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Bolton 1-1 Spurs: Heaven Help Us If The Replay Goes To Penalties

Well that could have been a lot worse. Having taken a few deep breaths and poured myself a stiff drink prior to kick-off, proceedings began in precisely the depressing manner expected. I suspect there is not one soul in Christendom surprised by our early struggles in the face of perennial tormentor Kevin Davies, as well as the stream of set-piece deliveries. Vastly more dismaying however was our inability to handle the bread and butter of competing on the turf. Concepts such as winning second-balls – rather than gaping and watching in mild terror – or closing down opponents in possession appeared entirely alien to our glorious heroes, who were then torn to shreds for the second time in a week by a multi-pass move for the opposition goal.Moreover, when we did gain possession, in stark contrast to Bolton our lot regularly insisted upon two or three laboured touches, sucking all momentum from our play and giving our hosts plenty of time to organise themselves at the back.

I probably ought to hop straight to a confessional after typing this, but much that was wrong with the early part of the performance was typified by Modders. Too weak to handle the feistiness of Bolton’s midfield, our doings picked up around the time of his replacement by Kranjcar, who approached the challenge with just as much trickery but a little more muscle, linking better with Bale in 30 minutes than Modric had done in the previous hour.

Why it took an hour for our lot to switch on and boss the game is quite the mystery, but once we did it was fairly impressive stuff, just about everyone raising their game and playing with pace and zest aplenty. Bale, as ever, was at the hub of much that was good going forward. This also represented his first significant defensive test, and he performed these duties steadily without being necessarily flawless. Certainly there seems to be good reason to retain him at left-back for the foreseeable future.

In recent weeks as we have all searched for scapegoats, few have levelled any criticism at the boy Defoe and today gave an indication why. Through little fault of his own he has had precious few chances in recent weeks, but on being given approximately a yard and a half of space in the area he delivered a stinging reminder of what he does. Left foot too.

The 12-Yard Crisis

Right, time for a quick vox pop – a show of hands, please, from those who instinctively reacted to the award of the penalty by punching the air, then gave it a moment’s consideration and swiftly concluded that it might be more fun to stab out both eyes, rather than watch the kick be taken? No idea why Hudd could not just have approached it as he approaches every other shot he takes, putting his laces through the ball and leathering it to within an inch of its life. If we he were nervous – and that stuttering run-up dashed well gave the impression of man who would rather have been elsewhere – then he should have stepped aside and let someone else do the honours. It takes quite some doing, but our heroes have succeeded in turning the award of a penalty into a moment of on-pitch crisis.

Ooh, Handbags

As an aside, I noticed on the television replay that while ‘Arry and chums on the bench punched the air as appropriate in reaction to Defoe’s goal, behind them the Rarely-Sighted Pav did little more than squint apathetically in response to our equaliser.

Twelfth Man

Television also indicated that while the Reebok stadium was littered with empty seats there were vast legions of Tottenham supporters gathered behind one of the goals, and a mighty fine racket they made too. Awesome work.

On perusing the fixture-list each season I always consider that a draw at Bolton would be a decent result, and that this was a Cup match made no difference to my ambitions, for we never seem to play well against this lot, particularly on their patch. After the first half performance and score-line, and on the back of the confidence-sapping fare of recent weeks, we appeared to be staring down the barrel. Two efforts against the woodwork and a saved penalty may suggest that this is an opportunity missed, but I am mightily relieved with a draw, and back us to wrap this up at the Lane.

With Fulham to come, Chelski potentially up against Man City, and Villa also involved in a replay, a trip to Wembley is still on the cards. Perhaps more encouragingly, today’s late rally and performance in the final half hour give us a template to take into the next few League performances.

 

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9 Responses

  1. DAVSPURS Says:

    We tried to play football in the first half but after the High Tempo kicks in you have to hang on for dear life or you could be two down in a flash. Take a good look at Bolton’s team Gardner Lee Davies Muamba Halamanda where pumped up and over run Spurs forcing our defense to Hurry and lose the ball by hitting long balls to Bolton.This is Happening quite regular and if i here one more commentators say there work rate and Tempo is high i swear i am going to the News of the World. God knows i have tried to ignore what i see on the pitch and of it during interviews and if you look at the man of the match interview after and you cant see what me and my daughter seen then you must be blind she was staggered to see all the sines of energy abuse red face and neck and a wild eyed stair and if no other fans join in my campaign to rid these teams of energized performances then we are in for another cheated season its all over the championship the prem and beyond .Now the game Moderic has come back in the wrong frame of mind and reminds me of Berbatovs last 6 months before he went to Utd Remember the rumors about a swap with Carrick and money .last year i would have been gutted if this came true but not since Bentley and Kranlcar have been playing well at 6ft and 12st8 Kranjcar gives our midfield a bit more muscle .Tom Huddlestone penalty miss is so sad not just because of the miss but i recommended him in another blog because he used to take the under 21 and was good. But i must say this in is defense Jaskelinen comes of is line before players shoot and i have seen him do this regular where is the linesman to stop this but Tom should not side foot penalty’s on a heavy pitch. We also have to stop some of our panick defending there wher times when King and Dawson and bale hit long passes to Crouch and he only had 5ft7 Defoe to nod it down to and Boltons back four just give it to there midfield to attack us .The second half was much better and Dawson heading back to Gomes is long overdue in his game and a bit more chesting the ball down and playing it out wouldn’t go amiss and Gomes needs to stop sticking on is line like Robbo did is strengths are punching or catching crosses, he could have dived for Davies goal at least and Corluka got caught by Davies new speed .

  2. pristar Says:

    we cant take penalties… top 4 haha

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Quality title! But too true….

  4. Stanley Burkenshaw Says:

    It takes a bit of mental strength to take a penalty. The fact that we can’t find anyone up to the job tells us something.

  5. Gaz Says:

    Our best penalty taker is currently playing in Scotland.

  6. JOHN ADAM Says:

    Spurs disappoint again and again. What a way to take a penalty. Huddlestone made it so obvious as to the direstion in which he was going to shoot.. Even after the goalkeeper had moved to one side he still shot at him when he could have easily sent the ball into the opposite empty space. We have missed too many opportunities this season and last year, too, through our inability to take penalties. Taking a spot-kick properly is an art that we definitely lack and costing us dearly all the time. There is something wrong..

  7. Jurgen Says:

    Our best penalty taker is currently playing in Scotland? No, he is in our squad.

    There’s only one Clive Allen.

  8. JOHN ADAM Says:

    I was a bit disappointed with Gomes for not diving for Davies’ shot because he normally has a quick reflex and a long-arm reach and who knows if he would not have succeeded to save the goal if only he had made the effort at least.

  9. benp Says:

    got hacked off with bolton thinking they had us at their place, so went down there to make sure the job got done. amazing crowd, probably kept us in the cup it was that good.

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