Some games you can have loads of chances and nothing goes in. Some games
you can have loads of chances and nothing goes in. Some games you
can have an exciting encounter with both teams wanting to go forward.
Some games you have a boring match with only one side willing to play
While this wasn't necessarily a boring
game, the lack of application to take a full part in the game by Hull
City resulted in a one way procession of chances for Tottenham, most of
which were stopped by in form Boaz Myhill to bring a about a 0-0
Tottenham didn't need a goalkeeper in
form and at times, they probably didn't need a goalkeeper at all, with
the Yorkshiremen rarely threatening a goal and leaving Gomes without a
meaningful save to make all afternoon. Their attack consisted of
Garcia blundering around up front, with his nearest effort on goal being
a volley from outside the area that went off for a goal kick.
Last season, I had a soft spot for Hull.
Upsetting everyone, (including Spurs at the Lane), they breezed into the
Premier League with a brand of flowing, devil-may-care football that
took them to third position for a while. That changed when they
started struggling and produced a number of gritty performances, which
just about kept them up.
At the start of this season, they were
being roundly beaten by most sides and have ground out some results in
the last couple of months, but this showing was a nasty and cynical
display reminiscent of Bolton under manager Phil Brown.
Time-wasting from an early stage and employing Cambridge
United/Wimbledon style denigrates all the goodwill they earned last
term. With their slow-motion tactics bringing a warning from the
referee, he then booked Barmby for taking too long at the next
throw-in and then proceeded to ignore the remainder of the games
time-wasting, including the magnificently banal Craig Fagan showing true
professionalism in taking the ball into the corner to waste time ... in
injury time ... in the first half !!
The only one of the Hull players who I
would have time for is their keeper, who made five stupendous stops to
deny Spurs and earned his side a point they barely deserved. His
time-wasting has tempered my praise for him, but he proved that he could
move quickly enough when he wanted to by making double stops in both
halves and moving quickly enough to stop other good chances.
Spurs started the game going forward
without really threatening to score, with Hull having a slim chance
halfway through the first period, when Fagan crossed for Garcia, who
rose, but made no real effort to get a good header on the ball and it
went wide. Shortly after, referee Atkinson spoke to Hull captain
Anthony Gardner about his team's continual slow taking of dead ball
situations. Low and behold, the next throw-in and Barmby shaped to
take it, then decided to leave it for someone who had trotted a long
distance to take it instead. He was livid when he got a yellow
card, but having just been told about it, there can be little to have
the hump about. The fact that he tore a strip off the ref might
have warranted another yellow on top of the time-wasting one.
On 38 minutes, Wilson Palacios made a
move on the right wing and cut in to the edge of the area to hit a low
shot that Myhill could only push out into the middle of his goal.
Robbie Keane was there and reacted to it first, hitting a good shot, but
the keeper got off the floor and threw himself across goal to get hands
to it and push it over the bar. It was a remarkable save, much
like Jim Montgomery's save in the 1973 FA Cup Final for Sunderland
Into added time at the end of the first
half, Fagan's tactics didn't work, as Spurs gained possession and a
through ball by Modric was stepped over by Keane, leaving Defoe in the
clear to run in on goal and as Myhill came out, Jermain tried to push
the ball past him with the outside of his right foot, allowing the
goalie to throw up an arm and keep the ball out to keep the game
scoreless at the interval.
The second half went much the same way,
but with Spurs applying even more pressure to the crowded Hull penalty
area. Cries of handball went up early after the restart, as Bale's
shot from a cleared corner hit Andy Dawson and the referee and linesman
kept the game moving. it is strange that later in the game, when
Hull were bumping, boring and shirt-pulling in the box, that any
incident that would be a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch, suddenly
gets over-looked in the penalty box. When McShane almost cuddled
the ball while shielding it on the floor from the Spurs players, it was
surprising when nothing at all was given.
Defoe did well to pick a pass to Luka
Modric in a packed penalty box and the little midfielder hit a shot on
goal that Myhill stopped, but once more let out of his grasp and Keane
rushed in only to see his follow-up shot blocked by the prone goalie.
it was a little harsh for everyone to think Keane should have scored
from a yard out, but the keeper was right on top of him and did well to
use his body to keep the ball out with his face.
Hull's only real chance in the game came
in the 57th minute, when Nick Barmby was put through in the right hand
channel in the area, leaving his a shot on goal from an angle, but he
failed to test Gomes and hit the side-netting, much to the hilarity of
the Park Lane Spurs fans, who mocked the City supporters, who thought
they had scored as the net rippled.
Peter Crouch's introduction to the game
added a new dimension to the Tottenham attack and it was one they played
to for the rest of the match. Immediately, Defoe and he linked to
see a Crouch volley go into the ground and wide, but the tall
striker was instrumental in setting up Modric's 74th minute header, when
he knocked a cross down for the Croatian to head on target and Myhill
once more had to dive to stop the ball.
Four minutes later, he stopped another
shot from Modric, when the ball ran clear after Defoe went in for
Corluka's near post cross, with the ball being kept out by the keeper's
hand, which was what happened when Crouch got onto the end of a Kranjcar
cross from a free-kick. A free header inside the six yard box was
flicked on and the keeper was lucky it was straight at him and at a good
height to push out. Crouch was put away on the right hand side of
the box and hit s shot at the near post rather than crossed it in for
Defoe or Kranjcar, but the keeper was there again to beat the ball out
for a corner and from that the ball dropped for one last shot, but it
was behind Bassong and went off target.
With what seemed like about 25 shots on
goal, Spurs could not find a way past the goalkeeper, even if they could
find a way past the Hull defence. The visiting team celebrated
like a cup final (just like Stoke and Wolverhampton) and Spurs will have
to hope they strike it lucky when they go to Anfield on Wednesday and
that Reina doesn't turn in a similar goalkeeping display.