Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jermain Defoe looked to have won only failed at injury-time

Birmingham City 1
- Ridgewell 90

Tottenham Hotspur 1
- Defoe 69

After the Hull draw at the Lane, we said that it was the inability to beat lesser sides at home that could be our Achilles heel this season, as opposed to the dropping of valuable points in the last minute that blighted our push for fourth spot in the Lasagna-poisoning season under Martin Jol. Since then, those problems from a few seasons ago have reared their ugly head again to put a spanner in the works of our push for the holy grail of UEFA Champions League football.

With Liverpool and Aston Villa both winning as Spurs moved into added time at St Andrews, we simply had to keep our concentration to the death and see out the final few minutes for what would have been a wonderful win against one of the hardest sides to beat in the Premier League. Instead, we are left again to wonder what might have been and what may be due to our slack play when it mattered most.

Spurs had earned their lead with a gritty and productive second-half display and the danger coming the other way had been minimal. Yet one moment tempers so much that had been so good. David Bentley looked like the player we expected to have signed, Wilson Palacios is showing the form that we saw this time last season and Gareth Bale is putting in the sort of displays expected of a huge prospect. Add to that the return to form of Luka Modric and Jermain Defoe finishing clinically again and there was so much to look forwards to.

Now, Spurs face a tricky trip to Leeds that should have been avoided when the sides first met before a massive match at home to one of our biggest rivals in the table – Aston Villa. These are not the games you need to go into having worries about whether you can hold on to any lead you manage to acquire in the first 89 minutes. Spurs need to snap out of this worrying trend and quickly before it kills a second push for a top-four finish.

Spurs tried to play on the counterattack towards the end of the game, particularly after Dawson’s flawed offside plan allowed Benitez to run clear only for him to dally at the vital moment. But we seemed to have done enough until the dreaded injury time moment when Jerome read the flight of a deep cross better than King and headed across goal for Ridgewell, who exposed the sleeping Corluka to prod in the equaliser.

Teams :

Birmingham :
Hart; Carr, R Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell; Larsson (Fahey 58), Ferguson, Bowyer Michel 65), McFadden; Jerome, Benítez

Hotspur : Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, King, Bale; Bentley (Jenas 89), Huddlestone, Palacios, Modric; Crouch, Defoe (Keane 78)


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