Spurs 2-0 Pompey
White Hart Lane
Sat 22-03-08, 12.45pm
The first of 2 visits to the capital in a matter of weeks saw us off to White Hart Lane today to face Spurs. We were on a good run of form having won our previous 3 league and cup games but we have not had a good record against Spurs at White Hart Lane, and this carried on with an eventual 2-0 defeat.
Harry Redknapp was forced into several changes as Sulley Muntari and Papa Bouba Diop were both suspended and Jermain Defoe was ineligible. Lauren missed out through illness and Lassana Diarra picked up a slight knock in training, whereas Milan Baros dropped to the bench.
In came Lucien Aubey, Richard Hughes, Pedro Mendes, Sean Davis, John Utaka and Kanu with Dave Nugent returning to the bench after injury being joined by youngster Marc Wilson, who featured on the bench against Sunderland earlier in the season.
After holding out for 80 minutes we finally succumbed to goals from Darren Bent and Jamie O'Hara.
Most of the early possession was with Spurs and the first chance came after a quickly taken free kick, which we managed to scramble away with Pascal Chimbonda lurking, with David James shortly pressed into the games first save from Robbie Keane.
We almost conceded when James nearly carried the ball out of the area, he then dropped it to kick it when Keane - who had been lurking off the pitch - almost nicked it off him.
A quick break, with a long James kick was collected by John Utaka who passed to Sean Davis who tried to chip Paul Robinson but he recovered well to tip the effort over the bar.
Chimbonda went close again, this time getting an effort on goal, his volley from the edge of the area was inches wide with James beaten.
30 minutes in and Dimitar Berbatov had the ball in the net after being played in by Keane but he was offside so this was ruled out.
We should have had an attacking throw in but it was given to Spurs, who then broke to win a corner. From this corner Michael Dawson thundered an effort against the bar, with Tom Huddlestone also going close before the break.
It was a decent opening to the 2nd half, but in the first 15-20 minutes of the half there were no real clear cut efforts, although Spurs had a few half chances, we then had a really good chance to possible do something as a break involving 4 players was wasted with Kanu giving the ball away.
The best chance of the game did fall to Kanu in the final 15 minutes as he got clear from a through ball to head over Robinson who came out to meet him, but his header lacked conviction and Didier Zokora got back to clear the danger - had Kanu gone in 100% committed he would have scored but he seemed worried about being clattered by Robinson.
Shortly after his arrival Darren Bent succeeded where Kanu failed, his header saw James beaten and Spurs were ahead. A little over a minute later fellow sub Jamie O'Hara wrapped up the 3 points, Bent broke to pull the ball back and the arriving midfielder made no mistake.
Harry Redknapp made his first chance of the game immediately after this as Milan Baros came on for Kanu - a move that happened some 20 minutes too late for me, as I reckon had we brought Baros on sooner we might have won this game. Arnold Mvuemba also got on in the last minute, replacing Richard Hughes.
It was a decent fairly open game, but I think it is fair to say that Spurs won deservingly so. The win also meant they achieved the double over us.
Had we offered a little more offensively and not gave the ball away as cheaply as we did once again - as we have been doing a lot recently we could have won this - getting Milan Baros on sooner would have also made a difference for me.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Spurs 2 - Darren Bent 80, Jamie O'Hara 82
Richard Hughes (Arnold Mvuemba 90)
Kanu (Milan Baros 83)
Substitutes Not Used