Saturday, March 18, 2006

Lennon and Keane 'Double' for Tottenham

Birmingham City 0 Spurs 2

Two second half goals from Aaron Lennon and Robbie Keane restored Spurs to 4th place in the Premiership, ahead of Arsenal whose win earlier in the day had temporarily put them ahead of their North London neighbours.

Jol brought in Stephen Kelly for Paul Stalteri who has been at fault for recent goals, and Aaron Lennon started in place of Tainio. The strike partnership was Defoe and Keane with Mido on the bench. This was a change of tactic from the manager whose preference has always been to play a tall striker with a smaller partner.

Birmingham, who had been heavily criticised after last week's home draw with West Brom, started determinedly as would be expected from a team fighting relegation and kept Spurs under considerable pressure. They were quicker to the ball and gave Spurs no time or space to play in. Emile Heskey gave Ledley King a difficult evening but while Spurs conceded numerous corners, Robinson was rarely troubled. After a poor first half, Spurs could have gone ahead on the stroke of half-time following a run from Lennon created a chance for Robbie Keane. Dawson was colossal at the centre of the defence but Defoe had little involvement before half-time.

The second half continued in much the same vein with Spurs having little room or time to play the ball but the turning point came when Heskey had to go off injured. King was now able to be come more dominant at the centre of the defence. Spurs should have had a penalty when a Dawson shot following a corner was handled by Butt. However, a spark of brilliance from Defoe created the first goal for Lennon. Defoe dispossessed Melchiot on the wing and although pulled back he kept going, evaded another desperate tackle and played the ball across for Lennon who controlled it and cut inside to score his first goal for Spurs.

The goal gave Spurs confidence and they became much more positive, while coping with Birmingham's attempts to equalise. With Jol preparing to replace Robbie Keane with Danny Murphy, Jenas made another break into the Birmingham penalty area and crossed for Keane to score with his final touch of the game. Robbie has scored 49 League goals for Spurs and has a total of 98 League goals in his career.

Birmingham were a spent force and Defoe who had played so much better in the second half should have made it three but Spurs were satisfied with the three points and a clean sheet.

Having scored the second goal to secure victory, the fans avoided the worry of the possibility of a late goal snatching the points from them.

The first 'Cup Final' has been won but there are another eight to come as Spurs strive to keep hold of a place in Europe for next season. Fifty two points secured, equalling last year's total, with eight games to play. Spurs best season for years continues to roll on.


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