Defoe denies former club
Spurs out of the bottom three after 1-1 draw with Pompey
By Richard Bailey. Last Updated: 18/01/09 7:15pm
Defoe scores the equaliser
Tottenham and Portsmouth shared the points at White Hart Lane after an entertaining 1-1 draw.
In a game which saw Spurs' manager Harry Redknapp and striker Jermain Defoe play against their former club for the first time, Pompey will be happier with the point.
In a goalless first half both sides had chances to take the lead with Defoe going close on a number of occasions for the home side and David Nugent squandering a good chance for Pompey.
Nugent made amends in the 59th minute after striking across goal from the right hand side of the penalty area to give Tony Adams' side the lead.
But Defoe came back to haunt his former club when he shot left-footed through the legs of Sol Campbell from the edge of the box to equalise for Spurs with 20 minutes left.
Redknapp left Pompey 84 days before this game and Spurs headed into the match exactly where he found them, rock bottom.
Spurs also knew that victory would take them 12th, such is the tightness of the league this season.
Defoe and Redknapp were booed by away fans, while Pompey skipper Sol Campbell was jeered with his every touch from the Spurs fans who have never forgiven him for joining rivals Arsenal in 2001.
There was no repeat, however, of the chant that led to accusations of racism and homophobia as Spurs fans hummed the tune but omitted the words.
Away from the sideshow in the stands, there was a gripping clash with plenty of chances at both ends and problems mounting for Redknapp after seeing Ledley King and Roman Pavlyuchenko replaced due to injury in the first half.
It was Defoe who had the first chance of the match, in the ninth minute, when Sean Davis passed straight to his former team-mate with a ball across his own defence.
Defoe sent David James the wrong way with his finish but it went just wide of the post.
Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes was still struggling with an apparent groin strain picked up last week, and it nearly led to Peter Crouch opening the scoring.
Gomes was down slowly to stop Glen Johnson's weak drive, then had to claw the ball away from Crouch when the effort was spilled.
The Brazilian then hopped around his area in an attempt to shake off the knock but could not take goal kicks.
James was called into action in the 20th minute when Aaron Lennon drove forward and drilled a shot from the edge of the area that needed turning around the post.
Pavlyuchenko had a close-range effort blocked by team-mate Defoe from the corner.
James was needed again midway through the first half after Lennon controlled a ball over the top and hustled his way past Nadir Belhadj.
He stood up the cross and Defoe headed towards the roof of the net, only for England stopper James to tip over the crossbar.
At the other end, Vedran Corluka made a goal-saving challenge to deny Armand Traore after Nugent pulled the ball back for the youngster.
With skipper King hobbling, Nugent was able to break the offside trap just before the break, but Gomes was down to block the effort. Michael Dawson was then brought on for King.
As the intensity increased, the crucial incidents of the match came just before the hour mark.
Lennon had forced James to scamper towards his near post and make a fine sprawling save, then Pompey were ahead seconds later with their next attack.
Traore carried the ball from left to right and the ball broke to Nugent on the edge of the area. The striker shot first time, with the strike deflecting off Gareth Bale and finding the bottom corner.
It was his first goal in over a year and first in the Premier League.
Defoe's moment came with 20 minutes left. Didier Zokora had exchanged passes with Luka Modric and the ball was shifted to Defoe, whose angled drive went through Campbell's legs and past James.
Bent should have added a second 10 minutes from time when David Bentley, on as a substitute, found him unmarked - but his header went horribly wide of the post from four yards.
|Tottenham Hotspur||Team Statistics||Portsmouth|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|10||Shots on Target||3|
|13||Shots off Target||6|
Barclays Premier League
|11||West Ham United||34||37|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||33||33|