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17-12-2006, 05:00 PM #1Tottenham secured their first away win in the Premiership this season with a 2-1 victory at Manchester City.
Manchester City were uncharacteristically off-colour as their unbeaten home record came to an end, but they did give Spurs some anxious moments in the second half as they valiantly fought back from 2-0 down.
Martin Jol's side carved out the first opportunity of the afternoon after 15 minutes when Teemu Tainio bisected the City defence with a fine through-ball and Jermain Defoe outpaced Richard Dunne to latch onto the pass. Dunne managed to stretch out a leg to tackle but, with Nicky Weaver grounded, it was left to Sylvain Distin on the goal-line to block Dimitar Berbatov's effort.
It was a cagey start from both sides but City were the more cautious and fell behind after 16 minutes as Huddlestone floated a delightful free-kick into the area from deep and Calum Davenport beat Dunne and Micah Richards in the air to cleverly flick a header past Weaver.
City briefly looked like responding but went 2-0 down after 24 minutes when Tom Huddlestone sent a stunning half-volley into the bottom left corner from 20 yards. Running onto a Hossam Ghaly pass from the right, the young midfielder showed expert technique to curve a powerful shot beyond Weaver.
City's spirit seemed to desert them and they could have been further behind by half-time as poor defending presented Tottenham with a host of chances.
Steed Malbranque had the best opening as City left him to attack a loose ball in the box, but his strike lacked punch and Dunne was able to block.
Berbatov also drew a save out of Weaver after being given far too much time to set his sights by Distin, while Huddlestone almost grabbed his second with a thunderous shot from 30 yards which flew just over the crossbar.
To make matters worse for City Micah Richards had to be replaced by Stephen Ireland on the half hour mark, as he had failed to run off the dead leg that had made him a doubtful starter.
Although they were without Aaron Lennon due to a knee injury Spurs looked fluent as their confidence grew, with Huddlestone the stand-out performer in midfield.
Paul Robinson was only called upon to make a couple of comfortable saves from distance, and a chorus of boos rang out at half-time as the City of Manchester crowd vented their frustration.
A different City side emerged after the interval and they began much more positively as Tottenham looked to protect their lead.
Dunne could not find the target with a header from a Joey Barton corner, while Ireland blazed over after being released by a cunning chip from Claudio Reyna.
City's pressure was rewarded in the 64th minute, when Paul Dickov picked up the ball down the left and spotted Joey Barton steaming in unmarked at the far post. Dickov's delivery was inch-perfect and Barton slammed the ball home on the volley from six yards.
With City's back four still out of sorts Tottenham remained dangerous on the counter-attack and Defoe saw a goal ruled out for offside moments later, but Huddlestone was no longer bossing the midfield and City were firmly in the ascendancy.
City peppered the Spurs area with crosses as their desperation grew but did not manage to test Robinson, while the increasingly influential Reyna had to be withdrawn after suffering an injury.
They were perhaps unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Barton was bundled over by Malbranque, but Spurs succeeded in taking some of the sting out of the game as Mido was introduced for Defoe seven minutes from time.
The Egyptian held the ball up well and Spurs restricted their chances in the closing stages to cling on for three valuable points.
17-12-2006, 11:21 PM #2
I enjoyed the game, especially the first half, but to be honest we were just **** the second half and I couldn't watch most of it, it wouldn't have suprised me if we'd typically given the game away and conceded late on. I'm just happy we got the win, although that second half really was poor and scary!! Only 3 points of 4th place now though and our first away win! yey
17-12-2006, 11:45 PM #3
Yeah totally agree i could hardly watch the last 10mins because i thought we were gonna give it away :30: