BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
MONDAY 23RD FEBRUARY, 2009
HULL CITY 1 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1)
Referee:- Mr. Lee Probert
Hull (4-4-2):- Duke; Ricketts, Turner, Gardner, Dawson; Marney, Ashbee (Capt.), Zayatte (sub Geovanni, 86), Kilbane; Cousin (sub Mendy, 66), Garcia (sub Manucho, 78)
Subs not used:- Myhill; Doyle; Barmby, Halmosi
Booked:- Dawson, Ashbee
Spurs (4-4-2):- Cudicini; Corluka, Woodgate (sub Dawson, 88), King, Ekotto; Lennon (sub Zokora, 86), Jenas, Palacios, Modric; Keane (Capt.), Bent (sub Pavlyuchenko, 71)
Subs not used:- Gomes; Chimbonda; Bentley, Huddlestone
Woody the late hero for Spurs!
Almost one year to the day since he scored the crucial extra time winner at Wembley in last year’s Carling Cup Final, Jonathan Woodgate stepped up with four minutes of normal time remaining to score what could be just as crucial a goal. Woodgate’s headed goal from a super cross by Ekotto gave Spurs a vital win that lifted them to 14th place, and allowed them a comfort zone this week-end while they have to miss a league game due to this year’s Carling Cup Final.
Spurs had gone ahead in an almost packed KC Stadium, before being pegged back by Michael Turner’s goal after a howler by Cudicini that easily matched any mistake that Gomes has made this season. Hull had the better of the first half, but Spurs came out for the second half in determined fashion, putting the hosts under pressure without managing to convert their chances. Spurs were easily the best side in that second half, but it was the sort of game where so often we have seen opponents score late winners, and the match could have gone either way.
Jermaine Jenas was the only survivor from the team that started in Donetsk, and it was weird to see the team led out by Robbie Keane despite the return of club captain Ledley King. Michael Dawson was again denied the chance to play against his brother, but did get a few minutes at the end of the game, replacing Woodgate who had sustained a head injury after his goal.
Hull included two former Spurs – Anthony Gardner at centre back, and Dean Marney on the right of midfield. Both had excellent games, and with Nicky Barmby also on the bench, a certain law suggested that one of the three would score against their old team.
Luke Modric was being asked to play on the left of midfield, and made little headway in the first half. It was Hull who had the first chance, when Garcia had a shot blocked after a corner, which Spurs failed to defend convincingly. Andy Dawson was subject to “words” from the referee after a late challenge on the ever-exciting Aaron Lennon, and it wasn’t long before Dawson was forced to foul again, leading to his yellow card.
There was a bit of a mix up in the Spurs defence as Woodgate’s backward header deceived Cudicini, who was too far out, and had to chase back to rescue the ball. Having suffered some early pressure, Spurs took the lead with a goal of real quality. Ekotto sent the ball down the left channel from his own half, and Robbie Keane curled it onward for Bent to chase and force a corner. Modric took a short corner (one of many on the night), and he and Keane worked the ball across to Lennon, poised about 20 yards out. Lennon hit a great curling shot inside the goal to the right of the helpless Duke.
From the re-start, Hull threatened and Cudicini closed down Zayatte, with Corluka in pursuit of the midfielder. Cudicini then made a save from Marney, before Corluka gave away a somewhat cheap corner, when he could have left the ball to run out of play. It was from the second corner after this incident that Hull equalised, as Cudicini came for the ball, fumbled and let it run to Turner who provided the easy finishing touch. Gomes has come in for a lot of stick from the press and some fans this season for lesser sins than this. Danny Cousin had a decent effort go just over the corner stanchion to the left of Cudicini.
With five minutes to go before the break, Ricketts and Marney broke forward for Hull. Ekotto gave Ricketts a little too much room, and the move ended with Ricketts heading wide Marney’s cross.
After the break, Spurs played with purpose, but just could not make their domination or pressure count. Jenas won a corner, and after a spell of possession, Bent had a really good effort with a shot on the turn which was held by the keeper. There was a scramble in the Spurs area after a Hull corner, but Spurs came back with a lay off by Keane to Palacios, who hit a blistering shot that was somehow blocked, either by Gardner or the Hull keeper. Palacios had been rather quiet in the first half, but now he was displaying the skill and tenacity we had seen from him against Arsenal two weeks ago.
After 54 minutes, Duke made a poor clearance due to pressure by Bent, and Robbie Keane actually had more time than he realised before firing wide. Spurs hit the bar with a Corluka header from a Modric free kick, but Hull also hit the woodwork after a corner in the 77th minute. In the nervous finale, Modric and Lennon worked another short corner on the right, and eventually the ball reached Ekotto on the opposite flank. Ekotto did well to round the defence and float in a lovely cross to the back post where Woodgate guided his header beyond Duke in front of the Spurs fans.
Harry immediately sought to batten down the hatches, with Zokora replacing Lennon, and two minutes later Dawson had to replace Woody. Spurs held out for the four minutes of added time, and with Middlesbrough at home next Wednesday and Sunderland away on March 7th, have chances to really ease the relegation blues
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