Monday, January 24, 2011

Spurned opportunity

Newcastle Utd 1 - 1 Spurs

For the second successive game, Newcastle were caught with a sucker punch at the death to leave us rueing two points lost rather than a point gained.

This week, for 5under1and read Spurs, as Droopy's team of dwarves managed to pinch a point on the break thanks to Aaron Lennon's quick feet and smart finish. However, as Alan Shearer was keen to point out on Match Of The Day, the reality is that Danny Simpson shouldn't have allowed Lennon to cut inside onto his stronger right foot, and instead should have forced the player down the line.

The fact that we were even in a position to rue the points dropped is credit to the team, who struggled to get hold of the ball thanks to Spurs' slicker passing, but who looked the more threatening in front of goal, with Leon Best, Peter Lovenkrands and Nile Ranger all guilty at points of failing to score when gilt-edged opportunities came their way.

It was heartening to see Danny Guthrie enjoying a decent game in the middle of the park (at least until he hobbled off towards the end) and it was his pass which was pinged out to the left-hand side for Sideshow Bob to chest the ball down expertly before firing an exquisite shot inside Carlo Cudicini's far post.

(At that point, presumably somewhere in the Sky a hairy man and his Scottish sidekick were heard to grumble: "That goalscorer looks like a girl." "Girls shouldn't be playing football - they should be in the kitchen cooking ma tea...")

Having taken the lead, it was again frustrating that we couldn't add the second to finish off the match, and equally that we again just wilted at the last - which to my mind at least suggests that the players simply aren't quite fit enough compared to the teams they're coming up against.

On the plus side, Sideshow Bob was excellent, his goal the icing on the cake. Equally impressive was the return of Danny Guthrie, who demonstrated that he has the skills to do well in central midfield, if only he could perform week in week out.

Still, for the second week in a row we can count ourselves unlucky not to have beaten a top six team.

A Spurs' fans view: Dear Mr Levy

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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