What happened against Stoke City replicated itself today, when
Wolverhampton Wanderers came to White Hart Lane and produced a dull and
desperate performance to take the three points. with a 1-0 win secured
by a goal in the second minute. Spurs produced a performance
little better, but at least they were playing the game, not trying to
Against the Potters the
team started wasting time in the 18th minute, so another similar display
of not actually wanting to get the ball back into play by Wolves
frustrated the crowd and the Tottenham team, but it took until the 74th
minute for a booking for time wasting and into the last minute for the
pathetic Atwell to yellow card Hahnemann in the visitors goal after
having spoken to him in the first half and done nothing as he dallied
and dawdled over every goal-kick.
In truth, Spurs could have played all
night and not scored. Wolves got ten men back behind the ball and
were content to kick everything away. Consequently, there was
little goalmouth action, as Spurs failed to capitalise on the massive
amount of possession they had and failed to deliver enough quality ball
into the area when they got forward. The sight at the end of
aimless balls into the box hoping to find Peter Crouch's head was
depressing, especially as they had sent on Luka Modric and Giovani dos
The award of the early free-kick against
Tom Huddlestone was one in a long line of the pathetic performance by
the so called referee. Just prior to the free-kick given for him
putting an arm in front of the Wolves player Karl Henry, Tom had been
pushed to the ground by the same opponent, with nothing given. The
ball was whipped in to the middle of the six yard box and while it
initially appeared that nobody got a touch on it as the ball went in at
the far post, replays on the big screen at the ground showed the
faintest of touches by Kevin Doyle. So, two minutes in and a goal
Spurs set about trying to redress the
balance, but the movement off the ball was poor allowing Wolves to pick
the ball off and to get men back behind the ball. Whenever
Tottenham did get away, they didn't get far without being brought down.
Not that Atwell would have known when most of them should have been
signalled a foul. Only when Henry brought Huddlestone down twice
within a minute did it occur to the official that he should caution him.
Wolves had one more chance in the first
half, but Doyle failed to get over the ball from a corner and headed
wide when virtually unchallenged. Spurs pressed forward, with the
re-instated Robbie Keane failing to impress up front with his first
touch failing him on a number of occasions. It took 21 minutes for
Spurs to get a shot on target, with Defoe hitting a shot from 25 yards
out straight at Hahnemann, then Keane latched onto a loose ball on the
edge of the box and his shot seemed to be deflected over, but Atwell
didn't see that.
The one move of quality in the first half
saw Niko Kranjcar hit a ball from left wing to right and Vedran Corluka
volleyed it firs time into the near post area, but unlike against Wigan
Athletic, Defoe was just beaten to the ball. The best chance Spurs
had was when Hud got on the end of a ball into the left hand channel of
the area from Kranjcar. The big midfielder looked as though he had
been brought down, but as he fell, he wrapped his foot around the ball
to get it past Hahnemann, but it also beat the right hand post.
Then Lennon switched to the left and when he cut in, he could not get a
decent hit on the ball and the keeper saved easily.
The half-time whistle was greeted with
boos, but not necessarily aimed at the Tottenham team. The referee
and Henry, when he had kicked a drop ball out of play instead of back to
a Spurs player had annoyed the majority of the crowd. When the
teams emerged from the tunnel, there were no changes and the game
continued in much the same pattern, although this time there was no
early goal in the half, which Spurs might have needed to get back into
It was Wolves striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
who nearly opened the second half scoring with an effort that had Gomes
falling to stop his low shot at the foot of his post as the effort came
in from the left. Really, Gomes was rarely troubled and much as
the Stoke game, he just tidied up the long balls hacked away by the
visitor's defenders. Spurs failed to use the space in front of
them when they attacked from the back and too often, moves broke down
because of poor movement and poor passing.
When Luka Modric and Giovani dos Santos
came on, you hoped the pattern of play might change, but while Modric
tried to link play through the midfield, Gio rarely got the ball.
The introduction of Crouch made the tactic of playing the high ball
through to his head the main route of attack. Quite how Atwell
came to the decision that most of Crouch's jumps against Berra and
Craddock were fouls, when he was being manhandled and they were just
failing to jump, making it look as though he went over the top of them
by foul means, I am not sure. As a young referee, you would hope
that he might have a bit more insight from hours of TV football and the
benefit of camera angles of modern football coverage.
Spurs did have chances. Corluka got
free on the right and his ball pulled back across the box was met by
Kranjcar, who could only hit his shot wide when he was well placed
centrally. On 81 minutes, Huddlestone produced a firmly hit shot
that Hahnemann palmed out and then Dawson knocked another Corluka cross
wide. Only a half-hearted shout for a penalty was made when Berra
laid hand on a ball that popped up in the area, with no guarantee that
it would have been scored had it been given.
In the end, Wolves hit Spurs on the break
and Ebanks-Blake almost scored when his shot was deflected just wide and
then the running down of the clock by taking the bal into the corner
started fifteen minutes from time.
It is perhaps only to be expected when
teams like this come to pack their box and kick and time-waste to get
the result they crave, but if this is football, I am certainly glad it
is not what I choose to watch every week.
the funky phantom