BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 12TH APRIL, 2014,
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 3 (3) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (1)
West Brom scorers:-
Olsson (o.g.), 34
Referee:- Neil Swarbrick
Assistants:- L Betts & A Halliday
Fourth official:- K Friend
West Brom (4-2-3-1):- Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson (sub Dawson, 78), Ridgewell; Mulumbu, Dorrans; Amalfitano, Sessegnon (sub Yacob, 58), Brunt (Capt.); Vydra (sub Berahino, 72)
Subs not used:- Myhill; Jones, Koulossa, Anichebe
Booked:- Dorrans (foul on Lennon), Reid (foul on Kane), Ridgewell (foul on Naughton), Foster (time)
Spurs (4-4-2):- Lloris; Naughton, Chiriches (sub Fryers, 46), Kaboul (Capt.), Rose (sub Townsend, 85); Lennon, Paulinho, Chadli (sub Sigurdsson, 78), Eriksen; Kane, Adebayor
Subs not used:- Friedel; Veljkovic; Winks, Bentaleb
Booked:- Rose (simulation), Eriksen (foul on Dorrans)
High drama at The Hawthorns
The Hawthorns is known to be the highest altitude Football League ground, and for the second consecutive home game “Baggies” fans witnessed high drama where their opponents came back at the very death of the game to secure a 3-3 draw. For Spurs, it can hardly be said there was any glory associated with their come-back from a three goal deficit, but a point is better than a thrashing, which had looked very much on the cards after West Brom went two up within the first four minutes! For the moment, with Manchester United not playing until Easter Sunday, Spurs retain sixth place. However, United have a far superior goal difference than we do. In fact they have a goal difference which is positive, which we don’t!
As for West Brom, they are still very much immersed in the battle for survival, with both Fulham and Cardiff winning today and gaining ground on those immediately above them, which now include Norwich, West Brom, Swansea and even Aston Villa, who lost at Crystal Palace.
It turned out that Tim Sherwood did not have many options regarding his team selection, with so many players still injured, so he started with the same team as that which started against Sunderland, with even rookie Harry Winks required on the bench, along with Milos Veljkovic, who had made a brief debut as substitute against Sunderland. Spurs lined up in a 4-4-2, with Paulinho on the right of Chadli.
The game kicked off at 3.07 pm, as did all other 3 o’clock games, with a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for the 25th anniversary of Hillsborough. At the end of the silence, which WAS observed respectfully inside the ground, Spurs fans were roundly booed by the nearest West Brom fans, who could hear some Spurs fans chanting, but this was either in the concourse or the enclosure outside the ground. Perhaps a steward could have reminded those fans what was going on inside.
Those home fans did not have long to wait before cheering the first goal, which came after only half a minute. Spurs are maintaining their form regarding giving away the lead at an early stage, and getting quicker at it too. It happened in the second minute at Anfield, and in the first minute here. Spurs were well and truly caught cold on their left flank, when Amalfitano got the better of Danny Rose, and hit a powerful cross from just inside the corner flag. Hugo Lloris did his best, but could only parry the ball out and Matej Vydra was the quickest to latch onto the ball gleefully firing home. Vydra had such an impressive season last year on loan (his home club is Udinese), but he hasn’t had so much exposure this season at West Brom. Vydra is sharp, but could be seen visibly tiring even in the first half, so it was no surprise to see him replaced in the second half by another young player – Berahino.
The dust had hardly settled after that first goal, before Spurs disastrously conceded a second. Another cross from the right was poorly defended in the middle by Spurs, and Brunt had all the time in the world, beyond the back post to measure his shot across Lloris into the back of the net.
The team was shell-shocked, and so were the fans who already went into a chorus of “We want our Tottenham back”, soon to be followed by “We want Levy out”. Spurs started finding their way into their opponents half, and first Harry Kane pulled a right footed shot outside Foster’s right post. Kane met a Danny Rose cross at the near post, but the ball went out for a goal kick.
Spurs won a penalty after 14 minutes, when Danny Rose was fouled by Amalfitano. Adebayor stepped up, but hit an absolute soft shocker into Foster’s arms. There was to be no come-back yet. Lloris made a good save from Amalfitano’s shot after the right winger had been fed the ball by Mulumbu. Paulinho had a right footed shot held by Foster, moving to his right. Eriksen was getting involved in the game, but I didn’t spot much from Chadli in all the game really.
Things got disastrously worse. Younes Kaboul was in an advanced position near the half way line, and for some reason chose to back-head the ball further into his own half. Chiriches was closer to goal than his opponent Sessegnon, but still lost out in the race for the ball and for the goal. Sessegnon was given a free run, and fired past Lloris, who was otherwise unprotected.
Spurs did get a goal back three minutes later. Eriksen started the move, with a ball to Kane who passed outside to Naughton. Naughton’s cross/shot took a severe deflection off Olsson, who gets the credit for beating his keeper. It’s the fourth own goal scored for us in Premier League games this season. Soon afterwards, Eriksen and Paulinho sparked a move from the right, when Paulinho’s cross was met by Danny Rose at the far post, but saved.
Vydra made a good run down the left flank for West Brom, and cleverly flicked the ball to Brunt, who fired wide of the far post. At half-time, Vlad Chiriches was replaced by Zeki Fryers. Chiriches had looked as if he was way off match fitness, especially losing that race for the third goal by West Brom.
Spurs dominated possession in the second half, and Fryers did a competent job beside Kaboul. Naughton hit a ball across the area, with both Paulinho and Kane challenging, but it reached Rose, who shot wide across the goal. An Eriksen long free kick from the left side was parried out of play for a corner by Foster, who had a busy half. Danny Rose went down in the box, when he was able to go round the last man, and was booked for simulation, when I think he might have been hard done by. Why he should go down, with the area at his mercy, I don’t know.
Spurs started to draw fouls, and West Brom attracted yellow cards. Manager Pepe Mel took a more defensive stance with Yacob replacing Sessegnon. Eriksen and Adebayor combined to get the ball to Naughton, who crossed, with Harry Kane getting close. Kane got close again to an excellent through ball by Paulinho from an angle on the left of the box. Finally, Harry got his second Premier League goal in as many games when Naughton and Chadli fed the ball to Lennon, whose cross was headed home from close range by Kane, with a defender possibly getting a touch. It was game on!
Vydra was now replaced by Berahino, but he cut an isolated figure as Spurs mounted attack after attack. Danny Rose scooped the ball over, when to score would have been easier, after another Lennon cross, and a touch by Adebayor. Rose was replaced late on by Andros Townsend, whose ability to take on defenders on the left flank ultimately proved crucial to Spurs’ equaliser. We had six minutes of added time, and it was in the fourth minute, after Townsend’s industry and success; Adebayor’s determination and a pass to Eriksen, who fired home a beautiful shot from the left of the area. We wanted a winner, but that didn’t quite come.
Statistically, I suppose you have to say it was a heroic draw, but after the disastrous start, it is difficult to feel real satisfaction from this come-back.
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