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West Bromwich Albion v Spurs, 29.01.05

FA CUP RD 4
SATURDAY 29TH JANUARY, 2005
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1)

West Brom scorer:-
Earnshaw, 17

Spurs scorer:-
Defoe (pen), 31

Referee:- Mark Halsey

Attendance:- 22,441

Teams:-
West Brom (4-4-2):- Hoult; Albrechtsen, Purse (Capt.), Clement, Robinson; Gera, Scimeca, Wallwork, Greening; Kanu (sub Horsfield, 78), Earnshaw (sub Campbell, 78)

Subs not used:- Kuszczak; Gaardsoe; O'Connor

No bookings

Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Kelly, King (Capt.), Gardner, Edman; Davies (sub Marney, 74), Brown, Carrick, Atouba; Kanoute, Defoe (sub Keane, 74)

Subs not used:- Fulop; Bunjevcevic, Pamarot

Booked:- Atouba

There were quite a few empty seats around the country for FA Cup day today, and 5,000 less people bothered to go to The Hawthorns today than the crowd for the league game between these two sides in August. A quarter of today's crowd was made up of an army of some 5,600 Spurs fans, who hoped for traditional Tottenham Cup fayre. Sadly the travelling fans were not treated to a performance worthy of their dedication, as Bryan Robson's rejuvenated West Brom side continued to play with more skill and confidence than that seen until their recent games.

It was a little surprising to see that new signing Kevin Campbell was left on the bench in favour of Kanu, who has failed to impress so far for The Baggies, but no doubt both team coaches have more than half an eye on their Tuesday Premiership fixtures. West Brom face relegation rivals Crystal Palace, whilst Spurs will play at Bolton. Hopefully, Martin Jol will re-instate Nourredine Naybet, and Pedro Mendes, both sorely missed from today's line-up, in my view. Gardner flounders more than a little these days, and despite the return of Michael Brown to the midfield, a total of 6 changes to the Spurs starting line-up ensured a lack of rhythm, and a failure to serve up the type of football seen until the New Year's Day thrashing of Everton. Apart from the scraped win against Brighton in the last round of this competition, Spurs have failed to win a game since Everton. (Unless of course you count "the goal that wasn't" at Old Trafford)

Simon Davies made his first start since November 6th, and had one of the few golden chances for Spurs to score in the second half. Indeed, Spurs could have finished the tie of today, but a draw was a fair result, as the home side had the best of the first half, and a couple of good chances around the hour mark. Home fans claim they were cheated by Defoe, who was awarded a penalty for Purse's challenge, but replays have shown the decision to be justified.

Stephen Kelly was given the task, and generally failed to mark Jonathan Greening on the left for the home side, and Greening got in several early threatening crosses. Robinson got up well to collect an eighth minute cross after Kelly and another defender were left stranded, and two minutes later Rob Earnshaw was so nearly the beneficiary, as he hit his shot first time low into Robinson's arms. West Brom's Hungarian star, Zoltan Gera, who scored against us in the league game, then hit a low cross from the right, hit by Earnshaw straight to Robinson, who was unruffled by this effort.

Up to this point, Spurs had hardly got into the opponent's half, and also failed to get a grip of the ball in the middle, which they struggled to do throughout the game. Credit must be given to Scimeca and Wallwork for seeing to that, keeping Carrick under wraps, and Brown subdued, apart from two or three decent passes. Spurs at last created something on the quarter hour, as Kanoute won a high ball, slipped it to Defoe, who did hit a shot on target. Then Earnshaw hit the top of the bar with a shot at close range. We could see the goal coming, and come it did in the 17th minute, as Wallwork's short chipped ball had the beating of Gardner, and Earnshaw got between him and Robinson, hitting the ball into the net with both feet off the ground.

It took a while for Spurs to compose themselves, and mid-way through the first half Robinson hit a free kick, headed by Kanoute to Defoe, flicked back but hit far too wide by Kanoute. A few minutes later, Michael Brown seemed to be fouled on the edge of the box, but Mark Halsey played an advantage as Davies hit a soft shot to the keeper. The penalty incident came as Defoe controlled a Carrick ball and as he turned, Purse went to ground, taking Defoe down with him. The referee was behind the play, but I don't see how he could not give the penalty, which Defoe fired low to the right of Hoult with relish. Earnshaw got one more chance before the break, as Greening passed Kelly again, crossed and the striker hit the ball over from close range. Home connections claim they should have had a penalty for a tug of Earnshaw's shirt, but like a certain manager of another North London side, I didn't see the incident, although this play took place directly in front of me.

Three minutes after the interval, you'd have put money on Jermain Defoe to double his goal tally, with the sort of chance he rarely misses. Brown had sent a great ball from the half-way line to Davies, who threaded a quick ball to Defoe inside the area, to the right side with the goal at his mercy. Under little pressure Jermain fired a good two yards wide. Defoe was felled just outside the area 6 minutes later, getting nothing out of Mr. Halsey, and at the other end Kanu tested Robinson with a long range effort. Another good ball from Brown was headed into Defoe's path in a similar position to that chance he missed, and this time his goal-bound shot was deflected for a corner. Now the home side had two great chances in quick succession, as Greening hit the bottom of the post, and then Kanu jinked into the box, hitting a shot that brought a great save from Paul Robinson.

Simon Davies could and should have scored as Defoe crossed from the left, and Davies had a clear header at close range which he managed to put wide, with Kanoute also breathing down his neck for a sniff at goal. Davies and Defoe were substituted shortly after that, but Robbie Keane did no better, having a couple of runs into the area, but being forced out to tight angles. In the closing minutes, Spurs had one more chance, as Carrick found Keane, who had beaten the offside flag, passing to Marney, whose shot flew over the bar by a couple of feet.

So, the two teams must do it all over again, but not till Saturday 12th February, as an England Friendly has taken precedence over Cup Replay dates, thus putting the Premiership programme out of kilter too. Our away game at Charlton will have to be re-arranged.

There was no sign of any new recruits today, but one imagines that Mido, El Hamdaoui and Cerny may all travel to Bolton. Rumours still abound that we have not finished our transfer business yet, and even Harry Redknapp was quoted as saying he thought Spurs would sign Andy Reid - not Southampton!

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