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+The Monday Verdict

Posted on 11 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).

Just six game remain in the season and, following the 1-0 victory over Newcastle, we are sitting fairly pretty in seventh place in the Premiership standings.

A win over the Magpies was vital considering the boys now face a three-game spell featuring two rather challenging away games - in the shape of Liverpool and Arsenal, with West Brom at home inbetween. Jermain Defoe sealed the points on 41 minutes when he was in the right place at the right time to capitalise on an error from home keeper Stephen Harper - you feel we were probably due a slice of luck as fortune has not often sailed in our direction this season.

It was a glorious afternoon at the Lane, sun shining and the pitch looking as near to perfect as you are likely to come across at this stage in a campaign. There was an Olympian feel to proceedings ahead of kick-off, as the Club reinforced their backing for London's 2012 Olympic bid, with the players wearing bid t-shirts during the warm-up. Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson - Badminton silver medal winners in Athens - were interviewed pitchside pre-match and both revealed they are Spurs supporters. We all wish the London 2012 team all the very best of luck when it comes to decision time this July in Singapore.

It was Michael Brown who drew the first save out of goalkeeper Harper on two minutes when he took charge of a loose ball on the edge of the area and took a couple of purposeful strides before firing low in on goal. The Newcastle second keeper was equal to the effort on this occasion.

Andy Reid then delivered a teasing drive across the six yard box that Harper did well to clutch before the predatory Defoe struck. Another Reid supply from left later just evaded the flailing foot of Fredi Kanoute.

On 13 minutes Brown earned himself a ban through the totting up process, collecting his tenth booking of the season that will see him serve a two-game suspension after the Liverpool encounter.

A sublime pass from Carrick after 22 minutes so nearly had Defoe homing in on goal, but Harper was very quick out of the blocks and managed to shin the ball away. Anthony Gardner was not far away from the target with his header at the half-hour mark.

Four minutes before the break Newcastle were bearing gifts, one in particular in the shape of a goal for Defoe. A backpass from Celestine Babayaro was smashed by Harper into Simon Davies and the ball spun backwards towards goal - Defoe needed little encouragement to help it on its way and the lead was secured.

There was a surprise at half-time with the withdrawal of Alan Shearer from the Newcastle side, he was replaced by James Milner.

Defoe so nearly pounced on defensive uncertainty again shortly after the break, dispossessing Andy O'Brien and making his way towards goal before the same player made a superb recovery challenge.

On 54 minutes Sean Davis was bought on for the struggling Brown to form what looks to be a promising midfield axis with Carrick. There followed a big scare when, after picking up the ball, Paul Robinson tapped it in the direction of an unsuspecting Ledley King. Thankfully, the alert Milner chipped his free hit on goal wide of the post.

Newcastle played their final cards - player-wise - just after the hour, bringing on Charles N'Zogbia and Darren Ambrose for Laurent Robert and Nicky Butt. On 74 minutes Kanoute could have sealed it after Defoe shook off Carr on collecting a high punt, nudged forward in the direction of his strike partner, but his effort curled high over the bar.

Martin Jol then opted for change - Robbie Keane for Defoe as a hint of nervousness over he preserving of a narrow lead started to become evident. Newcastle began to press with more conviction than shown in the first 75 minutes, even though Robinson remained pretty much a bystander.

Kanoute nearly got on the end of an Edman cross to seal the game and that second goal was becoming very much elusive. Reto Ziegler joined the mix for Simon Davies with seven minutes left on the clock, the Welshman performed admirably after a two-game injury absence of offered a superb balance to the midfield on the right side.

The points were duly banked and the crowd of 35,885 went home probably happy in the knowledge that this season is still very much alive and there is all to play for as we enter the home straight.