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JD rescues vital point

Posted on 18 January 2009  - 12:00

Jermain Defoe scored his first goal since rejoining the Club to rescue a vital point against Portsmouth at White Hart Lane.

JD rescues vital point

Jermain Defoe scored his first goal since rejoining the Club to rescue a vital point against Portsmouth at White Hart Lane.

We went into the game at the foot of the Barclays Premier League table and in desperate need of a win, but a 59th minute thunderbolt from David Nugent could have made our situation a whole lot worse.

Thankfully, JD popped up with the goods 11 minutes later, but a flurry of chances late on should have seen us to victory

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As it is, the point takes us out of the bottom three on goal difference, even though it could have been so much better.

Harry Redknapp reverted back to a 4-4-2 formation having experimented with a diamond midfield in the defeat at Wigan a week ago.

Michael Dawson made way for captain Ledley King to partner Jonathan Woodgate at the heart of the defence, while Aaron Lennon came back into the side on the right of midfield.

Defoe was making his second Spurs home debut against the club from whom he rejoined us less than a fortnight ago.

And he was gifted a chance to put us in the lead after just nine minutes. Former Spur Sean Davis misplaced a cross-field ball right into the striker's path, but with only David James to beat, Defoe slashed his shot wide.

He was nearly left to rue that miss three minutes later when Heurelho Gomes failed to hold onto a Glen Johnson shot, but just managed to palm the loose ball away from the lurking Peter Crouch.

The middle third of the first half belonged to us, with our best chance coming on 20 minutes.

Lennon went on a run and shot that was tipped round the post, and from the resulting corner, Woodgate rose to meet the ball and glanced to the back post where Roman Pavlyuchenko was on hand to sweep home, only for Defoe to accidentally block the shot.

Defoe nearly atoned for that and his earlier miss three minutes later when Lennon stood up a cross for him from the by-line, but the header was well saved by James.

At the other end, some fantastic defending was required by Vedran Corluka when Nugent was sent clean through to slide across the area for Armand Traore, who was denied by the Croatian's last ditch tackle.

Corluka nearly turned provider on 34 minutes when his in-swinging cross was glanced goalwards by King, but James was once again equal to it.

The football was end-to-end at this stage, and three minutes later Jamie O'Hara was dispossessed by Niko Kranjcar who sent Younes Kaboul through to go on and shoot into the side-netting.

O'Hara did the same at the other end with a promising 25 yard effort, but the last action of the half was Portsmouth's.

Kranjcar sent a ball over the top of our defence and Nugent beat the offside trap to go clean through on goal, only for some great goalkeeping from Gomes to deny him.

Just before the break, skipper King limped off with what appeared to be a hamstring strain and was replaced by Dawson.

Earlier on, Pavlyuchenko was also removed and replaced by Darren Bent after going down under a challenge from Davis.

As the second half began, it was clear this game was there for the taking for both teams, but it was the visitors who got themselves in front on 59 minutes.

Moments beforehand Lennon had jinked past Nadir Belhadj and hit a cross against Sylvain Distin. The deflection looked like it had beaten James, but somehow the goalkeeper clawed the ball back off the goal line.

Pompey went down the other end with Traore who played a cross-field ball to Nugent, and his sweet first-time shot arrowed into Gomes' bottom right-hand corner.

We knew this was a game we could ill afford to lose, and 10 minutes later we were back on level terms.

Modric teed up Defoe on the edge of the box for an equally unstoppable effort that went through the legs of Sol Campbell and past James.

For JD it was a repeat of his last home debut at The Lane nearly four years ago, when he netted against Portsmouth in a 4-3 win. And it was three points were looking for again on this occasion.

Corluka cut inside from the right and hit a left foot shot inches wide moments after the equaliser, and from here it looked as if only one team would go on to win it.

David Bentley was introduced for Gareth Bale in an attacking substitution, and his in-swinging free-kick on 75 minutes had to be tipped round the post by James.

The England midfielder took the resulting corner, and Corluka's looping header had James beaten, but not Davis defending on the line who cleared.

It was left to our front pairing of Defoe and Bent to go and win it, and both had guilt-edged chances to do so.

Ten minutes from time, Bentley stood up a cross to the back post for Bent who only had to nod home with James stranded. But somehow, he put it wide.

Six minutes later, Corluka played a long ball to release Defoe, but his second of the afternoon was not forthcoming as he put wide.

So we had the chances to win it, but we will have to settle for just the single point at the end of the day as we continue to try to drag ourselves away from the foot of the table.


Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Woodgate, King (Dawson, 44), Bale (Bentley, 68); Lennon, Zokora, Modric, O'Hara; Pavlyuchenko (Bent, 30) Defoe
Subs not used: Alnwick, Huddlestone, Campbell, Taarabt

Portsmouth (4-1-4-1): James; Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Belhadj; Kaboul (Wilson, 88); Nugent (Utaka, 73), Davis, Kranjcar (Hreidarsson, 90), A Traore; Crouch
Subs not used: Begovic, Pamarot, Little, Kanu