Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Tottenham 2 West Bromwich Albion 2

This ought to have been a day of celebration for Jermain Defoe, whose month-long wait for his 100th Premier League finally came to an end against West Bromwich Albion.

It ought to have been a celebration for Tottenham Hotspur, who seemed certain to climb above Manchester City into fourth place after Roman Pavlyuchenko and Defoe had cancelled out Peter Odemwingie’s early goal. In the end, the day belonged to Simon Cox.

The West Bromwich Albion striker had only been on the pitch for four minutes when he struck from 25 yards to score his first Premier League goal, which spectacular though it was will have been all the more special for it took his side to the magic total of 40 points, generally regarded to be the point when teams are safe from relegation.

It left Tottenham’s hopes of finishing above City in the race for fourth place considerably dented. Five draws in their last six league games – and eight draws at home this season? Not good enough, however dramatic they may have been.

Harry Redknapp had spoken about how the ‘Cockney Clasico’ on Wednesday against Arsenal was what football “should be about”, but he probably did not mean that his side should go a goal down after five minutes to give the match some spice.

Just as Theo Walcott had done in midweek, Odemwingie found a chink in the Spurs defence, controlling Carlos Vela’s cross into the area beautifully, shouldering off a challenge from Benoît Assou-Ekotto, and smacking the ball past Heurelho Gomes.

To make matters worse for Spurs, Assou-Ekotto had damaged his hamstring and had to be replaced, Sandro coming on in midfield, Gareth Bale switching to left back, and Luka Modric traversing to tuck in ahead of the Welshman in midfield – changes which could have seriously restricted Spurs’ inventive capabilities. In fact, it did not.

Rafael van der Vaart constantly sought out Modric and Bale, who terrorised Steven Reid to such an extent the defender will have been relieved to be replaced moments before the break with a calf injury.

Spurs will consider themselves unfortunate that they reached the break only level. William Gallas put his head in the way of a viciously swerving free-kick from Van der Vaart, heading over when the ball looked like sneaking in at the far corner.

But considering West Brom have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 31 top-flight games, an ongoing Premier League record, it was always a matter of when, not if, Tottenham would equalise.

Unsurprisingly, West Brom lent their assistance, Chris Brunt giving Pavlyuchenko the ball and then making a hash of his attempt to regain from the Russian. Pavlyuchenko accepted the gift and hit low past Scott Carson.

Even though Spurs had dominated the first half, West Brom nearly took the lead again. In the 52nd minute Nicky Shorey’s cross escaped over Dawson, and Odemwingie, produced a fingertip save from Gomes at full stretch. Spurs shrugged off the episode as though it had never happened, restoring their control of the game when Defoe was allowed within range to strike past Carson.

There was, however, a downer for Defoe. The striker had been playing with a special T-shirt to honour the occasion for some time, only he had been waiting for so long to reach the milestone that he had given up the garment.

Where Stuart Attwell is, controversy is never far behind, and Spurs were fortunate that the referee did not punish Michael Dawson for a possible handball when he blocked a vicious shot from James Morrison in the second half. It came as West Brom fought for a foothold in the game, Roy Hodgson increasing the pressure on Spurs by removing Paul Scharner for Cox.

Four minutes the change was rewarded, Cox equalising with a spectacular curling shot into the far corner.

It left Spurs one point behind City with a game less to play. Once again Spurs’ inability to beat promoted sides (once in their last nine attempts) has come back to haunt them.

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