Tottenham Hotspur defeats Stoke City
A first person narrative of Tottenham Hotspur's 2-1 win over Stoke City.
Two first half goals from Gareth Bale saw us clinch a 2-1 victory at the Britannia Stadium for the second season in succession.
Bale's second goal will long live in the memory, with his first a
little fortunate, but what will be equally satisfying for Harry
Redknapp is the way the the team dug in and weathered the inevitable
onslaught in the final 20 minutes.
A goal that was not awarded to
the home side in the second half will no doubt be the focus of some
attention and intensify the call for technology, but whether or not it
should have got to that point without the whistle being blown will
perhaps also be looked at when slow motions and different angles are
Bale was the focus of the early attacking impetus,
being sent scurrying away twice by Tom Huddlestone and on each occasion
being unlucky with his final ball.
Stoke began to claim some
territory with their familiar robust appraoch and Heurelho Gomes was in
position to deal with a powerful shot from Jonathan Walters before, on
19 minutes, the scoring began.
Aaron Lennon dribbled crossfield
from left to right and chipped into the path of Bale, who saw his shot
saved by Thomas Sorensen in the Stoke goal. The ball looped up and
Peter Crouch nodded goalwards to where Ryan Shawcross was in place to
block, but the central defender headed his clearance into Bale and the
ball ended up in the net!
Unfortunately, the lead only lasted six
minutes as a Matthew Etherington corner was not dealt with and struck
the shins of Younes Kaboul, resulting in Ricardo Fuller shooting home
from close range.
A contender for Goal of the Season followed
just before the half hour mark. The lively Lennon again ran with the
ball before arrowing a clever cross in the direction of Bale, who
arched himself and dispatched a stunning left-foot volley into the top
corner of the net. Two goals on a ground where the season before last
he suffered a miserable afternoon with a first half red card.
spun Kaboul and Gomes had to be sharp and alert to deny the big
striker, otherwise the momentum was with the team in blue and if the
final ball had been a bit sharper the lead would have been increased
going into the break.
In stoppage time Sorsensen saved his side
after Jermaine Jenas was the supply line for a Bale cross, the leg of
the Danish keeper preventing Jenas from capitalising on the centre
after a slick move.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Bale combined to
nearly create a further opening at the beginning of the second half as
the fluent football continued.
Stoke were always going to be
combative but there were no major alarms as the clock ticked towards
the hour mark and the long ball from back to front became more frequent.
Rory Delap was playing his party piece with his team committing numbers forward, leaving them a little exposed on the break.
substitute Tuncay looked like he had levelled on 67 minutes, his shot
looping up off of Kaboul and sailing in until a retreating Gomes
managed to tip over. The same player then headed just wide.
home side cranked up the pressure and Gomes was brave in his work as
the last line of defence. Jenas produced a moment of real quality in
sending Bale clear but his chip could not clear Sorensen, while at the
other end a Fuller shot was saved by Gomes when a goal appeared the
Kyle Walker took over from Lennon in the 87th
minute to provide a little more solidity on the right, but it should be
noted that Lennon put in a tenacious and creative shift for the team.
thought they had the ball over the line in stoppage time following a
corner and probably had a point, but there were two fouls in the build
up to it. Ryan Shawcross saw his header touchonto the crossbar by Gomes
and Walters headed the rebound towards goal, where Crouch blocked.
Referee Mr Foy looked over to his assistant and neither were able to
make an award.
This appeared to deflate Stoke, the rest of six
minutes of stoppage time passed without incident and a first away win
of the season and three points were deposited into our account.
Spurs (4-5-1): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon
(Walker, 87), Jenas, Palacios, Huddlestone, Bale; Crouch.
Alnwick, Naughton, Bassong, Kranjcar, Livermore, Rose.
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