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+The Monday Verdict

Posted on 24 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).

A three-goal blitz in 11 second half minutes made it a forgettable Saturday afternoon voyage to Selhurst Park. Goals from Mikele Leigertwood, Danny Granville and an Andy Johnson penalty turned the game on its head and made Match of the Day far from enjoyable viewing.

This team, however, have proved over the last couple of months that they do possess character and a have a very good spirit in the squad. Hopefully West Brom in the FA Cup will discover this for themselves and suffer some sort of backlash.

Maybe it was just one of those curious days. West Brom themselves won for only the second time this season against Manchester City, Southampton did not look a struggling side with the way they dismantled Liverpool, while Norwich somehow successfully closed a 4-1 deficit against Middlesbrough.

There were a few of curious pre-match rituals out on the Selhurst pitch - cheerleaders, a blast of 'Glad All Over', a throng of people in the centre-circle for the formalities followed by what seemed the longest huddle in history for the home side. Finally, about three minutes late, we kicked off.

Palace sprang a little bit of surprise by adding another striker - Dougie Freedman - to share the load with Andy Johnson. What with reported Spurs target Wayne Routledge pushing on it was quite an attacking line-up for a side famed for packing the midfield.

Jermain Defoe had a good opportunity to open the scoring on six minutes, taking a Michael Carrick precision pass in his stride and into the area, before firing over the bar. The pressure began to pile on from this point and it looked like a lead would be registered before there was a scare when Freedman picked up on a Defoe slip and burst forward on a long run towards goal.

Giving chase, Defoe forced the Scot slightly wide before his low drive was flicked around the post by the also retreating Carrick. Paul Robinson then saved smartly from a Granville free-kick. Robbie Keane and Dean Marney combined well on 19 minutes when the striker's lay-off fell nicely into the path of the restored midfielder, but his powerful low drive was fielder by the Gabor Kiraly.

It was Palace on the prowl as the half-hour mark approached, the ball zipping twice across Robinson's six-yard box without a decisive touch being applied. Reto Ziegler was not far off a couple of minutes later when he whipped a free-kick - awarded for a Hughes foul on Keane - just over the e bar.

Marney nearly made it three goals for the season just before the break, bringing a corner under control in the area before unleashing a fierce drive that Kiraly did well to get across to. In what was a blow for Martin Jol, Ziegler was forced off with an injury before the half-time whistle and was replaced by the returning Thimothee Atouba.

All in all the first period was a fairly scrappy affair on a bumpy pitch, but the greater quality was definitely being displayed by Spurs.

It was our side doing all the pressing in the opening minutes of the second half, in particular, a neat passage of play that led to Carrick dragging his shot wide after Mendes teed him up.

The game then became disjointed again, there were patches of decent approach play, but the final ball lacked some accuracy and a little imagination. Palace were in stubborn mode and our midfield struggled to get the right sort of service into the strikers with the lack of a tall option.

On virtually Palace' first sortie forward in the second half, a Tom Soares cross from the left was met on the volley by Leigertwood and, via the underside of the bar, the lead was taken on 66 minutes.

It got worse four minutes later when Routledge - barracked throughout by the Palace fans - played in Granville behind our defence and he slipped the ball beyond Robinson and into the net.

Martin Jol immediately opted for change and sent on Mark Yeates in place of Noe Pamarot. Marney slotted in at right back with the young Irishman deployed in front of him.

It didn't get any better. The previously quiet Johnson embarked on a dart into the area and was felled by a challenge from Mendes. The same player made absolutely no mistake from the spot, thumping the ball past Robinson with 76 minutes on the clock.