Spurs 1v2 Rovers
White Heart Lane
Sunday 28th October. 15:00
Apparently nothing fazes this current Rovers team. Whereas the starter menu was dishing up a bowl full of controversy and, in parts, euphoria about Tottenham Hotspur`s current plight, Rovers enjoyed a feast on Spur`s horrid defending.
The first thing Juande Ramos will need to do is instil some grit and determination into Tottenham`s wounded fat-cats and he should take Rovers as the perfect case study.
A solid defensive display was the blueprint for a sixth consecutive Rovers win that catapults them into fifth position.
Mark Hughes stuck with the same team that consummately devoured Reading last week and they were almost in front when David Bentley showed plenty of skill and guile to skip past Lee inside the area but his finish will have a left a sour taste in his mouth as he skewed the effort wide.
This seemed to galvanise Spurs and they were soon doing what they do best, attacking in numbers and with superb skill.
They aren`t like their east London neighbours when it comes to free-flowing football, but they aren`t far off either. They boast some tremendous attacking players and they were certainly putting on a show for watching boss in waiting, Ramos.
But for the age defying Brad Friedel, Tottenham could have been out of sight by half-time. He made excellent saves from a variety of genres in the goalkeeping manual, thwarting Aaron at his feet, tipping away headers from Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane and getting his body behind full blooded efforts from distance.
It`s fair to say Tottenham dominated the first half but Rovers were defending well. Chris Samba was in typical machine mode; everywhere and blocking everything and when he and his fellow defenders of the Rovers unbeaten record were beaten Friedel was there.
However, just minutes after the re-start the deadlock was broken after Spurs were awarded a contentious penalty.
The rapid Lennon burst past Warnock and the Rovers full-back, in a desperate attempt to catch up tangled legs with the England winger. A penalty was awarded immediately but it was a tad on the harsh side.
It was dispatched by Robbie Keane with the ease, belying the precarious situation his team are in.
However, this wasn`t enough. Rovers grouped together to fight back and an equaliser was forthcoming on the hour when Benni McCarthy, who had been a peripheral figure thus far, controlled and hit an instant shot towards goal that looped up off the foot of Michael Dawson and in off the post.
The game then swung backwards and forwards as both teams went in search of the win. Tottenham created the better chances but not even their £16million man could make a difference. Instead it was the eloquent finish of a 6ft 5inch, £400,000 centre-back who provided a winning moment of brilliance.
Chris Samba`s curling shot form the edge of the area after being teed up by Roque Santa Cruz was the cherry on the cake for a fine afternoon`s work by Hughes` men.
Brilliant defensively and what a winning goal. He is a real match winner.
Santa Cruz 7