Skip to main content


  • The Monday Verdict(2)
Subscribe to newsfeed 

+The Monday Verdict

Posted on 27 December 2004  - 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).

There must be a fair bit of pinching going on at the moment. I mean, five in a row - four of them with clean sheets - and the best since 1993. We're now chasing a landmark set before the days of Planet Premiership in 1990!

Norwich had their chances and missed. The local media men called it right at half-time when they confidently predicted that Spurs would 'nick this' and, although that might not be an accurate description of the second half, you took their point. And the boys took all three.

It is always tempting when you come to visit Norwich to simply imagine what Delia will knock up in the way of a spot of pre-match cuisine - particularly this time of year. However, it is also vital, bearing this in mind, not to be cast in role of turkey.

As it goes, the only feast we really wanted was one of the goal variety and more points added to our steadily accumulating account.

Team changes saw Robbie Keane start in place of hat-trick man Jermain Defoe, with Noureddine Naybet back in for Anthony Gardner and Pedro Mendes for Rohan Ricketts. Erik Edman made his first start since mid-November, replacing Reto Ziegler. A sneaky suspicion did linger that the pace of Gardner would have been useful up against the jet-heeled Darren Huckerby.

There were some bright early exchanges, the best coming when a Gary Doherty clearance fell to Thimothee Atouba, who planted a left foot cross right along the face of goal. Norwich were then forced into an early change when the injury-troubled Simon Charlton made way for Adam Drury after just ten minutes.

The home side then sprang into life, Huckerby burst down the right before releasing the ball to David Bentley on the edge of the area. The on-loan player struck the ball with the outside of his boot, Paul Robinson was beaten but, thankfully, the ball struck in the inside of the post, came out and was hoofed to safety. Panic set in though and a Mendes clearance was not altogether convincing in front of goal a few seconds later.

Fredi Kanoute worked an opening for himself on 17 minutes, cutting from right to left across the Norwich area before dispatching a shot that did not miss the top corner by too much.

It was Doherty who next came closest, nodding a free-kick goalwards and it took an alert Mendes on the line to keep the scores level.

Just after the half hour mark Doherty let a low cross skid through his legs and Kanoute picked up possession inside the area. Unfortunately, support was not speedily forthcoming and Fredi got crowded out while waiting.

The ex-Spurs contingent on the pitch increased on 38 minutes when Mattias Jonson was forced to withdraw and on came Paul McVeigh.

Norwich could and should have taken the lead in first half stoppage time, McKenzie went through on goal, Robinson misjudged his charge off the line and the ball was thankfully diverted away from the goal line by Naybet.

Both teams should have scored within seconds of eachother five minutes into the second half. A Huckerby corner was headed against the underside of the bar by McKensie before Kanoute scampered away on the break, fed Keane, who chose to roll the ball back into the path of his strike partner - but misjudged the weight and Robert Green was able to foil.

Just after the hour a flick from Keane on the edge of the area was met on the volley by Mendes, forcing a fine stop from Green. King then beat Green to loose ball on the touchline and steered towards goal, but Doherty reacted quickly to direct the ball to safety.

Ziegler was introduced on 65 minutes - for Atouba - and you got the feeling Defoe wouldn't be far behind. He did follow six minutes later after Edman produced a goal-saving lunging tackle to deny McKenzie again.

The change did have an effect - for Keane on 72 minutes. A Ziegler corner was diverted towards his own goal by Fleming, Adam Drury failed to clear decisively and Keane smashed the ball low past Green into the net.

It was Brown past the Green four minutes later when, after a 1-2 with Keane, Michael took aim and rocketed an effort high beyond the Norwich keeper to make it 2-0 and stun the majority of the 25,508 in attendance. Could have been three too, Defoe's shot hit the legs of Green when clear to the left of the area.