Super-sub Bent inspires Spurs
£16.5million signing comes off the bench to sink Pompey
By James Dall. Last Updated: 22/03/08 3:18pm
Darren Bent came off the bench to inspire Tottenham Hotspur as Juande Ramos' men left it late to claim a 2-0 success over Portsmouth at White Hart Lane.
Spurs dominated the first period, with Michael Dawson firing against the woodwork and Dimitar Berbatov having a goal disallowed after he was flagged offside.
But Bent's introduction in the 70th minute sharpened Tottenham's cutting edge, with the £16.5million signing heading Berbatov's scuffed shot past goalkeeper David James.
Just two minutes later, Bent embarrassed Hermann Hreidarsson with some blistering pace, cutting back for fellow substitute Jamie O'Hara, who tapped gleefully home.
Early on, a flick from Berbatov almost saw Robbie Keane through before Pompey had to scramble clear an Aaron Lennon cross. The Spurs strikers then combined once again and James was forced into a low save from Keane.
James saved from Tom Huddlestone's 25-yard free-kick before almost being embarrassed by Keane. The England goalkeeper threatened to make a mess of a throw out, then Keane tried to rob him of the ball when he returned to the pitch on the blindside of the goalkeeper.
Pompey survived and almost opened the scoring with their next move. Sean Davis, a former Spurs player, spotted Paul Robinson off his line but the goalkeeper was back to tip over the lob.
At the other end, Pascal Chimbonda flashed a volley just wide and Berbatov had the ball in the net in the 28th minute after Keane had slipped him through - but play was called back for offside.
Dawson then thumped a volley onto the crossbar after chesting down Huddlestone's corner, while Berbatov curled over the bar when he found a yard of room on the edge of the area.
Just before the break, Huddlestone had another effort and drilled over the crossbar when the ball broke to him 20 yards out.
In the second period, Huddlestone tried his luck again and Lennon was also just off target - but there was a lack of clear chances.
John Utaka picked up a booking for an aerial challenge on Chimbonda, and the Pompey winger also drilled in a dangerous cross when the visitors broke.
Ramos then took off Lennon and Dawson for Bent and O'Hara with 20 minutes left.
Robinson was almost caught out by Richard Hughes' quick free-kick before hesitating when he came to claim Glen Johnson's cross. Kanu stole the ball but Didier Zokora was back to clear.
Spurs made the most of the reprieve and Bent headed in 11 minutes from the end when Steed Malbranque's shot was blocked and Berbatov's scuffed effort fell into the path of the substitute.
Bent set up the second two minutes later, raiding down the left before crossing for O'Hara to tap into an empty net.
|Tottenham Hotspur||Team Statistics||Portsmouth|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||3|
|9||Shots off Target||0|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Bromwich Albion||1||1|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||1||0|
|18||West Ham United||1||0|