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REPORT: SPURS 2, CITY 1

Posted on 8 April 2006  - 12:00

It was an afternoon of seconds at the Lane when Manchester City came to town.

It was an afternoon of seconds at the Lane when Manchester City came to town.

A second goal in our colours for Paul Stalteri, the same for Michael Carrick and a second win of the season over City. Most importantly, three points were placed in the Premiership bank and we were able to sit back and watch the rest of the weekend's football unfold.

Martin Jol made a couple of key changes to the team that was defeated at Newcastle last time out, with Teemu Tainio stepping in for Edgar Davids - who reverted to the bench. There was also a welcome return for Ledley King, who partnered Anthony Gardner at the heart of defence in the absence of the suspended Michael Dawson.

It was a gloriously sunny early afternoon at the Lane with a little chill in the air, the pitch looked perfect ahead of kick-off as it was given a shine by the sprinkler system, the ground filled up quickly with another sell-out and we were ready for the off.

Tainio burst into the City area in the first minute, taking a combination of three defenders to de-rail his journey before King nearly got on the end of a Carrick corner a couple of minutes later.

Good pressure was being applied early, the boys were putting their marker down and the passing was slick and confident. Carrick fizzed in a free-kick on 15 minutes that had David James shifting nervously across his line before palming wide with the help of two hands, although Micah Richards did cause a scare at the other end by locating space in the area and prodding just wide of the post.

James then got himself into a bit of bother when trying to immitate an outfield player outside his area, but promptly lost the ball and Mido failed to locate a teammate with the goal exposed.

The attacking intent continued without really working the goalkeeper and a twice-taken free-kick from 20-odd yards out twice failed to clear the wall. Jermaine Jenas managed to hit the target with his ten minutes from the break, but James was alert to his left.

The deadlock was so nearly broken three minutes later when Lee picked out the run of Robbie Keane and our current sharpest shooter rattled in his shot which James did superbly to tip onto the bar with Mido unable to capitalise on the rebound.

The lead was snatched on 43 minutes when Mido picked out Keane in a central position just outside the area and the latter worked himself a yard of space and shot to James' left. The keeper could not hold the ball and Stalteri sprinted in to slot the ball into the unguarded net for his second goal of the season.

Tainio lauched another charge early in the second period that took the full weight of James to knock him off course. The delay in doubling the advantage did not take too much longer, however.

From the resulting corner, Tainio found Carrick advancing into the area and, from a similar position to his scoring of his first Spurs goal against Sunderland, he smashed the ball past James to make it 2-0 on 49 minutes.

The two-goal lead was not protected though and, from a long throw on 51 minutes, Georgios Samaras got in front of King and somehow managed to squeeze the ball beyond Paul Robinson and put a bit of a dampener on the Carrick celebrations.

Those celebrations nearly kicked-off again when Jenas provided Keane and the ball was stuck past James again, but the assistant's flag cut short the jubilation. Richards had a chance to level on 65 minutes without really getting hold of his shot after a Sylvain Distin flick on inside the area. Robinson then had to be at his best to spectacularly field a 20 yarder from substitute Albert Riera.

It was then James' turn to be back in the thick of it and, from a Lee cross, Gardner made a superb swing of the leg connection and the goalkeeper got down brilliantly to save and hold.

Moments later a sweeping Carrick pass set Stalteri away down the right and James was anticipating a cross - probably Stalteri too - but the ball zipped into the near post and James had to change direction and push wide.

Jermain Defoe was introduced with ten minutes remaining with Lennon making way. The little hitman did his best to retrieve the cushion we enjoyed earlier in the half, firing one shot not too far over the bar from distance, but the boys held on for the win and a fourth Premiership double of the season.