Crouch secures Spurs triumph
Tottenham nick narrow victory at Blackburn
By James Riach. Last Updated: 02/02/11 11:16pm
Crouch: Celebrates early winner
Peter Crouch's header in the third minute earned Tottenham an important three points as they held on for a 1-0 victory at Blackburn.
Spurs did not enjoy the best January and a gap was beginning to emerge behind fourth-place Chelsea in the Premier League, but they battled to a win at Ewood Park to put them in touching distance of the Blues once more.
Rafael van der Vaart swung an early ball in from the right and Crouch towered above Chris Samba at the far post to nod past Paul Robinson.
Robinson made some fine saves to deny Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe in the second half, while at the other end Heurelho Gomes was not to be outdone by his opposite number - getting down to stop efforts from Mame Biram Diouf and Junior Hoilett.
Rovers huffed and puffed but lacked a cutting edge in the final third, as Spurs held on to start February off on the front foot.
Tottenham defender William Gallas shrugged off a groin injury and took his place in the team alongside Sebastien Bassong, meaning Jonathan Woodgate was only needed for bench duty.
Anurudha Desai, chairwoman of the club's owners Venkys, took in her first Blackburn match and in a message to fans thanked them for their support.
Tottenham were without new signing Steven Pienaar after he suffered concussion during a training session yesterday.
However, despite their injury problems the visitors made a perfect start and took the lead in the fourth minute.
Tottenham won a free-kick 20 yards out in the 29th minute after Samba had upended Jermaine Defoe as he tried to skip into the area.
Van der Vaart stepped up but only succeeded in flighting his effort over the bar. Back came Blackburn and Gomes again looked uncomfortable when he dropped a shot from David Dunn, only to recover just in time.
Dunn then came close to scoring in the 36th minute, clipping his effort wide of the post following a sweeping move involving Martin Olsson and Jason Roberts.
Tottenham were being pinned back and a minute later Ryan Nelsen headed wide following a corner from Dunn, before Vedran Corluka almost headed into his own net after Roberts had flicked the ball on.
The visitors were finding it hard going trying to hang on to their lead with Redknapp a constant visitor to his technical area.
They launched a quick counter attack in the 43rd minute when Van der Vaart tried to release Lennon but he was crowded out in the penalty area.
Blackburn again came close to equalising in stoppage time when Nelsen got on the end of Dunn's free-kick but headed over.
Van der Vaart delivered a cross into the area and Crouch got above Samba and headed into the corner.
Samba was left distraught after a good start to the day when it was confirmed he had signed a contract extension until 2015.
Blackburn responded and Jermaine Jones saw his effort blocked and the rebound fell to Junior Hoilett. However his effort was cleared by Crouch carrying out his defensive duties.
Tottenham suffered another scare when Gomes flapped at a long ball from his opposite number and it fell to Hoilett but he hit it into the ground.
This was a good spell by Blackburn and Dunn's instinctive shot from the edge of the area went narrowly over the bar.
Blackburn started the second half brightly and Gomes palmed away a shot by Mame Biram Diouf from an acute angle following Jones' throughball in the 46th minute.
Although Tottenham were finding it hard going they continued to look good on the counter-attack.
And in the 55th minute Corluka delivered a good ball to the back post but Samba got the better of Crouch to head clear.
A minute later Defoe squandered a great chance following a surging run by Lennon through the heart of Blackburn's defence.
Lennon laid the ball off to an unmarked Defoe but his effort was beaten away by Robinson.
Lennon was becoming increasingly influential and Robinson reacted superbly to turn the winger's thunderbolt over the bar in the 61st minute.
Blackburn manager Steve Kean then freshened things up four minutes later by bringing on Steven Nzonzi for Jones, who looked tired.
However, Kean's idea to bring off Dunn two minutes later and bring on Morten Gamst Pedersen did not go down too well with a section of the crowd.
Blackburn stepped up the pace and Gomes came to Tottenham's rescue twice in quick succession. He kept out a powerful effort by Diouf in the 72nd minute, and three minutes later blocked a driven free-kick from Pedersen.Then Jenas got a vital touch in stoppage time to divert Samba's goalbound header to safety.
|Blackburn Rovers||Team Statistics||Tottenham Hotspur|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|7||Shots on Target||3|
|5||Shots off Target||1|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||29||31|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||29||28|