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Result of the season!

Posted on 21 March 2009  - 12:00

Luka Modric struck the only goal of the game as victory over London rivals Chelsea at The Lane takes us into the top half of the Barclays Premier League for the first time this season.

Result of the season!

Luka Modric struck the only goal of the game as victory over London rivals Chelsea at The Lane takes us into the top half of the Barclays Premier League for the first time this season.

On a blazing hot and memorable day at the Spurs, we performed outstandingly against Guus Hiddink's side to stretch our run to six games unbeaten in the league.

Not only that, but the result puts a serious dent in the title hopes of the Blues, who have now failed to beat us in the last four attempts.

Harry Redknapp stuck with the team that featured for the majority of our impressive win at Aston Villa last weekend, with Vedran Corluka starting at right-back this time in place of Didier Zokora.

With the sun shining, there was a great atmosphere at The Lane for this derby clash and a tempo to match from the off.

The in-form Michael Essien did force Heurelho Gomes into an eighth minute save, but it's fair to say we had the better of the first half overall.

A minute later, Corluka's cross was cleared only as far as Jenas, who hit a ferocious shot from the edge of the box just inches over the bar.

On 18 minutes, Darren Bent climbed high to flick on Gomes' goal-kick, and as the bounce deceived Chelsea defender Alex, Robbie Keane ran in behind to hit a stinging volley first time, which Petr Cech did well to stand up to.

Keane tested the Czech goalkeeper again on 25 minutes with another first time shot from the edge of the box after good work from Corluka on the right.

Gomes was called into action only once more in the opening 45, turning Nicolas Anelka's 33rd minute shot around the post.

We finished the half the stronger side, and Keane once again got a sighting at goal seven minutes from the break after a 40-yard run into the box. He just failed to curl his attempt past Cech.

But you sensed there would be more chances to come into the second half, and we didn't have to wait long before our pressure paid dividends.

Aaron Lennon, fresh from putting pen to paper on a new contract the day before, attacked Ashley Cole before sending a pin-point ball into the box for Modric to sweep home first-time into the bottom right-hand corner.

It was the Croatian's fourth goal of this his first season in English football, and no more than the little man deserves for his outstanding performances in recent weeks.

A bumper home crowd at The Lane was now in full voice, and they were so nearly treated to a carbon copy of the goal on 59 minutes.

Keane picked out Lennon with a pinpoint crossfield ball, and the flying winger once again attacked his man before putting the ball into box. This time Modric tried to catch it on the volley - it would have been spectacular, but he didn't properly connect, and the ball fell safely into the hands of Cech.

Once Chelsea settled, a touch of panic, it is fair to say, maybe crept into our game, and we came under a spell of pressure.

Portuguese international Ricardo Quaresma was introduced by the visitors to add some width, and it took some good defending from Corluka to deny Frank Lampard at the back post following his 64th minute cross.

Didier Drogba then forced Gomes into a near post save, and we found ourselves constantly having to defend set-pieces.

Although Keane sent a fantastic 25-yard effort just wide on 71 minutes, it was left to our Brazilian goalkeeper to claim the plaudits for keeping our lead intact 11 minutes from time.

Lampard found John Terry with a free-kick, and his powerful downward header looked destined for the bottom corner before Gomes dived full stretch to turn wide with a splendid reaction save.

It follows on from what the big man described as his best performances in a Spurs shirt last week, and he now looks full of confidence after a difficult first season at times.

From that save, we could, and perhaps should, have doubled our lead when Modric broke away and played in Lennon down the right. He got all the way to by-line and options in the box, but perhaps got caught in two minds and tried a shot that he got all wrong.

A minute later, Drogba nearly punished us with a looping header after Terry's ball to the back post, but it sailed wide and it looked as if we had weathered the storm...

Of course, it's never that easy, and there was some late, late drama when Alex climbed to head a corner onto the bar.

But we claimed what has to be the result of the season, and the joy around The Lane at the final whistle was tangible.

Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Woodgate, King, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Zokora, 90), Palacios, Jenas, Modric (O'Hara, 87); Keane, Bent
Subs not used: Cudicini, Dawson, Huddlestone, Bentley, Pavlyuchenko

Chelsea (4-4-2): Cech; Bosingwa, Alex, Terry, A Cole; Belletti (Quaresma, 61), Essien (Malouda, 77), Ballack, Lampard; Anelka, Drogba
Subs not used: Hilario, Ivanovic, Mancienne, Kalou, Di Santo