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Stoke had a number of decisions which went in their favour, courtesy of referee Chris Foy and his assistants:
- Peter Crouch clearly handled the ball in the lead up to the first goal
- Younes Kaboul was dragged down as he jumped for the ball at a corner
- Shawcross handled the ball on the line from Kaboul's shot
- Emmanuel Adebayor's disallowed goal was two yards on-side
- William Gallas was fouled as he went to for a tap-in
- Another handball from a Defoe shot
- Kaboul's dismissal from two soft yellow cards with the second coming when the Stoke player advanced from an offside position
- Woodgate could have had a second yellow card in the first half for a foul on Parker
When have Spurs ever benefited from refereeing decisions in a game to such an extent as happened against Stoke last weekend?
Every team has been gifted a win where an offside goal was allowed or an undeserved penalty awarded or a crucial decision went in their favour but I'm thinking about times when it appeared that almost every decision was favourable and resulted in a Tottenham win.
It's appropriate to raise the topic a week on from the Stoke game as I was reminded when I was reading 'Vertigo' by John Crace at the weekend that our next opponents, Chelsea, had favourable decisions at Stamford Bridge last season which gave them the three points - the Lampard shot which Heurelho Gomes allowed to slip past him but recovered only for the goal to be awarded and then, their winning goal was offside.
It is undeniable that against Stoke, Spurs found themselves into a difficult position because of poor defending in the first half but the refereeing decisions prevented them from making a comeback and possibly winning the game. It is also true that if Gomes had dealt properly with Lampard's shot - basic goalkeeping - then Chelsea wouldn't have had the boost of going in level at the interval and that his mistake was the cause of Spurs' downfall.
Our selective 'Spurs' memory always allows us to remember the mistakes that have gone against us while deleting those which were favourable but I can't remember any occasion when Tottenham benefited in such a dramatic way when winning a game since I started following them in 1965.
The one occasion that I do know of when they did have the advantage of poor refereeing which enabled them to win a game was as far back as April, 1952, a few months before my birth. Spurs beat Huddersfield Town 1 - 0 at White Hart Lane thanks to a goal similar to the one Blackburn scored last month from a corner where Pedersen dribbled into the penalty area having been the only player to touch the ball. His cross was then finished off by Junior Hoilett.
If anyone can suggest examples of occasions when Spurs wins have come about through controversial decisions by the officials, I would like to know about them.