Whenever you face a Birmingham team these days you know it will be tough
to score against a well-organised defence and hard-working midfield, but
you also know that the Bluenoses won't score many either. With
harry sticking with the team that started on Tuesday against Fulham,
Bentley had another chance to show what he could do and Gareth Bale was
hoping for the pay bonus of a second win on the trot.
Birmingham had the opening chance when the
ball was played back to Bowyer, who scuffed his shot into the ground
from just inside the area. Then a cross from the right found Luka
Modric, who took the ball down and hit a quick shot that flew inches
wide of Joe Hart's right hand post with the goalkeeper left standing.
An even better opening should have seen
Birmingham take the lead, when Benitez turned Dawson well on the edge of
the D and only had Gomes to beat, but hit a shot straight at the Spurs
keeper in the middle of the goal, with little power behind it.
Bentley showed what he can do on the half
hour, with a couple of step-overs and a shot to the near post that Hart
push aside for a corner, although a minute or so later, Palacios was in
a similar position on the right of the box and blazed way over the bar.
The last quarter of an hour of the game
saw some corners for each side, which failed to find an attacking head
and the game fizzled out into the half-time interval.
The second half saw Tottenham start on
the attack, with the ball moving regularly towards the home goal.
Bentley struck a drive in at the near post following Bale's long cross
from the left, causing Hart to fumble and pounce on the loose ball
before Defoe. Spurs almost had a good break when Bentley won two
tackles, one on halfway and the other on the right wing, giving him
possession to play in Corluka, but his prod to his left only found the
Palacios lost the bal in attack, but then
got back to win it and fed Modric, whose pass through the Brummie
defence found Defoe. Jermain took the ball across the edge of the
box from the right and couldn't get a shot off, so left it for Peter
Crouch, who could only shoot wide under pressure. With 55 minutes
gone, Bentley bent a cross towards the near post and Defoe just missed
it for a defender to head the ball away for a corner. From that,
Bentley pulled the ball back for Hud to have a shot on the volley from
outside the area and it may have been arrowing into the net, had it not
hit Roger Johnson on the way.
Child referee Attwell made a schoolboy
error, when he gave a free-kick against Palacios for a foul on Bowyer as
he went through to the edge of the box, when the Spurs midfielder didn't
touch him. Not only that, but he gave a yellow card for the
offence too. Luckily, McFadden hit the wall with the free-kick to
bring some justice to the situation.
Gareth Bale continued his fine form with
a run and cross from the left that Crouch stooped to flick on and Defoe
was directly behind him in the middle of the goal to half-volley in from
10 yards out. It was a goal that came when Spurs were dominating,
but were finding it hard to break down the dogged Birmingham defence,
but Bale's good wide play and Crouch getting his knees dirty to glance
the ball on at the near post caused confusion in the home team's defence
to allow Defoe the space to shoot home.
Birmingham responded by putting Benitez
through and looking suspiciously offside, he was allowed to go on and
shoot at goal, but Michael Dawson threw a great block to take the ball
out for a corner off his side, despite the shouts for handball.
Dann's header from the corner went wide and Ferguson tried a couple of
shots that didn't trouble Gomes, leaving Spurs to defend, although they
kept giving Birmingham the ball, notably when Crouch passed it back
towards his own goal and McFadden had a shot that was powerful, but off
Jermain's involvement was curtailed by
his replacement by Robbie Keane, just after the referee had booked the
scorer for handball on the halfway line.
McFadden came very close to conceding a
penalty when he brought down Bentley as he raced past him, but it was
just outside the area and he got a yellow card and Spurs got a
free-kick. Bale took it from the right hand corner of the area and
it hit the wall and went off for a corner. From that, Tottenham
worked it short and Modric almost got away in the area, until a tackle
brought another corner. That came to nothing and the last ten
minutes were a bit backs to the wall, with some desperate defending and
not being able to get the ball clear.
It all crumbled when the fourth official
showed five added minutes to play. A long cross from the right
went over everyone and it was picked up by McFadden outside the corner
of the area. His deep cross saw Jerome climb between King and Bale
to head back across goal to the far post, where Ridgwell ran in to
volley in unmarked from close range.
Inspired by the late goal, Birmingham
moved forward and slung more crosses into the Tottenham box, while at
the other end Jenas shot well over the top and Palacios almost found
Keane with a well judged pass, but it had just a little too much weight
on it, leaving the Irishman unable to collect it.
The final whistle brought great cheers
from the home support, perhaps indicating that they knew they had got
away with it today, with Spurs, once more, unable to capitalise on the
chances they made.