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Match Report


Posted Sat 13 Nov 10 at 16:54 PM

Report: Tottenham 4 Rovers 2

If ever there was a game where the scoreline didn't reflect the match this was one of them as Rovers went down 4-2 at White Hart Lane.

In a game where both sides created a hatful of chances it was the home side who were more clinical in an entertaining encounter that on another day Rovers could have earned themselves something out of.

Hoilett tested Spurs early but the home side took the lead on the quarter mark when poor marking allowed Gareth Bale to head home a corner kick.

Brett Emerton saw a shot tipped round the post whilst Samba headed over. But Roman Pavlyuchenko made up for his earlier penalty miss when he headed the home side into a two goal half time lead.

Morten Gamst Pedersen saw a bullet shot cleared off the line then Gomes denied El-Hadji Diouf with an acrobatic save.

But Spurs were deadly in front of goal, Peter Crouch adding a third after Robinson had denied Pavlyuchenko before Bale bagged his second from close range.

There was still time for Diouf to see another effort blocked on the line before Rovers finally got on the scoresheet, David Dunn striking the ball through a host of legs.

Gael Givet reduced arrears further when he blasted home on ninety minutes, but despite an additional five for injury time it was the home side who claimed the points in what was a superb advertisement for Premier League football.

Having seen off Newcastle United on Wednesday night, Rovers travelled to White Hart Lane high on confidence, and keeping with the same starting eleven they looked to take the game to their hosts from the off.

One of those who impressed at St. James' Park in midweek was Junior Hoilett and he immediately made his mark inside the opening five minutes, combining well with Pascal Chimbonda down the left but his near post shot was claimed by Heurelho Gomes in the Tottenham goal.

Tottenham alternated between early long range efforts or to try to use the height of Peter Crouch, but it was from a set-piece that the home side took the lead.

A Jermaine Jenas centre had been cleared behind by Ryan Nelsen, but from Rafael van der Vaart's right wing centre Rovers were caught napping as Gareth Bale beat Gaël Givet to the ball at the near post to head past a helpless Paul Robinson.

Buoyed by the goal Spurs looked to get a quick-fire second, Rovers having to quell a spell of pressure before creating a fine opening of their own.

Attacking through the centre of the park, Hoilett played the ball out to Brett Emerton who curled a left-footed effort towards the far corner but Gomes saved well, diving to his right to tip the ball around the post.

From the resulting Morten Gamst Pedersen corner Chris Samba threatened but his header went inches over the corner of post and bar.

Roman Pavlyuchenko flung himself to the floor in an attempt to win a penalty, and whilst the Russian was still prone in the area Luka Modric saw yellow for a similar outrageous dive, there really was no need.

Then on 28 Rovers should have found themselves two goals down when Phil Jones under hit a backpass, Pavlyuchenko stole in but with Robinson to beat he clipped the ball over the former Spurs stopper but thankfully over the bar also.

Tottenham may have failed to have fooled referee Andre Marriner on two occasions but a third dive on the half hour saw them given a frankly ridiculous penalty decision. Jermaine Jenas into the area on the left, gets past Phil Jones and throws himself to the floor. The Rovers players are besides themselves as the referee points to the spot.

Justice, however, was served as Roman Pavlyuchenko put his right-footed effort the wrong side of Paul Robinson's right post.

Rovers went straight up the other end and had yet another great chance to pull level, Brett Emerton sending the ball from right to left where Morten Gamst Pedersen had time and space with a header but inexplicably put the ball straight to a defender.

Whilst Rovers were creating chances they weren't controlling the play, so to try to rectify they made an early tactical change. El-Hadji Diouf coming on for Michel Salgado.

That saw a reshuffle for Rovers with Chimbonda moving to the right back position, Diouf floating around in a more advanced position.

Despite the home side's possession Rovers continued to create the better chances, Niko Kalinić turning Younes Kaboul brilliantly in the area but Gomes saved his left-footed strike.

Alas Rovers were to regret that missed chance when on 42 minutes Tottenham scored a second, Gareth Bale had the beating of Chimbonda down the left and his cross was perfect for Pavlyuchenko to head past Paul Robinson, the ball looping over the Rovers' 'keeper.

It was a disappointing end to the opening half after Rovers had troubled their opponents on a number of occasions.

Jason Roberts replaced Niko Kalinić at the break but it was the home side who were straight on the attack after the restart, Luka Modric running at the Rovers defence but his well-struck shot curled away from goal. Moments later Bale, showing all the confidence of a man in form volleyed high over the bar with an audacious effort.

Rovers responded with three corners in quick succession but nothing came of them as the home defence held firm. The last of them saw Samba head goalwards but he didn't get enough purchase on the ball to trouble Gomes.

Then a fizzing Morten Gamst Pedersen free-kick flicked a head in the wall and flew narrowly over as Rovers continued to look for a way back into the game.

But as they threw more men forward Rovers were of course susceptible to the counter, one such saw the home side have three on two but Modric made the wrong pass and Emerton was able to slide in to avert the danger.

A headed ball forward from Phil Jones saw Jason Roberts do battle with William Gallas for the ball, the Rovers forward went to ground in the area but the referee was unmoved.

Paul Robinson denied Peter Crouch at one end before William Gallas prevented Morten Gamst Pedersen from reducing arrears. Hoilett broke well before feeding the ball to Roberts, he in turn found Diouf who crossed, Gomes only cleared as far as the Norwegian who volleyed the ball goalwards only for Gallas to make a superb clearance on the line.

That would prove to be Pedersen's last involvement as he was replaced by David Dunn as Rovers made their third and final change.

Dunn then combined with fellow sub El-Hadji Diouf for yet another chance in front of goal, Dunn slipping the ball through for the Senegal man but Gomes pulled off a brilliant one-handed save.

But just as the first half Rovers were once again left to rue those spurned chances. Attacking at pace Pavlyuchenko saw his shot saved by Robinson, Givet was slow to clear and Peter Crouch slid the ball into the back of the net.

Three minutes later Robinson pulled off a great save to stop Pavlyuchenko adding a fourth.

That was a brief respite however as a fourth did arrive for Tottenham on 76 minutes. A Hutton cross from the right saw van der Vaart miscontrol, there was a possible hand involved as the ball dropped the Gareth Bale and he poked the ball past a prone Robinson.

With ten minutes to go Rovers finally got a goal their play deserved, a ball into the box coming out to David Dunn and he drove it low through the crowded area into the corner of the goal, Ryan Nelsen may have got the last touch to see the ball on its way.

There was still time for further Rovers chances, El-Hadji Diouf saw an effort cleared off the line by Kaboul then David Dunn saw Gomes tip a deflected shot over the bar.

Gael Givet reduced the deficit further when he blasted home from close range, but despite an additional five minutes of injury time, the home side held on to claim all three points in one of the games of the season.

TOTTENHAM: Gomes, Hutton, Bale, Kaboul, Jenas, Pavlyuchenko (sub Sandro 90 mins), van der Vaart (sub Palacios 85 mins), Gallas, Modric (c), Crouch, Assou-Ekotto.

Subs not used: Cudicini (GK), Bentley, Bassong, Kranjcar, Corluka.

ROVERS: Robinson, Samba (c), Nelsen, Givet, Salgado (sub EH Diouf 36 mins), Emerton, Jones, Pedersen (sub Dunn 63 mins), Chimbonda, Hoilett, Kalinić (sub Roberts 46 mins).

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Goulon, Hanley, MB Diouf.

Booked: Modric, Gallas (Tottenham), Samba, Diouf (Rovers).

Attendance: 35,700

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