Priceless point for Baggies
By Alex Dunn. Last Updated: April 20, 2005 9:35pm
West Brom's re-enactment of the Great Escape continued in North London as Bryan Robson saw his side take a deserved point in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham.
The Baggies were full value for a point and were it not for an excellent Robbie Keane strike early in the second half, Zoltan Gera's classy opener would have secured a priceless victory.
Whilst West Brom were tidy and full of endeavour, Tottenham's football fluctuated from delightful to dire throughout.
Tottenham under Martin Jol have regained some of the attacking strut favoured by the White Hart Lane faithful but whilst they continue to defend so ponderously, the halcyon days of bygone years are still a million miles away.
With Nwankwo Kanu reinstated to Robson's starting eleven in the absence of battering ram Geoff Horsfield, the former Arsenal man was greeted by a boisterous reception but worked the channels well and acted as an inventive foil for Kevin Campbell.
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It was Kanu that garnered the first opportunity of note when after Michael Dawson put in a timely block to deny a strike on goal, Gera somehow contrived to pull the rebound wide from twelve yards.
With Robson exasperated on the touchline, defender Neil Clement went even closer to registering, when his beautifully struck free-kick came back off the frame of Spurs' goal.
Whilst West Brom's tenacity stole the early stages of an entertaining opening, Tottenham were not without chances of their own and were it not for Russell Hoult's agility, Thomas Gaardsoe would have inadvertently put a back-header into his own goal.
Sean Davis then broke from his defensive shackles to glance Andy Reid's left-wing delivery wide, before Gera atoned for his earlier miss with a sumptuous strike in the 24th minute.
After Tottenham failed to deal effectively with a West Brom corner, Gera took the ball in his stride with an excellent first touch and then buried it past Paul Robinson with power and poise courtesy of his second.
Richard Chaplow should have added a second when he fired straight at Robinson from Kanu's cutback, whilst Spurs' tidy but ultimately ineffective fightback conjured only a far post header from Stephen Kelly that drifted over.
Unimpressed at the interval, Jol summoned Mido and Thimothee Atouba from the bench and Spurs were immediately an altogether different proposition.
Mido's astute movement posed persistent problems for The Baggies' backline and after his dancing feet worked an opening, the big Egyptian was unfortunate to see his snapshot find only the side netting.
Then, with West Brom sat too deep, Clement failed to deal with Mido's presence and his defensive header was gleefully returned by Keane - past Hoult with the truest of daisy cutters from the edge of the box.
With Spurs sensing maximum spoils in the offing, credit must go to Robson's charges, as within minutes it was they who should have regained the lead when substitute Junichi Inamoto went close with an angled drive after cute approach play from Gera.
Reid went close with a pair of trademark left foot hammers, before the excellent Gera nearly doubled his and West Brom's tally with a scissor kick just wide.
With the game stretched, both sides had half chances to steal the points - with the increasingly influential Reid beginning to pull the midfield strings for Tottenham - but anything less than a point would have been very harsh on Robson and his cohesive and improving West Brom side.
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|Tottenham Hotspur||Team Statistics||West Bromwich Albion|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|2||Shots on Target||4|
|9||Shots off Target||5|
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
|13||West Bromwich Albion||14||15|
|17||West Ham United||14||13|