Writing about matches like this do not leave you with the words or a
place to start or finish. Spoiled by a rash red card early on,
referee Lee Mason book-ended it neatly with another rash red in injury
time to reduce Tottenham to nine men and Stoke did their bit to leave
them bottom of the table by winning 2-1.
Much was written about Stoke's direct
approach, but they failed to trouble Spurs too much with that tack and
played some good passing football, but they had the opportunity to score when
Bale let a ball get away from him and slid in on Soares as he entered
the penalty area and conceded a penalty and got sent off for his
trouble. Following the converted spot-kick, the space afforded
City allowed them the opportunity to knock the ball around, but that not
being their natural game caused them some consternation.
It was thus that Spurs seized the
initiative and snatched an equaliser when Hutton shot and the deflection
took the ball into the path of Darren Bent, who had initially been
off-side and he took a touch to knock the ball through Sorensen's legs
and gave the ten men some hope. The dominance in territory and
possession was almost embarrassing as the home crowd went silent on
their team, something that is unusual I am told. However, in true
Tottenham tradition, the team failed to make the advantage of having the
ball count, with only a couple of Lennon efforts from distance and after
the interval a couple of Modric shots which should have hit the target,
but whizzed high or wide.
It seemed patently obvious that Gomes was
not 100% and seemed to be carrying a rib injury, but Stoke failed to
pile players in on him too much, although every save he made was
accompanied with a grimace. It left him conscious that he had to
come for long throws or crosses in the box and he felled Corluka twice
in quick succession, with a stretcher and a trip to hospital for the
Croat the result of the second collision.
Going a goal down after 19 minutes, even
though the wind did it's best to put Higginbotham off his kick by
blowing the ball off the spot, left Spurs chasing the game, with a man
short. But within five minutes we were back in it and the rest of
the half saw Tottenham keep Stoke pinned in their own half.
However, the lack of men cost Tottenham,
as two Stoke midfielders found space ten yards outside the box in the
52nd minute and a pass wide to Sidibe produced a low cross which the
injured Gomes thought twice about going for and it travelled the length
of the six yard box for Delap to race in at the far post to knock it in.
Spurs brought on Pavlyuchenko for Bentley to assist Bent up front, as
they sought to get another equaliser, but the move did not really pay
off or cause the Potters' defence a lot of problems.
Gomes had to dive full length to divert
Olafinjana's shot wide and it was a surprise when Sorensen was the
goalkeeper who had to be replaced, as a challenge by Hutton cut his
forehead and Simonsen came on as his sub. Not that he had a lot to
do. Gomes put Corluka out of the game and on came Michael Dawson.
Jenas hit a couple of free-kicks wide of
Simonsen's goal, but all the best chances were at the other end.
Soares got through and panicked, hitting his shot over when if he had
hit the target, it would have been a goal. An even clearer cut
chance came when Soares was dragged down by Woodgate in the area and
Fuller stepped up and tried to be too precise from the spot. He
hit one post, the ball bounced across goal, hit the other post and out,
only for Delap to follow it up and hit the bar.
It wasn't insult that was added to
injury, but perhaps injustice, as Dawson seemed to take the ball before
catching Fuller on the shin with his studs and Mason again reached for
his top pocket. No Fair Play win for us this season then !!
Fuller managed to haul his weighty
carcass up off the floor to race around the Tottenham defence and hit
the bar when it would have been easier to score, so in the end, it could
have been four or five, but it would not be true to say that Spurs got
off lightly. They got what they deserved. There was no
intention to match Stoke's effort and it was only when the home team
went into their shell that Tottenham shone. Other teams won't give
them that opportunity and that will make it extremely hard to get out of