Another away game, another lead taken and lost and another 1-1 draw.
No surprises in any of these facts as Spurs reduce the amount of
on-pitch time left as the team take a point from their visit to the JJB
ground, despite an obvious penalty waved away, but Wigan will feel that
they might have had all three in the end.
In what was a game which featured open
football and many chances, it was disappointing that Tottenham didn't
look too determined to take the ones that they made. What the
current run of form and results says about the future, heaven knows.
The opening minute could have seen
Tottenham go 1-0 ahead inside the first twenty-five seconds, had Robbie
Keane gone for a firmer finish to Michael Dawson's long ball into the
Wigan penalty area than the delicate one he opted for.
Tottenham opened the scoring five minutes
later, with a perceptive diagonal pass from Tom Huddlestone opening the
way for Aaron Lennon to race away up the right wing. An
improvement on his end product is what is required and his cross picked
out Dimitar Berbatov, who stroked the ball into the net from the edge of
the six yard box with an effortless volley. Another early lead away from home, so would
Spurs be able to build on this one ?
Initial signs were that they would, as
Lennon was again at the heart of a move that put Steed Malbranque in on
goal, but Kirkland did well to race out and smother the shot with his
body to keep Wigan in touch. Keane then put a shot horribly wide
when well positioned to hit the target too.
Wigan began to move up the other end of
the pitch and Marcus Bent hit Cerny with a shot from outside the area,
before Robbie Keane ceded possession and the ball found it's way to Emile Heskey near the edge of the penalty area. He managed to pick a
place for his shot that was just out of Cerny's reach, but also just
inside the post to notch an equaliser just six minutes after Berbatov's
The early goals perhaps indicated that
there would be many more to come, but even though there were chances, it
Huddlestone was having a better game than
the last two at home, with some pin-point passing, but he slammed into
Emmerson Boyce's head and was left dazed for a while after. He was
soon finding Aaron with a good ball and also got on the end of the move,
when Lennon's cross was cleared, but could only hit his shot off the
turf that took a lot of the pace off it.
Radek Cerny showed that he will serve a
club well next season, although that club might not be Tottenham.
Marcus Bent showed the physical presence he brings to Wigan and barged
Alan Hutton off the ball, before easing past Jermaine Jenas and shooting
from distance at goal, but the Czech keeper was up to the save, making
sure the ball didn't shoot off the turf in front of him. With his
opposite number called into action, it was Alan Hutton cutting inside
from the right to try and hit a left-footed shot, but he did not look
comfortable on that side, so got only a little power behind it.
Kirkland managed to get away without being tested when Berbatov slipped
Keane through a square Wigan back four, but the Irishman's cross was too
far ahead of Jenas, who had backed up the front two with a good run.
Just after the half hour, Radek fielded
another long shot straight at him from Marcus Bent before the turning
point of the game for Spurs occurred. With a Jenas free-kick
played into the goalmouth at pace, Berbatov had got goal-side of
Melchiot, who managed to manoeuvre his body to take our striker to the
floor. Referee Probert ("Who ?" I hear you say) just rushed away
from the area. A couple of minutes later, Wigan missed a golden
opportunity when Valencia's cross was well nodded back into the path of
Michael Brown, who missed the opportunity to score against his old side
by as much as he missed the ball, which sat there begging to be fired
into the goal.
When Michael Brown did make contact with
a volley, Dawson was in the way to keep it out and suddenly Jenas' break
won a corner at the other end. From it, Malbranque had his shot
blocked and the ball was breaking to Dimitar Berbatov, but Melchiot
managed to time his tackle this time to give another corner away.
Jermaine took it and Berbatov won a far post header back to Michael
Dawson at the other post. The defender rose to head at goal, but
Ryan Taylor was there to knock the ball off the line. Despite two
more corners in the last minute of the half, Spurs could not force a
That is becoming the tale of the season
and once more, it cost Tottenham the extra points. Five minutes
into the second half, Aaron Lennon almost got it. As Tom
Huddlestone fell, he played a pass to Lennon, who beat two defenders and
then cut inside to hit a shot that Kirkland did well to keep out.
Another five minutes and another chance,
with Berbatov picking out Keane's run and when Scharner missed the ball,
Robbie had just been caught on his heels and could not collect the pass.
Just when Spurs were looking the team most likely to score again,
Palacios broke away and played the ball to Marcus Bent. All the
Latics striker had to do was slot it past Cerny, but he tried to take
the coating off the ball and hit his shot with great power, but it
lacked accuracy and it struck the bar and bounced out.
Once more the play swung to the other
end. Lennon raced away and pulled a good ball back from the dead
ball line for the supporting Jamie O'Hara to hit a shot, that got
blocked out, then Keane set up Jenas and his left footer went way too
high. In between, Tottenham were grateful to Didier Zokora for a
well-timed tackle as Valencia looked like he might try his luck with a
shot after coming in off the flank. His low ball into the near
post was read well by Heskey in the 71st minute and it was only a good
reflex save by Cerny that kept the ball out and then pounced on it at
the second attempt.
Changes were made for each side, with
Darren bent replacing Keane and Sibierski coming on for the home side,
with the Frenchman having a chance straight away, but struck his volley
too high from just inside the box. More changes came for Wigan
with Koumas coming on in a tactical substitution, while Marcus Bent
performed a poor overhead kick which saw him land awkwardly and have to
In the closing stages, it was Athletic
who looked like they might grab the winner. Palacios sent an
effort off target and Zokora got in the way of Sibierski's shot.
One last chance saw Darren Bent win the
ball in the area against Paul Scharner, but the referee saw it as a foul
and let Wigan off with the award of a free-kick.
The game will not live too long in the
memory. Loads of Spurs fans made the long trek and what for ?
More of the same that they have witnessed for too long away from home.
There was a lot of effort today and the players did turn in a bit of a
second half performance, but there is still the lack of clinical
ruthlessness that differentiates the good sides from the excellent ones.
Only three more games to go now. I
am not sure if the players or the fans will be more relieved when it is