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+Big Match Verdict

Posted on 17 March 2005  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Rarely can a team have contributed so much, attacking-wise, to three games and received absolutely no reward from them. Southampton, Newcastle and now Charlton - away games where the home side have been pegged back for so much of the time.

But it is goals that win points - or the the case of the FA Cup, possible prizes - and, on each occasion the decisive blow has been struck by our opponents leaving players and supporters feeling a little hard done by.

Of course the results are proving to be a concern but, as Michael Brown pointed out after the Valley reverse, it would be a far greater concern if the team were not performing and chances were not being created. You get the feeling that if we score first - some time very soon, hopefully - our opponents could well end up getting a thumping.

Last night it was hoped we would all get the FA Cup exit out of our systems with welcome points in the Premiership. It is not always as easy that, whatever words are spoken beforehand on the subject of picking up and dusting down after the clearly distressing effect of going out.

Ideally you would prefer a home game in front of your own people to provide a tonic following a disappointment. But the Valley it was and our recent record at the home of the Addicks has been pretty good, all omens were welcome as we sought a first away win since Norwich on Boxing Day.

With the playing of three games in six days in mind, changes were made to the starting line-up - four, to be precise. Anthony Gardner, Erik Edman, Andy Reid and Robbie Keane were handed starting places, with Jermain Defoe and Thimothee Atouba on the bench. Simon Davies was rested along with Nourredine Naybet, while there was a welcome return to the 16 for Sean Davis.

Our recuperation process did not get off the best of starts, just over three minutes were on the clock when former Spurs loan boy Paul Konchesky fed Jerome Thomas about 25 yards our to the left of the area. Thomas, who scored at the Lane earlier in the season, looked up and arrowed his shot past Paul Robinson and into the top left hand corner of the net off the upright.

Keane nearly levelled within minutes when Reid whipped in a teasing cross that was met by the head of Keane, but his powerful connection went just wide. On 14 minutes there looked a stick on leveller when Reid again supplied from the right and it all looked good for Fredi Kanoute right in front of goal before he swung a leg and missed the ball.

The boys were starting to click into gear with some excellent approach play and you just hoped we weren't about to witness a sequel to our last two games, which were both territorially bossed, but lost 1-0.

Danny Murphy missed a gilt-edged chance for the home side when he found himself in the clear after 25 minutes. Kanoute then received another glorious opportunity when the very sharp Keane threaded the ball into the path of his run through the middle, but Fredi laboured in getting the ball out of his feet and Dean Kiely was able to block his effort - with the rebound from Reid going high.

A determined burst by Kanoute in the opening minutes of the second half into the Charlton area was knocked off course by a Hermann Hreidarsson challenge before Keane tested Kiely low to his right.

You sensed that we needed a scruffy goal, a lucky one maybe, just to get the boys back in the habit of finding the net. Pretty much all other areas of the play was good and positive - we just needed a break in front of goal. The travelling Spurs contingent called for the introduction of Jermain Defoe.

They got their wish on the hour when the England man entered play with Reto Ziegler making way. Reid came close on the half way point of the half when, from a free-kick won for a foul on Defoe, the Irish leftie floated his free-kick bang on the button, but Bartlett was assigned line duty and was in the right place to head clear.

Davis then made his first team comeback, with Carrick withdrawn, but it was Charlton who confirmed their collection of the three points when Murphy flighted his free-kick from the edge of the area off Robinson's right-hand upright and into the net.

Home comforts await with the visit of Manchester City to the Lane on Saturday and it can't come soon enough.