Nearly a century has passed since Tottenham made such a back start to
the football league season, but looking back we have made better starts
than this and still got relegated, so things are bleak even as we head
into October. A 1-0 win for a hard working and time wasting Hull
City side just made it all the worse for Tottenham, as their work ethic
and team work was all that Spurs lacked.
For al the second half possession and
attempts on goal, the plain 0 at the end of Tottenham Hotspur's name
indicates that was what it counted for ... nothing. Hardly did the
efforts on goal cause Myhill any concern and apart from a couple of
shots off the woodwork in the first half, the goal remained relatively
From the first minute when Andy Dawson
hacked the ball away from the goal-line to the last kick when Bale swept
a free-kick inches wide, it looked as though Spurs might get something
out of the match, but the goal threat flattered to deceive and left
Hull's single effort that found the net the difference between the two
sides. The first chance saw Jenas' corner unusually find a Spurs
head - that of Corluka. His knock down saw Bale shoot at goal, but
Dawson was there to stop it getting into the net.
Tottenham still looked lax in defence,
with Woodgate letting a ball behind him go and Geovanni could have got
Hull ahead, but he blasted over the bar. Then Spurs had an
opening, as Campbell and Pavlyuchenko got in the six yard box and the
ball bounced around until Roman managed to get a toe end to the ball,
but it was easy for Myhill to grab the ball. But Geovanni soon was
in the action again, as Corluka bumped into King and the following
free-kick, given by haphazard ref Styles, curled wildly past the wall
and left Gomes standing as the ball hit the net in the top corner.
It was a classy free-kick and the sort of thing we had been hoping David
Bentley would do for us.
A quick free-kick at the other end almost
saw Jeans put Campbell in, but he hit the side-netting, while the next
free-kick (and there were plenty of them thanks to some rough tackling
by Hull and some over-fussy refereeing) saw Bale's dipping shot tipped
onto the bar by Myhill. Modric was given a shooting opportunity,
but his body shape was all wrong and it flew a long way wide, when it
would have been better for him to hit the target or hit it along the wet
turf. Another free-kick from Bale skipped off the turf, but lacked
enough pace on it to beat the Hull keeper.
The yellow cards started to flow and had
Styles applied the same judgement that the Spurs players suffered when
getting their cautions, then City might have been reduced in numbers.
Especially as their players were time wasting from a point in the match
when they were ahead and the keeper took a minute for each goal-kick,
while their players hit the turf with increasing frequency.
Funnily enough, it was the new Spurs forward Pavlyuchenko who had to
leave the pitch after an ankle injury.
The woodwork came to Tottenham's rescue
when they allowed Hull time on the ball on the edge of the box and the
ball fell to Marney, playing against his old side, who turned and hit a
shot across Gomes, who stood watching as the ball hit the post and
bounced out. Spurs did their normal trick of having a corner,
which, three passes later, was in the Spurs penalty area and only
Jermaine Jenas, who had a very good game, racing back to slide in to
dispossess Geovanni. Then a Spurs attack saw the ball knocked in
and Lennon's lobbed ball back in was swept towards goal by Woodgate, but
his shot came off Turner and crashed against the post and out. it
was obviously going to be one of those days.
Tottenham were sent out early for the
second half and ten minutes in, Ramos confounded the Tottenham support
by bringing on David Bentley to replace Chris Gunter, who had a solid
game, at right back. Bentley did produce some good balls in, but
he also put in some weak crosses which let Hull off the hook. it
was Luka Modric who almost provided the opening, with a dinked ball
through the defence to Bent, who beat Myhill to it, but it was always
going wide. This was followed by a low Campbell header that went
over, a Jenas shot deflected wide, Modric fired wide and Zokora had a
shot that ended up just where you would expect ... way wide.
Jenas was breaking forward and played the
ball square across the box to Darren Bent, but he took a touch and the
shot was blocked out and when Jermaine did the same again, finding
Campbell this time, there were too many Tigers' defenders in his way.
This was a familiar event with Spurs failing to break down the massed
ranks of orange and black striped shirts. The frustration was
building and when Lennon was baulked as he turned towards the penalty
area, taking a whack in the mouth, he scythed down a Hull player and
found himself in the book. Things almost got worse when City broke
and Gomes had to prostrate himself to stop King slotting the ball past
him on the break.
Modric had a shot deflected wide, then
had an even better chance when Campbell lifted a cross to the far post,
where the Croat leapt to do a scissors-kick, but only succeeded in
volleying into the ground and over. The Manchester United striker
then took the ball off Boateng, who dived in to get it back, but took
the legs of the forward and looked anxiously at Styles, but he need not
have worried. Following his mess up last week in giving Manchester
United a penalty they did not deserve, there was no way he was giving
anything in the box this week, having already failed to give a blatant
free-kick for a foul on Modric right on the edge of the area.
Still Tottenham pressed forward, with
Giovani hitting a ball that curled in low at Myhill, when a better
delivery was needed, then bent failed to trouble Myhill with a header
and an overhead effort from Campbell brought the now expected whistle
from Styles for dangerous play.
When Zokora was nudged over by Boateng as
he broke towards the penalty area, there was no hint of a yellow card
(and the subsequent red one) from the match official and it was a major
surprise he gave a free-kick, with seconds left. Bale stepped up
to take it and bent it less than a foot wide with the keeper
So, another home defeat and already games
are running out. The need to pick up wins to catch up with teams
before they get the chance to pull away is pressing and the side, who
did play better, but still look like strangers, will not have a great
deal of time together before the next match in two weeks time, because
of international calls. Ramos and Poyet need to get the players to
believe in themselves and to get into the habit of shooting.
Without that ticket, we are not just not going to win the raffle, but
might end up with the booby prize.
THE FUNKY PHANTOM