Spurs beat Baggies to close gap

Tottenham moved to within three points of Manchester United after Jermain Defoe's strike earned Spurs a 1-0 home win over West Brom.

Last Updated: 04/01/12 at 08:23 Post Comment   

Defoe: Mobbed by his team-mates after hitting the winner

Defoe: Mobbed by his team-mates after hitting the winner

Defoe finally broke through West Brom's stubborn resistance with a second-half winner at White Hart Lane.

The striker, recalled after a month spent in the treatment room and on the bench, swivelled and poked home in the 63rd minute after holding off the challenge of four Baggies defenders.

The goal came after a drab opening hour in which Tottenham looked anything but genuine title challengers.

Sloppy passing, wayward finishing, and a failure to carve open an organised West Brom defence meant Spurs were in danger of passing up another opportunity to put pressure on second-placed United and leaders Manchester City, before Defoe reminded manager Harry Redknapp of his killer instinct with a precise finish from 10 yards to ensure they started 2012 with a win.

Tottenham are now within striking distance of United and have a chance to confirm their status as contenders in their upcoming home games against Everton, Wolves and Wigan.

One troubling note for Redknapp will be his ever-increasing injury list.

Jake Livermore, William Gallas and Sandro all had to come off with injuries tonight and Spurs dearly missed the presence of Scott Parker and Ledley King, who were ruled out due to knee problems.

After seeing their rivals stutter over the festive period, Spurs had a golden chance to establish their position as London's top team and make serious inroads in to the grip the two Manchester sides hold on the league.

Injuries to Chris Brunt and Shane Long further boosted their hopes, but Parker's absence for the first time since he signed from West Ham left a gaping hole in Spurs' midfield.

Defoe, who has hinted he could seek to leave this month, looked keen to make a good impression, testing Ben Foster twice in the opening five minutes on a chilly night in north London.

Foster punched clear a teasing cross from Gareth Bale before Jerome Thomas hacked down the Welshman down to give Spurs a dangerous free-kick which Van der Vaart wasted by firing in to the wall.

The Dutchman quickly made amends by sneaking in front of his marker to clip a delicate shot with the outside of his boot which Foster tipped over at full stretch.

West Brom were forced in to a change when Gonzalo Jara came on for Thomas and Sandro then had to come off for Tottenham just before the half hour after pulling up with an injury. Livermore took his place.

Billy Jones put in a crucial block to deny Emmanuel Adebayor deep inside the Baggies' box after a one-two with Bale as Spurs continued to dominate.

West Brom boss Roy Hodgson cut a worried figure on the edge of his technical area, barely taking his seat during the opening half.

But despite their dominance, Spurs were failing to trouble Foster and organised defending from the visitors lead to an air of frustration inside the ground.

Van der Vaart drilled a low shot towards goal but Foster saved and Redknapp shook his head in disappointment at the half-time whistle.

Adebayor's clever backheel found Defoe inside the box just after the break but the striker shinned his effort way over.

He then flicked a deflected backheel of his own from Van der Vaart's cross that dribbled just wide.

Graham Dorrans and Jones went in to the book for two late challenges on Bale after failing to handle the winger's pace.

Craig Dawson flashed a header just wide in a rare West Brom attack before Spurs came close with a curling Luka Modric free-kick that sailed just wide.

Sloppy passing led to further frustration, but concerns the game was heading for a goalless draw ended in the 63rd minute when Defoe bagged his 10th of the season.

The ball ricocheted off Van der Vaart from Benoit Assou-Ekotto's cross and fell to Bale, who squared for Defoe. The England striker held off the challenge of the Baggies defence before turning and firing home with a low drive.

A full-hearted celebration followed at the relief of finally breaking the deadlock and the tension eased at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham's injury worries deepened soon after when Gallas hobbled off and was replaced by Sebastien Bassong.

Defoe, now full of confidence, had a goalbound shot deflected wide before Redknapp was forced in to another change.

A clash of heads between Younes Kaboul and Livermore left blood pouring from both players' heads and Livermore had to come off for Niko Kranjcar.

A poor tackle from the Croatian allowed Simon Cox some space on the edge of the box but the forward blazed over.

Brad Friedel then palmed away a strong effort from substitute Somen Tchoyi and Van der Vaart cleared desperately in the six-yard box as West Brom applied the pressure in search of an equaliser.

The match almost ended on a sour note as Bale charged angrily towards Simon Cox after being fouled by the Baggies player, but he was held back and Cox entered the book.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

More Match Results

Wednesday, 16 April 2014
19:45
Everton 2-3 C Palace Report
Man City 2-2 Sunderland Report
Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Arsenal 3-1 West Ham  
Sunday, 13 April 2014
16:07
Swansea 0-1 Chelsea Report
13:37
Liverpool 3-2 Man City  
Saturday, 12 April 2014
15:07
C Palace 1-0 A Villa Report
Fulham 1-0 Norwich Report
Southampton 0-1 Cardiff  
Stoke City 1-0 Newcastle  
Sunderland 0-1 Everton Report

Barclays Premier League

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Liverpool 34 51 77
2 Chelsea 34 42 75
3 Man City 33 54 71
4 Arsenal 34 18 67
5 Everton 34 21 66
6 Tottenham 34 0 60
7 Man Utd 33 18 57
8 Southampton 34 5 48
9 Newcastle 34 -14 46
10 Stoke City 34 -10 43
11 C Palace 34 -14 40
12 West Ham 34 -9 37
13 Hull City 33 -6 36
14 A Villa 33 -14 34
15 Swansea 34 -5 33
16 West Brom 33 -11 33
17 Norwich 34 -27 32
18 Fulham 34 -40 30
19 Cardiff 34 -34 29
20 Sunderland 33 -25 26

Updated Thu, 17 Apr 2014

Footer 365

Contract news: Tim Howard has been handed an extension to his Everton contract

Tim Howard will be staying with Everton until at least 2018 after agreeing a two-year extension to his contract.

Neymar and Jordi Alba will miss the bulk of the remainder of the season

Barcelona forward Neymar has been ruled out for up to a month due to a left foot injury.

Transfer news: Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino warns off Luke Shaw suitors

Mauricio Pochettino says in-demand defender Luke Shaw will be staying at Southampton.

Mail Box

Mignolet Is The Reason For Liverpool Flying

Mignolet's bad kicking is the reason for Liverpool's success, whilst one man keep notes on F365 mails. Plus England excitement, Arteta and a bad Walsall experience...

City: Bottle Jobs, A Laughing Stock...

There are some harsh words for Manchester City and Manuel Pellegrini in the Mailbox this morning, as well as some rather nicer ones for Tony Pulis and his magic hat...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property