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Match Reports
West Bromwich Albion v Spurs, 25.08.04

FA BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP
WEDNESDAY 25TH AUGUST, 2004
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1)

West Brom scorer:-
Gera, 3

Spurs scorer:-
Defoe, 34

Referee:- Barrie Knight

Attendance:- 27,191

Teams:-
West Brom (4-4-2):- Hoult; Scimeca, Purse, Gaardsoe, Robinson; Gera (Moore 81), Johnson (Dyer 54), Clement, Greening; Horsfield (Dobie 61), Kanu.

Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Albrechtsen.

No Bookings

Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Pamarot, Naybet, King, Edman; Redknapp (Capt.) (Brown 78), Davis, Mendes, Atouba (Jackson 88); Defoe (Keane 67), Kanoute.
(Captain's armband to King when Redknapp substituted)

Subs Not Used: Keller, Gardner.

No Bookings

Both teams and all their connections could hold their heads high last night, as an entertaining and well-fought game ended in a creditable draw, maintaining unbeaten records in their three Premiership games so far. For West Brom, it was their third consecutive 1-1 draw, and they were clearly eager to get that elusive first win, which would also be their first win over Spurs in 6 games over 20 years, having last beaten Spurs in November 1984 by the odd goal in five.

Spurs had been taken by surprise in the third minute when new signing Hungarian Zoltan Gera got goalside of Naybet, to put the home side in the lead, but despite one or two scares, it was Spurs who had the better of the game overall, and who could so easily have gone back down the motorway with the three points. For the fourth consecutive game, Spurs had a player making his debut, and tonight it was right back Noe Pamarot, replacing Phil Ifil, in an otherwise unchanged line-up. Pamarot took a while to settle to the pace of the English game, but in the second half, he made a number of well-timed tackles and interventions, to come away felling positive vibes from the fans.

For me, the player of the season so far for Spurs has to be Sean Davis, who was so, so good last night. He really is a dynamo, tackling hard (and importantly winning often), passing and moving well, and getting into great creative positions. Davis deserved a goal last night, and so nearly got that reward, being thwarted by Hoult during a hectic start after half-time, when Spurs should have clinched the game. Robbie Keane has healed quickly as usual, and came off the bench for Jermain Defoe, who may have picked up a thigh strain, but I suspect was taken off as a precaution.

The "Baggies" of course featured that man Kanu, roundly booed for his former connections by the visiting army of fans. Mention should be made her of the fact that there had been a clamour of interest for away tickets for this match, as the new wave of optimism flows above the Lilywhites (or should I say all-yellow, as worn tonight). It has to be said that Kanu was again impressive, and will be a great signing for West Brom. Horsfield and Greening, amongst others, have Premiership pedigree of course, and it looks like Gera will excite the fans all season.

West Brom had already won an early corner in front of the away fans, when those fans and the Tottenham team were taken aback by that third minute goal. Spurs had cleared and were advancing out of their area, when the clearance was headed straight back over the defence by right-back Scimeca. Naybet was just wrong-footed and the wrong side of Gera, who raced into the area, and fired a shot across Robinson's outstretched right hand into the far corner. Gera even had the audacity to do a Robbie Keane style celebration!

The initial onslaught continued and in the 12th minute, Naybet and Ledley King had a battle with Horsfield, as he single-mindedly headed towards the goal. It was Ledley who got the vital foot in to clear with ease in the end.

Fredi Kanoute made a great run past three defenders to get into the West Brom area, but his final touch was lacking. Kanu tried the same thing at the other end, cutting the ball back into the area, but the Spurs defence was on top of things this time. After 21 minutes, following great skill from Atouba down the left, Mendes had a great shot deflected for a corner. Following a Davis-Defoe combination, Mendes then had another chance but fired over. Mid-way through the half, Spurs broke from their own half and Defoe carried the ball, hitting a good shot that hit the side netting, bringing cheers from the Spurs fans, who thought they had a goal to celebrate. A few minutes later, Davis hit a low shot, saved by Hoult, who also saved from Defoe following up.

Robinson had to advance to the edge of his area, and make a decision like the one at Newcastle against Jenas, when Kanu, fed by Greening, advanced down the left. Kanu's pass went nowhere, and another threat was over. Then came the well-deserved Spurs equaliser.Atouba had started the move, and Defoe had a one-two with Kanoute, before hitting a low, left footed shot beneath Hoult, who probably should have done better with the shot.

Spurs had a bit of an escape before the break, when, first of all a shot hit the post, then Robinson saved at short range, before Kanu put in a delicate overhead kick, only to then see the offside flag, which may have gone up before the first shot! Whatever the case, there were thousands of sighs of relief at the Spurs end.

Spurs came out with even greater desire after the break, and it was a Davis ball, dummied by Redknapp that reached Defoe at the back post on the right, hitting a rising shot that curled slightly outwards and rebounded off the post, with Hoult beaten. Very shortly, Davis himself had that chance, made by Atouba, when he shot from a similar position towards the roof of the net, only for Hoult to push the ball over two-handed.

Perhaps West Brom's last real chance came after 51 minutes, when Kanu led a break out, sending Horsfield away on a run, with Mendes left to try and make up the ground. Robinson advanced too, and looked to save at Horsfield's feet. The striker was after a pen, but the ball rebounded off him, and went for a goal kick. Edman started to get forward more in this period, and after one cross was cleared, Atouba made it to the bye-line, sending a good low cross in, saved by Hoult's legs. The game lost its rhythm somewhat, as both sides used all their subs. Robbie Keane was involved in a couple of break-away attacks, which fizzled out, ad it was game over. There was one blatant foul upon Kanoute outside the box, where he was literally pulled backwards to the floor, ignored by Barrie Knight, who famously failed to give Spurs a decision of note in our home game against Birmingham in January till the 75th minute! To his credit, Mr.. Knight did not get his cards out tonight. The nearest he came to showing yellow was when he had words with Pamarot and West Brom's left back, Robinson.

Mr. Knight will NOT be refereeing this Saturday's game against Birmingham at White Hart Lane. Spurs lie fifth at this very early stage of the season, and a win on Saturday will make it a VERY good start indeed for the lauded "Jacques Santini's Blue and White Army"!

Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
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