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Sunday, 4 October 2009

Bolton 2: Croatia 2

Now this is quite a difficult one. Is it: battling Spurs come from behind twice to salvage a point at Bolton​​? Or is it: Spurs fortunate to rescue a point after a poor display which reminds me of too many occasions when we have failed to step up, away from home, especially at Bolton?

They scored before some of our defence had tied their laces, Ricardo Gardner running past three hesitant defenders to capitalise on a poor defensive header from a long throw after Cudicini parried the ball into his path. We struggled to make any impact on a robust Bolton side for most of the first half. Lennon hardly touched the ball, Keane was nowhere to be seen and we gave the ball away in a manner unsuited to the current economic climate.

I can't say that we worked our way into the game because we barely put two passes together for the first half hour. Eventually Kranjcar ran on to a Crouch knock-down and saved our half time blushes with a well taken goal on 33 minutes. So the question still hangs in the air like a Bolton long ball: is this the start of a return to normal for Spurs? Or is it a blip and a useful point?

In the second half we played better. Forced to come back again after Kevin 'Bloody' Davies scored his fifth in six games against us, we still insisted on giving needless free kicks away in dangerous positions. Defoe came on for Keane on 67 minutes and might usefully have come on earlier, but he made the difference and Lennon found his way into the match at last.

Their goal came not from a set piece but from some clever play ending with a ball stood up to the back post and while Cudicini and Ekotto looked hopefully at each other K.'B' Davies, never one to stand on ceremony, stole in unobserved at the far post.. They played some good football and fittingly it was us that scored from a set piece.

Crouch hit the bar when he might have scored; Lennon and Defoe had shots saved; but finally Kranjcar found Corluka with a corner to the back post and his compatriot scored. Cue Croatian folk songs and traditional dances. It was a good time for our Croatians to score their first goals for the club.

Kranjcar scored one and assisted the other and was probably our best player. His dead ball kicks are good and though not as quick and incisive as Modric in his running he is consistently reliable and not prone to the passing gaffes of others. So 'dobre uradjeno' ( well done) to him and 'po''zuri i naknaditi' (hurry up and return) to Modric. The translations are for those amongst you who don't speak Croatian, but I think that after today we should all make the effort.

I can only assume that Gomes and Dawson were not fully fit as their height and determination might have taken some of the pressure off. After the International break they and Modric could return and with Portsmouth (away) and Stoke (home) to come, another four points might just see us still in the top six averaging two points per game. We are briefly up to third place and have 14 points more than we had at this stage last year. I don't have to spell that out for you do I?

On reflection I am pleased with the point because on our first half display we didn't deserve any more. We were hassled and pressured out of our game and out-footballed at times. But last year we fought back and then lost to a goal by K'B'D : this year we went behind twice and drew. Progress? Definitely. But there were a few worrying signs of the Spurs of the recent past and at times instead of enjoying the game I was waiting for it to end.

But remember 'The road to Glory is paved with suffering' and Bolton recently is filed under that heading. Anyway 'Lijep ti dan zelim' (Have a nice day) and enjoy the break. My Croatian doesn't run to that yet but I'm working on it.


elwehbi@ibleedhotspur said...

Not a great display of football, but I will gladly take the point and walk away before the break. We are still in a positive position overall in the table, if anything, which is quite relieving.

Jenas was actually the work-horse of the bunch yesterday. I got a little bit of stick for saying that but I really do believe it.

Keane was terrible unfortunately. Defoe should have come on way earlier IMO.

Happy for the Croats! If we could have just added our little Croatian into the song and dance routine it would have been epic!


alwyn said...

i caught the 1st half and the commentator said something about Lennon being 'not very eager to score'...esp. after one portion when he was in space but decided pass it (and there went the Spurs attack).

am glad we have players like kranjcar who exude confidence and are always looking for those killer passes, etc.

JimmyG2 said...

Anyone who praises Jenas is asking for trouble elwehbi, Ive done it myself and suffered the results.
Kranjcar was good yesterday and Jenas played well in difficult midfield.
Palacios is too wasteful on the ball, gives too many free kicks away for me but normally he and Jenas make a decent partnership.
You missed the best of Spurs who played a bit more in the second half.

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