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+The Monday Verdict

Posted on 31 January 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).

We'll meet again. Yes, West Brom will be making a visit to the Lane to settle this fourth round tie of the FA Cup following a lively tussle at the Hawthorns.

It was not looking at one point, Robert Earnshaw - who was an early thorn in our collective side - volleyed West Brom into the lead on 16 minutes, sending the home fans into a frenzy.

Thankfully, a clumsy challenge by Darren Purse on Jermain Defoe was deemed to be a penalty and the little striker obliged from the spot.

There was good news on the selection front and Martin Jol was bold in his choices. Fredi Kanoute and Simon Davies hit the comeback trail their respective absences, while there were recalls for Anthony Gardner, Stephen Kelly and Michael Brown. Noe Pamarot, Robbie Keane and Dean Marney reverted to the bench, with Pedro Mendes having sustained an injury in training and Naybet also missing.

The Hawthorns - certainly from a media point of view - falls into the category of great place to visit. No hassle, friendly people, no problems with access and, as my colleague Paul Miles reliably informs - great pies! It was from West Brom, it is thought he gained his nickname 'The Pie' due to demolishing a meat n potato, a balti and a steak n kidney in quick succession.

Now we've got you feeling a bit peckish, back to the match. A report on the first ten minutes of the game would not take too much reading time as very little happened. The early stages lacked the cut and thrust of a typical cup tie and it was pretty much early sparring with very little threat of a decisive counter punch.

West Brom were certainly showing the more urgency, but Kanoute and Defoe combined on 15 minutes for the latter to fire low at Russell Hoult. Earnshaw hit the bar at the other end before Albion took, what they would consider, a deserved lead.

Ronnie Wallwork made a dash down the left flank and dispatched a teasing cross into the danger area. Earnshaw rightly gambled on getting there ahead of Gardner and made good contact in flicking the ball high past Paul Robinson and into the net.

Davies got in a decent strike on goal after 27 minutes as the boys attempted to embark on a recovery mission. Some of the approach play looked promising, but the final ball often went astray.

The tide turned on 29 minutes when Defoe employed some trickery inside the Albion area, which Purse resorted to foul play to stop. Referee Mark Halsey immediately pointed to the spot sparking howls of derision from the home support. Replays proved the decision correct and Defoe planted his penalty low into the right hand corner.

The home side could have re-snatched the lead on 38 minutes when a Jonathan Greening cross was allowed to squirt across our six yard box, with Earnshaw latching onto the loose ball and shooting over from about four yards in front of goal.

Nearly four minutes into the second half, Davies took off on a mazy run that took him infield from the right. He released a slide rule pass for Defoe to turn and shoot in front of goal, but he spooned his effort and Hoult was not tested.

Albion stepped up a gear, with the crowd still seething over the Defoe penalty decision, the decibel level heightened. It was a little purple patch, however, where little was created in terms of clear strikes on goal.

At the other end, a Defoe piledriver from inside the area was forcefully directed away from goal by Purse. Greening then thought he had put Albion back in the lead and was denied by the post before a Kanu run ended with Robinson being forced to pull a save out of the top drawer.

Just before the midway point in the half, Defoe was sent scampering out wide on the left chasing an Atouba pass and managed send over a superb hanging cross that cleared Kanoute and was met by Davies, who directed his header just wide.

It was roughly his last contribution as he was replaced on 75 minutes by Dean Marney, with Defoe making way for Keane. Bryan Robson then introduced the heavy mob up front in the shape of Geoff Horsfield and Kevin Campbell.

None of the changes managed to alter the scoreline and we now get ready to play it again at the Lane.