurs adopted a 4-3-3 style, with Keane on the right and Defoe on the left, and Davies and Reid either side of Carrick. Mido had a great start, winning in the air then playing down the line. His cross was defended poorly, and Mido himself took up the challenge, leaving Gaardsoe and Wallwork in his wake, as he hit a shot into the side netting. A Reid shot that was going out anyway was deflected nearer the goal for a corner, from which three Spurs players got touches but no clear chance to score. With the West Brom defence still struggling to come to terms with Spurs new-found vigour, Kingís floated ball from the left was headed out under a Mido challenge, falling to Robbie Keane about 15 yards out. Keane hit a great left foot shot to beat Hoult, and do his own trademark celebration in front of the North Stand.

Within a minute though, West Brom were threatening, as Inamoto hit a shot from an angle on the right, touched out by Robinson for another corner. Simon Davies hit th4e side netting for Spurs after good work from Reid and Kelly down the right side. Now Robson took off his skipper and added another defender to stem the Spurs tide. Atouba won a free kick on the left, taken by Reid. Atouba had raced into the area, and from the back, crossed the ball back for Keane, whose shot was just wide. We still werenít making the opposition keeper work enough.

With 25 minutes to go, Simon Davies ran from his own half to lead a break. Kelly passed inside and Reid tried an audacious 35 yarder that was only just outside the post. At the other end, in front of his travelling fans, Gera had a good effort, turning with his back to goal to test Robinson with a good shot from a sharp angle. The ball actually ran wide, but it gave plenty of food for thought! Defoe was replaced by Reto Ziegler, who tried a shot from 25 yards out, after receiving Reidís pass. Hoult held the low shot well. Zieglerís free kick was collected by Atouba at the back of the box again, and returned to the centre, where Mido was adjudged to have got the touch that sent the ball over, where Spurs players claimed a corner. Atouba himself got a late header from a Carrick corner, but that was off target too. West Brom comfortably saw out injury time, and in fact Andy Reid got a yellow card for a cynical challenge at the half way line as Spurs had been committed to attack.

West Brom go to out of form Middlesbrough on Saturday and could do us a favour by taking three points, whilst we have to try and get something Ė anything Ė at Highbury next Monday night.

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