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+Big Match Verdict

Posted on 21 April 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).

West Brom put up another performance of stubborn resistance at the Lane on Wednesday night, adding a vital point to their survival tally, but generally frustrating the vast majority with a Spurs bias.

It was our fourth meeting of the season with the Baggies and they have all pretty much followed the same pattern - West Brom have taken the lead in all of them. Only in the FA Cup replay were the boys able to push on and secure a win.

So we knew we were in for a tricky night. Bryan Robson's side were not negative in the sense that they didn't just sit back and absorb pressure, but they were very difficult to break down and, apart from a strong spell just after the break which led to the equaliser, you couldn't describe them as really being under real sustained pressure that led to clear cut chances.

Sean Davis made his first home start since the 1-0 victory over Birmingham back in late August, Jermain Defoe stepping in for the injured Fredi Kanoute in the one change to the weekend starting X1.

There was an early scare when a neat combination between Chaplow and Kanu was bravely thwarted by Michael Dawson with the loose ball being rolled wide by Zoltan Gera. Dawson - making his home debut - was booked on seven minutes for a foul on Kieran Richardson, with the resulting free-kick from Neil Clement flashing just wide.

At the other end a Michael Carrick free-kick helped to nearly break the deadlock when his whipped delivery clipped the head of Thomas Gaardsoe and forced Russell Hoult into acrobatic action.

Erik Edman's first touch was accompanied by a not entirely surprising chorus of 'shooot' from fans wanting to witness a home repeat of Saturday's Anfield episode. Such wonder goals rarely happen twice for the same player.

Kept a special watch on Dawson in the opening 15 or so minutes and the evidence suggests we have got a player on our hands - very impressive. Commanding in the air, composed on the ball and clearly a good talker. Martin Jol described him as leadership material when he signed in January and he could well be onto something there.

He was very unfortunate when what looked a decent headed clearance from a corner on 23 minutes landed at the feet of Gera in the area. The Hungarian took a couple of quick steps before driving left footed a rasping shot past Paul Robinson, giving the England No.1 absolutely no chance.

Further West Brom invasion followed with teasing ball across the area from Kanu inviting Chaplow to try his luck at the far post. This time Robinson was equal to the challenge.

West Brom stood firm in the face of mounting pressure for the remainder of the half, with a sort of 'break us down if you can' challenge to our boys. A decisive pass or movement was lacking in terms of meeting it. A big fella up top was lacking and you suspected a not 100 per cent fit Mido might just be thrust into action in the second period.

The suspicion was proved correct although, what proved to be a double change, led to a change in shape. Thimothee Atouba returned from suspension in place of Edman, with Mido on for Sean Davis.

Mido almost immediately made an impact, beating two defenders inside the area before drilling his shot into the side netting. The heavy artillery was being bought into service, Atouba was playing right up in support of Mido and Defoe, Keane tucked in behind and, for the most part, a three man defence was being employed.

It took just six minutes to pay dividends, a long punt forward from Ledley King was nodded down weakly by Gaardsoe under pressure from Mido and the on-rushing Keane was alert and drove the ball past Hoult and into the bottom right hand corner of the net to level the scores.

West Brom responded to the increased muscle by bringing on their own heavyweight in the shape of Darren Moore, the central defender replacing striker Kevin Campbell. The intensity level of the game went up a couple of notches with both sides pressing for the next advantage and it was Andy Reid who went closest to snatching it when he took aim from 30 yards and wasn't far away from the left top corneron 65 minutes.

There was another tactical ploy from Martin when, ten minutes later, Reto Ziegler was introduced for Defoe. Keane and Mido formed a more orthodox pairing, with Ziegler operating on the left of midfield and Reid pushed inside.

Unfortunately for the crowd of 35,885 it did not turn one point into three.