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Spurs v Stoke City, 24.10.09


Whelan, 86

Referee: - Mr. Lee Probert

Attendance: - 36,031

Spurs (4-4-2):- Gomes; Corluka, Woodgate (Sub Dawson, 13), Bassong, Ekotto; Lennon, Huddlestone (sub Jenas, 70), Palacios, Kranjcar; Crouch, Keane (Capt.) (Sub Pavlyuchenko, 62) (Armband to Huddlestone, then to Jenas)

Subs not used: - Cudicini; Hutton, Naughton; Bale

No Bookings

Stoke (4-4-2):- Simonsen; Wilkinson, Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye (Capt.), Collins; Delap (sub Whelan, 57), Whitehead, Diao, Etherington; Fuller (sub Higginbotham, 89), Beattie (sub Tuncay Sanli, 70)

Subs not used: - Cort, Lawrence, Pugh, Kitson

Booked: - Beattie (Dissent), Whelan (foul on Lennon), Diao (foul on Jenas)

Sub Whelan torpedoes Spurs

It was a banana skin day for Spurs, as what had looked like a very winnable game turned into disaster when Stoke substitute Glenn Whelan latched onto Fuller’s cross and whacked home a shot across Gomes to give Stoke their first away win of the season, and leading to great celebrations in the south-west corner of the ground. Spurs remain third for the day, but that will change at the end of the week-end, and with a trip to The Emirates next week it looks more and more like the Europa league will be our realistic target. As for Stoke they sit comfortably in the top half only 4 points behind Spurs.

The result was a shock though, and undeserved, as Spurs had many chances to secure the points, particularly in the first half. James Beattie caused little problem in attack, but saved his team with an acrobatic goal-line clearance from a Crouch header. Niko Kranjcar also hit the post, and sub keeper Simonsen made a number of flying saves. Simonsen had been called into action due to a late injury to Sorensen, and that left Stoke with no substitute keeper.

Harry Redknapp’s team selection did not pay off today either. There was no sign of Ledley King, and his replacement Jonathan Woodgate only lasted 13 minutes, having to be replaced by Michael Dawson. Jenas might have been a better choice to start rather than Tom Huddlestone, who is well in favour with Harry, having started every game so far this season. Huddlestone surprisingly received the Captain’s armband when Keane was substituted, and then passed it to Jenas when he was also replaced.

It did not help Spurs cause when Aaron Lennon hobbled off the pitch, after suffering through Whelan’s tackle, seemingly deciding for himself that he could take no further part in the game. Spurs had used all three subs, and the winning goal was scored against ten men.

Stoke gave Spurs a difficult situation soon after the start after a throw and cross from the left by Etherington which passed across the goal mouth and wide. Shortly after that they won a corner, which Spurs had to defend with Woodgate off the pitch receiving treatment for a head wound. It was this wound which ultimately led to Woodgate having to go off. Spurs first chance came after 6 minutes, when Lennon collected a loose ball making a good cross to the middle of goal, where Crouch’s effort as held by Simonsen. A few minutes later after good play by Huddlestone, Corluka and Lennon, Crouch had a shot saved by the keeper for a corner. After the corner, Simonsen saved again from a Crouch header towards the far post, before Palacios fired over from the ensuing corner.

Kranjcar tried a right foot shot after 16 minutes, which was held at the second attempt by Simonsen. Mid-way through the half, Huddlestone, Lennon and Kranjcar combined before Lennon took the ball inside and tried a right footed shot, which the busy Stoke keeper saved. Even Bassong had an effort after a cross from the right reached him beyond the back post, but he fired well wide of the mark. Huddlestone took a quick free kick after 26 minutes and Lennon sent over a deep high cross which Crouch headed back across the goal. The keeper was beaten but Beattie was inside the post to rescue his side with an overhead kick. A minute later Kranjcar’s shot had Simonsen beaten all ends up, but the ball hit the outside of the post.

Stoke finally had another attack worthy of mention and Diao tried a shot which Gomes covered. Beattie got booked for dissent, perhaps because he wanted a corner. Two minutes before the break, after a great run by Lennon, Palacios lifted a ball over the top aimed at Keane, but the goalkeeper retrieved the ball.

It looked as if it was a matter of time before Spurs would get a deserved goal or two, and they carried on where they had left off after the break, with another Lennon run ending in a foul, then good play from Kranjcar, Crouch and Keane before Kranjcar took another free kick which Simonsen held. Dawson sent a good long ball to Lennon, who passed inside for Robbie Keane to shoot from the near post. The keeper saved and Crouch’s follow-up was blocked, falling to Ekotto, who fired over.

There was a good tussle between Palacios and Beattie before Ekotto crossed the ball deep, and Lennon fed it to Huddlestone, who shot wide from 25 yards. There had been plenty of long throws from Delap, but he was replaced by Whelan after 56 minutes. Huddlestone took a corner which was met by a strong Dawson header, saved by the keeper. Corluka followed up weakly, and this time Simonsen was able to hold the ball. Keane was replaced by Roman Pavlyuchenko who did have a right foot shot over the bar following a Spurs throw, but made little other headway.

Stoke were getting men behind the ball, and tackling hard, hoping for a goal on the break. Tuncay replaced Beattie and Jenas replaced Huddlestone in the middle for Spurs. With Crouch threatening, Simonsen was able to turn away another Lennon cross for a corner. Jenas took a Spurs free kick but hit it straight down the keeper’s throat. Then Lennon disappeared down the tunnel to the dismay of Harry Redknapp. Spurs were now in a little disarray, and Lennon had been working down the left side at the time, which is where the Stoke threat and goal came. They had one shot across the goalmouth, before the powerful Fuller left Ekotto behind and passed inside to Whelan to score the deciding goal.

Spurs only other chance was in added time, when Kranjcar was fouled in the box by Salif Diao, but no penalty was awarded.

It was a great day for “The Potters” but Spurs need to do some re-modelling. Harry Redknapp called it one of those days. I’d call it a sickener.

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