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REPORT: SPURS 2, SUNDERLAND 0

Posted on 19 January 2008  - 12:00

Robbie Keane scored his 100th goal in our colours as Sunderland were defeated 2-0 at the Lane.

Robbie Keane scored his 100th goal in our colours as Sunderland were defeated 2-0 at the Lane.

Unlike the recent trend for goals aplenty at both ends, this one came very close to being a second one-nil victory of the week, but we were forced to endure a few nervous moments in this one after Sunderland took heart in the final third from not falling more than a goal behind.

It did not take long for the team to get cracking, in fact it was just the second minute when Jamie O'Hara nicked the ball from Paul McShane down the left flank and, after a little help from Young-Pyo Lee, managed to fizz across the area. Dimitar Berbatov attempted a stab at it, but ended up helping it into the path of Lennon, who prodded past Craig Gordon with the underside of his boot.

There were significant changes to the side from Tuesday night at Reading, with Paul Stalteri and Lee coming in on each side of the defence and Tom Huddlestone recalled after suspension at centre half. Lennon was back in place of the suspended Steed Malbranque, while Jermain Defoe took the place of Robbie Keane and was named captain.

A lightening Lennon break was later thwarted by the hand of Dwight Yorke, but somehow the assistant right in front of the offence failed to notice. Nineteen minutes in, a sublime ball from Huddlestone was athletically latched onto by Jermaine Jenas and steered past Gordon, but Berbatov could not quite find the acceleration to apply a tap-in finish at the far post.

Lennon delivered another low cross that just evaded a wave of white shirts before Berbatov struck and clipped the top of the crossbar. Just over ten minutes before the break Defoe had Gordon flailing backwards in an attempt to reach his chipped shot, but the keeper did brilliantly to tip over in the end. The Scotland international then reacted sharply to turn away a Berbatov piledriver.

A rare Sunderland response with Kenwyne Jones seemingly on a path through to goal was brilliantly de-railed by Michael Dawson, leaving the big striker in a heap.

Daryl Murphy roused the travelling support just after the break with a speculative shot from the top corner of the penalty area that flashed not too far adrift of goal, before Jones did have the ball in the net but his effort off a set piece was ruled out for offside.

Jamie O'Hara made way for Teemu Tainio ten minutes into the half, leading to Kevin Boateng moving to the right and Lennon left - the Finn occupying the middle ground.

A Lennon dash down the left led to Defoe being within prodding distance of a goal, but Gordon was able to foil. Berbatov then drilled goalwards after the ball flicked up out of the feet of Defoe - a deflection taking it just wide. Huddlestone's deceptive free-kick from 25 yards then required the goalkeeper to take goal-preventing action.

Robbie Keane was summoned from the bench in the 74th minute, with Defoe wrapping the armband around the arm of the Irishman before leaving the pitch. Radek Cerny was next in action though with a desperate block from a Danny Collins header.

Dawson was next forced into a goal-saving action in front of the posts to dey Jones an equaliser before lunging into a further challenge to ensure danger was averted. Sunderland were piling on the pressure given that our early advantage was not extended. Cerny made a double save from Murphy and Liam Miller when you were really fearing the worst.

Robbie got in on the act in stoppage time with a drive on goal that you felt Gordon would save, but the ball squirted under him and the ton-up man was off to celebrate in a familiar fashion that we haven't seen for a while.

It is on to Carling Cup business on Tuesday.