SATURDAY 11TH NOVEMBER, 2023
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 2(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1)
Referee:- Tim Robinson
Assistants:- Timothy Wood, Wade Smith
Fourth official:- Thomas Bramall
VAR:- Paul Tierney
Assistant VAR:- Sian Massey-Ellis
Wolves (3-5-2):- Sa; Kilman (Capt.), Dawson, Toti; Semedo (sub Doherty, 67), Bellegarde (sub Kalajdzic, 73), Lemina, Joao Gomes (sub Sarabia, 87) , Ait-Nouri (sub Doyle, 87); Hwang, Matheus Cunha
Subs not used:- Bentley; Bueno, Jonny; Boubacar Traore, Fabio Silva
Booked:- Dawson (foul on Son), Doherty (dissent), Gomes, Ait-Nouri (over-celebrating)
Spurs (4-3-3):- Vicario; Pedro Porro, Dier, Davies, Emerson Royal; Hojbjerg, Bissouma (sub Lo Celso, 76), Sarr (sub Bentancur, 63); Kulusevski, Son (Capt.), Johnson (sub Gil, 75)
Subs not used:- Forster; Dorrington, Phillips; Skipp; Donley, Veliz
Booked:- Emerson Royal (foul on Semedo), Bissouma (foul on Lemina) Bentancur (foul on Hwang)
Spurs suffer agonising added time defeat.
Thanks to Eugene Gasper for this picture
Spurs went into this game hampered by two suspensions (Romero and Udogie) and more injuries (Van de Ven, Maddison and Richarlison) which led to three changes to the back four where Eric Dier made his first start of the season paired with Ben Davies, making his second Premier League start this term.
Despite their difficulties, Brennan Johnson scored his first club goal to give us a dramatic third minute lead. We only had one other shot on target in the whole game which became difficult and frustrating to watch. Spurs did dominate first half possession but conceded that advantage after the break, when they failed to sufficiently ease the pressure put upon them by the home side.
Just when it looked as if we might escape Molineux with all three points, substitute Sarabia scored a superbly executed equaliser in the first minute of added time, before teeing up Lemina for a dramatic winner in the 97th minute. The home crowd was ecstatic. Spurs missed a chance to go top until tomorrow but will now probably finish the weekend in fourth place.
Ange Postecoglou was announced yesterday as October's manager of the month for the third consecutive month, becoming the first winner of the award in the first three months of a Premier League season. Having now suffered two consecutive November defeats, we can safely say that prize will be going elsewhere next month.
Postecoglou went with a midfield three of Hojbjerg, Bissouma and Sarr, whilst Brennan Johnson again started on the left of the front three.
Wolves had their own major injury absentee with Pedro Neto hoping to be back for their first game after the international break. Manager Gary O'Neil was sacked by Bournemouth last season, but he has led Wolves to some good results such as their win over Manchester City and suffered some unfortunate results, such as last week's late penalty defeat at Bramall Lane.
The game was played in bright sunshine and was preceded by a fine Remembrance ceremony. Spurs turned Wolves round from their usual playing direction which meant that Vicario didn't have the sun in his eyes in the first half. The Spurs bench included 18-year-old defenders Alfie Dorrington and Ashley Phillips. Attacking subs included another 18-year-old Jamie Donley and also 20-year-old Alejo Veliz.
Wolves kicked off but Spurs had an early lead scored after only two minutes and 15 seconds. Sarr's long pass from the left reached Kulusevski over on the right side. It looked as if Pedro Porro dummied to allow the ball to reach Kulusevski. Pedro then made ground to get ahead of Kulusevski before crossing low into the 6-yard-box where Johnson provided the cool finishing touch. The scorer and his assistant paid tribute to the injured James Maddison with his dart-throwing celebration.
Referee Tim Robinson took a lot of convincing to give any foul and Sarr got nothing when he went down when chasing a long ball by Hojbjerg. At the other end, Ben Davies did well when blocking shots by both Gomes and Ait-Nouri. There was more Wolves pressure and Emerson Royal blocked a shot by Semedo.
Generally speaking, both Dier and Davies were strong at the back, but Spurs' midfield often let the side down when failing with their short passes whilst being well closed down by the energetic home side. We rarely got the ball as far forward as Son, and when we did, I'm afraid our captain's touch was letting him down.
Wolves fans booed Pedro Porro when he was fouled by Gomes and needed treatment. Emerson Royal lost, but then recovered the ball in midfield before passing to Johnson who passed inside for Son where Sa saved at his feet.
Vicario made a very good right-handed save from Lemina's attempt to score from a sharp angle on the right of goal. Vicario saved again from Ait-Nouri, but the left wing-back had been offside. Sarr was fouled after Spurs' midfield had managed to string a few non-penetrative passes together. Emerson made a good winning tackle against the advance of Semedo, but subsequently was shown the first yellow card of the game for a foul on the same player. Bellegarde took the free kick and Ait-Nouri had a shot on target which was well blocked and cleared.
There were five minutes of added time, during which a Lemina header was deflected out for a corner and Vicario flew to his right to save from Toti when the ball was probably passing wide.
Yves Bissouma had gone into this game in danger of a suspension, and he was shown the necessary card when he was deemed to have fouled Lemina. That gives Postecoglou yet another headache when we host Aston Villa after the international break. Spurs had a late corner, won by Kulusevski, taken by Pedro Porro, and met by Ben Davies in front of the near post. The header passed two yards wide.
Spurs kicked off the second half, but more poor midfield passing led to a Wolves attack when Bellegarde fired over. Thankfully for Spurs, the hosts were not taking decent corners, or hitting the target with most of their attempts on goal.
Dawson was not penalised when he appeared to foul Son, and that led to another Wolves attack where Dier blocked well. Sa held a cross by Johnson that had been deflected by a defender towards goal. Matheus Cunha was off target when fed by Ait-Nouri. A shot by Gomes was deflected into the path of Hwang, who thankfully couldn't find the target.
Son laid off a good ball down the line for a rare attack and Kulusevski came inside, before his shot was easily blocked.
Bellegarde took a free kick from the left after a foul by Pedro Porro on Ait-Nouri and Pape Sarr rose in the pack to head out for another Wolves corner. It wasn't long before Sarr was replaced by Rodrigo Bentancur, making his third appearance since injury. He'll be needed against Villa when Bissouma has to sit out the game.
Former Spur Matt Doherty took Semedo's place. Davies had sent a good long pass to Son and Hojbjerg won a corner on the right when his effort was blocked. Hojbjerg sent a long pass forward for Johnson to chase. He fired wide and seemed to suffer a strain in doing so. The Wolves fans were on his back, perhaps because of some Nottingham Forest history.
Bryan Gil and Giovani Lo Celso replaced Johnson and Bissouma respectively. Sa raced out to save at the feet of Kulusevski and needed a little treatment before carrying on. Spurs were at least getting higher up the pitch and looking more likely to increase their lead.
However, Ben Davies had to clear from Doherty, and Emerson Royal cleared a cross by Ait-Nouri. Wolves' 6ft 7inch substitute Kalajdzic thankfully headed woefully wide when presented with a cross from the left.
In a break-out move, Bentancur sent a good ball to Son, but he couldn't get in a shot. The ball ran to Kulusevski, who fed the ball to Lo Celso. His shot was tipped over by Sa.
Bentancur was booked for fouling Hwang in midfield. Just as went into added time, Spurs were caught napping on the right side of their defence when Matheus Cunha passed inside from the left and Sarabia scored an excellent goal taking one touch with his right foot, before scoring with his left.
I was angry at us conceding such a late equaliser, but I was seething 6 minutes later when Sarabia passed inside from the right and Lemina timed his run between the central defenders well to collect and poke the ball past Vicario.
Spurs fans are in for a hard ride until after Christmas, I fear.
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