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Hart heroics keep us at bay

We began our 2010-2011 Premier League campaign with a goal-less draw against Manchester City at the Lane - but that hardly tells the whole story.

We began our 2010-2011 Premier League campaign with a goal-less draw against Manchester City at the Lane - but that hardly tells the whole story.

In a first half dominated by Harry Redknapp's men, visiting goalkeeper Joe Hart was all that stood between us and the goal on numerous occasions.

Gareth Bale also hit the post and had a penalty appeal turned down in a frantic opening 45 minutes before things calmed down after the break somewhat.

Nonetheless, the Welshman still had the best chance to win it seven minutes from time but contrived to put wide from six yards out with the goal gaping.

It meant we were unable to make it five straight wins over the men from Eastlands as Roberto Mancini's side went some way to erasing the memory of our decisive defeat of them at the end of last season.

There was only one change to our side from the one that clinched victory and Champions League football that famous night back in May.

Vedran Corluka, injured at the time, came in at right-back for Younes Kaboul - but there were far more question marks as to who would be in the opposition lineup.

With a host of summer signings arriving in the blue half of Manchester, three of them - Yaya Toure, David Silva and Aleksander Kolarov - made their debuts at the Lane.

As part of Roberto Mancini's reshuffle, there were no places in the starting XI for Emmanuel Adebayor, Adam Johnson and, perhaps most notably, Shay Given.

Instead, it was Hart, on loan at Birmingham last season, who earned a starting berth between the sticks for City. And after the first 45 minutes, that decision was looking like a managerial masterstroke.

A towering Peter Crouch header, an acrobatic Jermain Defoe effort, a thundering Tom Huddlestone volley and a deflected Benoit Assou-Ekotto long-range effort were just some of the moments in which Hart excelled himself.

And that's not mentioning two more stops at the feet of Defoe as the striker was clean through on goal and quick reflexes to keep out an Aaron Lennon follow-up after Bale had hit the foot of his post with a low strike.

Bale, as you would expect, was in the thick of the action down the left hand side, and appeared to be brought down in the box by Micah Richards soon after, but referee Andre Marriner waved appeals away.

At the other end, Heurelho Gomes had little to do in the first half, making just the one save from a deflected Yaya Toure effort.

The same player blasted wide from distance on 31 minutes while it nearly opened up in the box for Carlos Tevez a little earlier before a combination of Corluka and Ledley King kept him out.

And it was City who made the brighter start to the second half. Yaya Toure picked out Shaun Wright-Phillips with a searching ball just seconds in and the winger was clean through. But Benoit Assou-Ekotto was back well in the nick of time to make a last ditch tackle.

Overall, things were far more cagey after the break, with City tightening things up a little and perhaps both attacks tiring.

Both managers made changes in an attempt to tip the balance with 20 minutes remaining. Adam Johnson replaced Wright-Phillips for City while Harry Redknapp changed his strikeforce completely with Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko replacing Crouch and Defoe.

It was Johnson who sparked City on 71 minutes with a run at the defence that opened up space for Tevez to have a go from the edge of the box. His shot deflected off King and flew narrowly over.

At the other end, Pavlyuchenko twice tested Hart, as did Lennon before he himself was replaced by the in-form Giovani Dos Santos with 15 minutes remaining.

Time was running out for us to regain our first half dominance, but arguably our best chance of the match was still to come.

Pavlyuchenko's ball in from the right was excellently defended by Vincent Kompany with Keane lurking, but it fell perfectly for Bale to side-foot home with Hart stranded for once, and he somehow scuffed it wide with the goal gaping.

Pavlyuchenko then worked a short corner with Huddlestone and arrowed a shot not far wide with two minutes left on the clock, but it wasn't to be.

The season may not have begun with the victory we all hoped for, but there are plenty of positives to take going into our Champions League Play-Off first leg with BSC Young Boys on Tuesday.

Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Giovani, 77), Huddlestone, Modric, Bale; Crouch (Keane, 68), Defoe (Pavlyuchenko, 68)
Subs not used: Cudicini, Bassong, Kaboul, Palacios

City (4-1-4-1): Hart; Richards, K Toure, Kompany, Kolarov (Zabaleta, 46); De Jong; Wright-Phillips (A Johnson, 68), Y Toure, Barry, Silva; Tevez (Adebayor, 83)
Subs not used: Given, Lescott, Vieira, Jo

Attendance: 35,928