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Stuck at Home and Miss a 6-Goal Thriller

I like to think that my home match-day blogs allow long-distance fans such as New York City Wolf and Crete Wolf to share with me the excitement of travelling to and watching a game. And, I was particularly looking forward to seeing how we performed against Spurs earlier today, as I reckoned it would provide a good test of our recent form.

Unfortunately, I couldn`t go. I had bought my ticket (weeks ago) and was ignoring the pain in my dodgy back and the pressures of a deadline that had passed six day ago. In my mind I was there.

Then, my daughter (the one who lives in Glasgow) phoned to tell me that, as she had to attend a meeting in London on Friday, she would be spending the weekend with us (that is, when she was not seeing her friends). Unlike the other daughter, who condemned me to a trip to the garden centre, waiting (in vain) for her to arrive, when I should have been at Stamford Bridge, I knew that she would come.

So, while my wife and daughter went off to look for tiles, I watched the match on the box alone. To be fair, they did offer me the opportunity of joining them. They missed a great game, though when they returned, they seemed indifferent to my complaints about the referee. Not only should he have shown Hutton the red card but he also disallowed a perfectly good goal by Stearman.

In advance I would have taken the draw: indeed, on 14 minutes I wrote words to that effect in my notebook. Then, Doyle scored and we took hold of the game. If Spurs scored - twice- against the run of the play, they always looked dangerous on the break. Even so, both goals were preventable: the first occurred because of sloppy marking and the second one resulted from a lucky rebound. Nice finishing by Defoe, though.

Alright, so Hutton`s foul enabled us to go in to the break on level terms but, had he been sent off, as the law demands, we would have romped away with the second half. Instead, the teams came out and Pavlyuchenko immediately put Spurs in front. Dithering and sloppy passing contributed to it, as I foretold in my notes immediately beforehand..

Fortunately, MM and the players are right when they talk about the spirit in the team. Heads did not drop and an equaliser was always possible. Stearman definitely scored but at least Fletcher had another chance to square the match. Of course, in between Spurs had their chances and if anyone says that they were lucky to gain a point, at times we were extremely lucky not to ship another goal or two. Perhaps a draw was a fair result, but, if only ...

Doyle was outstanding ... yet again. There cannot be a better player in the PL, operating up front in a 4-5-1 formation. And it was great to see him collect a brace of goals. Jarvis and Hammill both had good games too and, as their crossing improves, we will score more goals. Behind them, we lacked the urgency that O`Hara brings to the side. Milijas played alright and his well-flighted kick enabled Doyle to score the first goal. He also won us the penalty and almost scored in the second half. Yet, he was not his normal deadly self with the dead-ball and his shooting (and heading) in open play was also a little awry.

The back four continue to improve and were reasonably solid throughout the match. Stearman, in particular, is emerging as a real talent: perhaps, it`s the sight of Craddock on the bench that is keeping him focused. Even so, two of the Spurs goals resulted from lapses of concentration.

In general, the team is playing good football, though, as today, individual players still make too many mistakes. My notes are littered with references to sloppy or ill-judged passes and dithering on the ball. While such slip-ups are bound to happen, we are making too many of them. As indicated above, it contributed to the second goal. The ball should have been cleared. As ever, we also continue to back off from advancing players. We must cut out loose play: we have little margin for error

I am sorry that I was unable to travel to Molineux, and feel guilty that my absence might have tipped the balance against the team. Even so, although we are still in the bottom three, today`s game gives me more hope that we will survive. We played well against a very good team and even outmatched them for stretches of the game. We now look like we will score goals, especially as Jarvis has learnt how to cross the ball. His assists in the goals came amid a stream of perfectly weighted crosses.

If there`s one consolation, I don`t have to wear my Doritos shirt to the Everton match!

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The Journalist

Writer: southbank60 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday March 6 2011

Time: 7:56PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
If you go down by two points this season you can look back on today and give Marl Halsey your heartfelt thanks - that was as clear a case of daylight robbery as I've ever been. Well played, you deserved all 3 points today.
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06/03/2011 20:32:00

Well said Fifth. Absolutely robbed.
Report Abuse
06/03/2011 21:28:00

Spurs fan here,sorry guys,you have no luck,hope the officiating today has no bearing on you staying up,best of luck for the rest of season.Still glad of the point though...
Report Abuse
06/03/2011 22:37:00

Having looked at the match again, I think the Spurs fans are right. We were robbed! I'll not rewrite the report though, except for getting Hutton's name right.
Report Abuse
06/03/2011 22:48:00

Unlucky today although our attacking was great your whole team ethic & work rate deserved all 3 pts. How that goal was disallowed I can't fathom. Although Hutton should've been red carded I don't think that would've done you any favours. Ironically we've done very well when going down to 10 ! At the risk of making excuses all 3 Goals we conceded were a total Gift but then JD's 2nd was a lucky deflection back 2 him & Pav went unchallenged so you no doubt feel the same ! Mick McCarthy is a great manager & he has you guys in such a great shape/condition. IF you go down by the 2pts dropped 2day then that will be VERY wrong on you guys. I rate Halsey as 1 of the best PL refs in existence BUT 2day was not a good day at the office for him to say the least. Still it made me sick to hear fans giving him stick after EVERYTHING he's been through. Today was a great advert as the cliche goes for the EPL but its hardly done either of us any real favours. Im so glad JO'H is with you as I believe he will play a major part in your PL survival, though sadly I doubt he'll ever play for us again... Dean Richards was given a great send off by 2 Clubs that both reaped the benefit of his presence, though sadly his illness started to appear whilst playing for us so he never really got his chance to make anywhere near the amount of appearances he so would've. It must've been so hard for his Family today I just hope they ALL get the support they need. R.I.P Deano
True Spurs Supporter
Report Abuse
07/03/2011 05:35:00

Hats off to the Tottenham fans who always drop by after our games and share realistic views on the game. There are striking similarities with our match reports Banksy, I shall put mine up later on- time ran out on me again and I have not had chance to read it over. I shall post it after work tonight, as I also have one of those ugly deadlines to meet. Everyone seems to be on the same page thus far however and it is a shame that from such a fantastic game of football we are left talking about the referee and his two massive errors. The first is as clear a sending off as you can have under the law- disallowing the goal proved a throw back to not just protecting keepers, but practically giving them license to claim any cross, or a foul if a player goes anywhere near them. This one was absurd and suggests that even if you effectively drop the ball into your own net you get a free kick for it. The match video could be used to advertise the beautiful game that we love, played properly by two great sides- yip, two great sides. Whilst greatly appreciative of Spurs fans sharing their words, these won't be the two points that lead to a relegation. The score has been inked into the history books and we have 9 games to restore order and put enough points on the board in spite of this result. In all reality, Spurs are a tremendous attacking threat and great to watch at any time- not many teams will say Spurs scored three brilliant goals against them and still walk away with a point so we have to take the point and move on with it. It is a tall order from two difficult away games, but if we are able to take four points from the next two games we may well find ourselves four places higher than we are now. Having watched that performance it only reinforces the faith- that if we can maintain standards over our remaining games we will stay up. As is mentioned in the article we are scoring a lot more and better still, look like we will continue to get more. Jarvis was outstanding for me and with the quality of his crossing, and that from Hammill I hope we get to see more of Fletcher- his minutes on pitch:goal ratio must make for interesting reading I know that much. Keep the faith- this season has brought some cherished moments and the thought of not lining up against the Tottenham's and Liverpool's next season does not bear thinking about. I won't say we are too good to go down, I think we are more than good enough to stay up. Til then.
New York City Wolf
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07/03/2011 17:08:00

Yes, we are all running on parallel lines here: even the Spurs fans. As was the case last year, we seem to have found the right formula in the nick of time. It makes me think that MM does it deliberately in order to goad us. Was he encouraging us to slag him off for his mystifying selections, poor tactics and flat players, all the better to crow at the season's end? That's fine by me if he pulls it off ... and now I think we have a chance.
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07/03/2011 19:18:00


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