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Sunday, December 26, 2004

Norwich 0-2 Tottenham: FT Report


Tottenham's revival under Martin Jol continued as they chalked up a fifth straight win in the Barclays Premiership after struggling Norwich failed to convert their chances at Carrow Road and paid the price with a 2-0 defeat.

Robbie Keane slots home for Spurs. (JamieMcDonald/GettyImages)

Martin feling 'Jol-ly'

Norwich, battling to keep themselves out of the relegation zone going into 2005, dominated the game for around an hour, twice hitting the woodwork through David Bentley and Leon McKenzie.

However, Spurs made the most of the chances which eventually came their way, Robbie Keane firing in from close range after 73 minutes and Michael Brown crashing home a 25-yard effort five minutes later to make sure of the result.

Full-back Simon Charlton needed some early treatment on his leg following a challenge with Fredi Kanoute.

When the game restarted, Thimothee Atouba made some progress down the left, and whipped in a teasing centre which had Robert Green flapping under his crossbar.

Fortunately for the Norwich keeper, no-one was following up at the back post, but Charlton lasted only until the eighth minute when he had to be replaced by Adam Drury.

Norwich almost took the lead moments later.

Darren Huckerby got clear down the right channel, before laying the ball back into the path of Bentley at the edge of the penalty area.

The on-loan Arsenal youngster took one touch before lashing a left-foot half-volley goalwards. Paul Robinson was rooted to the spot, but the Spurs keeper was saved by his left-hand post, the ball cannoning back into the six-yard box where Ledley King hacked clear under pressure from McKenzie.

Pedro Mendes then drove the ball over his own bar from two yards out after the resulting corner.

Huckerby had too much pace for Brown down the left, and was then tripped on the edge of the box by the Spurs midfielder. He took the free-kick himself, with Mendes again on hand to clear on the line, this time from Gary Doherty's far-post downward header.

Bentley had another good chance in the 27th minute, sending a snap-shot over from six yards from Jonson's near-post flick-on.

There was a rare moment of action in the Norwich area when Doherty could only head a cross from the right up into the air, with Kanoute almost capitalising on the error, before he was eventually crowded out by a combination of the former Spurs defender, Green and Youssef Safri.

The Canaries were temporarily down to 10 men when Jonson had to go off with what looked like concussion from an earlier clash with Erik Edman, the Swede caught in the back of the head by the defender's leading arm. Paul McVeigh eventually came on in the 38th minute to face his former club.

There was another let-off for Spurs in first-half stoppage time when McKenzie got ahead of King to a long pass into the box and lifted the ball over the advancing keeper. However, as the ball spun goalwards, Noureddine Naybet slid in to clear on the line.

Nigel Worthington made his final permitted substitution at the start of the second half, Phil Mulryne replacing Safri.

Norwich forced a corner on 51 minutes - and again were denied by the woodwork. Huckerby whipped the ball in from the left. McKenzie powered in a bullet header which Robinson touched onto the bar at point-blank range, and Spurs hacked clear.

On the break, Kanoute then fed Keane at the edge of the Norwich box, but his return pass was just over-hit and Green dashed out to collect ahead of the Frenchman.

The England squad man then showed alert reflexes to produce a one-handed, flying stop to deny Mendes following a neat exchange between Kanoute and Keane.

After soaking up so much pressure, Spurs wasted no time in converting their chance when it finally came on 73 minutes.

Reto Ziegler's corner from the right went through towards Naybet at the back post. Drury made a complete hash of his attempted clearance, the ball falling to Keane six yards out and the Republic of Ireland striker lashed it into the far corner.

The home side had little time to regroup before it was 2-0.

Brown was given the freedom of Carrow Road when in a central position some 30 yards out after 77 minutes. He took the ball on a couple of yards before unleashing a fierce curling drive which gave Green no chance and secured Spurs' fifth straight league win.

Martin feling 'Jol-ly'

Tottenham boss Martin Jol was a 'happy man' after watching his side record their fifth straight win in the Barclays Premiership when beating Norwich 2-0 at Carrow Road.

Since the Dutchman took charge of Spurs following the departure of Jacques Santini, there has been a complete change of fortunes for the north London club.

After looking like they were in freefall towards the relegation zone, now their fans will head into 2005 with dreams of European football very much alive.

They weathered an early storm at Carrow Road during which Norwich twice hit the woodwork before victory was secured thanks to second-half strikes from Robbie Keane and Michael Brown, who fired in a brilliant 25-yard shot to make sure of the result.

'In the first 15 minutes we gave away a few chances, there was one shot against the post, they pressurised us and played pretty well, but we had good spells,' reflected Jol.

'In the second half we were in control and then played the ball much better, creating some chances, so I was pleased with that.

'We have a terrific bunch of players, and it is all about a good mentality and trying to play in a way you believe in.

'We believe in playing good football, from the back and the midfield through to the strikers.

'To get 15 points is great for us, so I am a happy man.'

Jol felt Norwich deserved some credit for their positive approach, even thought it ultimately failed to produce the goods in front of goal.

'I think people are underestimating these sides,' said the Tottenham manager. 'Norwich have had five draws away from home out of nine games and that is very difficult.

'They didn't lose six at home, so they are a good team and I think it is a terrific club.

'But we wanted to have the points today, so it is a pity for them, but I still think that they are a good footballing side.'

While Spurs will head into Tuesday's home match against Crystal Palace confident of winning a sixth successive league game, Norwich boss Nigel Worthington was left counting the cost of another defeat.

The loss not only leaves the Canaries still too close to the drop zone for comfort, it also saw them hit by three fresh injury blows as they prepare to visit Middlesbrough.

Simon Charlton (dead leg), Mattias Jonson (concussion) and Youssef Safri (ankle) joined the likes of Gary Holt, Mathias Svensson and Damien Francis on the sidelines.

'We are down to the bare bones now, but we will get on with it,' said Worthington, who will include a few youth team players in his squad for the trip to Teesside.

'I thought to come off the pitch 2-0 down was harsh.

'While the players go and play with the attitude they did today, work hard, close them down quickly and create chances, then I am happy.

'Everything went well apart from the result. We will play a lot worse and win - that is how crazy the game is.'

Other results kept Norwich out of the bottom three, and Worthington declared: 'We firmly believe we can get the points to stay in this league.

'What we will do is keep playing football. We are not going to resort to any other way which suits anybody else, we will play the way which suits us.'


4,044 Posts
I've been slack at posting as of late :googly:

... not that there is anything good to post about :cry:

I think we were a bit unlucky against Spurs and appeared to dominate the first half but without taking any of our opportunities :irritate: :groan: :wallbang: :depress:

Then in the 2nd half Spurs were much the better and scored twice after the introduction of Mr Defoe. :(

Green, Edworthy, Doherty, Fleming, Charlton (Drury 8), Jonson (McVeigh 39), Helveg, Safri (Mulryne 46), Bentley, McKenzie, Huckerby.
Subs Not Used: Jarvis, Lewis.

Booked: Safri

Robinson, Pamarot, Naybet, King, Edman, Pedro Mendes, Carrick, Brown (Redknapp 87), Atouba (Ziegler 65), Kanoute (Defoe 71), Keane.
Subs Not Used: Fulop, Gardner.

Goals: Keane 73, Brown 77.

Ref: M Riley (W Yorkshire)
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