The Light Network got the neutral pleasing barnstormer that they’d hoped for, but Tottenham were left disappointed. Having now gone three games without a win, I think we’d all settle for a dull 1-0, George Graham special.
Our line up suggested that we were going for an early knockout blow. We haven’t seen a Jenas/Modric central midfield partnership since they proved to be a spectacularly frail pairing, against Middlesbrough on the opening day of last season. Our aim was clearly to score plenty of goals and put the game out of sight.
The issue of our lack of pace was addressed with Hutton coming in for Corluka and Rose getting a start. Hutton got forward a lot, though his delivery was never as threatening as Bale’s on the left. Rose is fast, but struggled to get past his full back and get in a cross. He certainly looks like a player that deserves a few more chances though.
In the opening minutes we certainly had the chances to deliver the intended knockout, but again our finishing was poor. You see that area of the goal, just below where the post meets the crossbar? It’s called the top corner. Aim it there rather than within a yard of their goalkeeper.
The best chance of course was the penalty, which we all assumed would be the first of many, until we saw Jermain Defoe stepping up to take it. Is it not perfectly obvious by now that Defoe cannot take spot kicks? It’s not like we don’t have alternatives. Modric and Kranjcar would surely be capable, while if the Hudd was available, the keeper would also find himself in the back of the net if he had the misfortune to get in the way of the ball.
We should have had another penalty when Defoe was felled in the box, but Alan Wiley decided that he would save our striker from the embarrassment of missing another one.
Defoe’s partner Peter Crouch was causing the Leeds defence problems, chiefly because we finally stumbled across a referee who was willing to give us a free kick when he’s fouled. Eventually Crouch gave us the lead when Bale got to the byline and intelligently pulled back the ball for Kranjcar to shoot and the big man got on the end of the rebound.
Having shown Manchester United no respect in the first match, Leeds were strangely intimidated on Saturday, allowing us far too much time on the ball as they dropped back deep. Slowly, though they grew in confidence, as they realised that our midfield contained little in the way of resistance. Before long a one-sided match had escalated into an end-to-end thriller, but Spurs still went in at the break at 1-0.
Leeds got their first equaliser early in the second half, after some poor defending from a corner, particularly from Jenas whose attempted clearance fell to Beckford to stab home. For the third successive game, things were not going to plan.
On came Palacios, Keane and Pavlyuchenko and it was our rarely sighted Russian who quickly changed the game. Stepping over a pass from Palacios, Pavlyuchenko took Defoe’s ball in his stride before calmly placing a shot into the bottom corner.
The game should have been all over at 3-1 when Keane’s headed goal was incorrectly ruled to be offside. Even at 2-1 though, you would back the experience of a Premier League side to shut out a League One outfit for twenty minutes.
This is Tottenham however and we pride ourselves on doing things differently. Instead of dribbling into the corner and generally wasting time like every other side does, we were pratting about trying to get another goal. This folly was punished when Leeds won a penalty, in the last of an excessive five minutes of injury time.
Dawson’s tackle was unnecessary and rash, completing a poor night for our central defenders. The penalty by Beckford was struck with roughly 100% more conviction that Defoe’s earlier effort and Leeds had earned themselves a replay.
On the subject of Beckford, he looked like a player who could ply his trade in the Premier League. As Redknapp said himself after the game, you couldn’t go wrong with him on a free transfer. Fancy a punt Harry?
So it was another disappointing result, but having watched the Goons lose to Stoke, I did start to feel a bit better about things and grateful to still be in the draw.
You have to back us to win away at a League One side, even if the match will be played amidst a raucous atmosphere at Elland Road. I don’t expect though, that we’ll be quite so cocksure as to be pairing Jenas and Modric again.