Spurs Seal Difficult Win
Tottenham Hotspur sealed a vital win for their European hopes this season, with a hard fought victory at the hands of in-form Stoke City in a game packed to the brim with controversy.
The Potters came into this game in a great run of form, recently pulling out a draw at struggling Cardiff. Meanwhile, the visitors came into the game finding some end-of-season form, hoping to go through the entire month without losing a single game. It was the travelling team who started the better out of the two teams, breaking down Stoke`s attack quite easily and aiming to hit Stoke back straight away. Early on in the game, there was a couple of interesting incidents involving in-form striker Emmanuel Adebayor. The first of which involved Spurs fan favourite Charlie Adam, who at the time wasn`t even on the pitch. A long ball was aimed at Adebayor and as Adam was warming up down the touchline, there was a collision between the two players as Adam tried to stop the ball going further out of play. The second controversial incident involving Adebayor seemed a lot more blatant however, as the striker appeared to elbow skipper Ryan Shawcross in an off the ball incident, that left the Englishman needing some treatment from the Stoke medical team, and left a sense of injustice around the Britannia Stadium. If referee Andre Marriner saw the incident, he would have been left with a very difficult decision to make.
Back to the football however, and it was the visitors who were able to break the deadlock with the game`s only goal on the 33rd minute through Danny Rose, who broke into the Stoke box as Adebayor crossed the ball in from the right wing, and headed into the back of Begovic`s net to make it 1-0. Stoke responded well to going a goal down, but couldn`t break through Spurs` defensive line.
The second half started with the home side looking a lot sharper and better with the ball, that was until the 52nd minute as Ryan Shawcross, booked in the first half, picked up a second yellow card for coming in very late on goalscorer on Danny Rose, who Potters fans thought made a meal of the tackle and looked to get Shawcross sent off. Andre Marriner didn`t help matters though, as he originally played on, then stopped play and booked Shawcross, and it took a good 30 seconds until he produced the red card. A decision which Stoke boss Mark Hughes described as ‘guesswork`, and also accusing Marriner of forgetting that he had booked him. Hughes was incandescent, but that was nothing compared to the atmosphere inside the Britannia Stadium. The home fans were incensed, and the atmosphere became poisonous from then, especially towards Rose. The wasn`t helped on the 67th minute, when a late challenge from Stoke’s Geoff Cameron, and the hatred and anger of 26,000 Stoke fans got the better of the Tottenham defender, as he got up, ran towards Cameron and pushed him out of the way. Stoke fans will feel that this should have been a red card on its own, as there was intent from Rose, however Marriner went with the yellow card, and Spurs` boss Tim Sherwood instantly, and very smartly removed Rose from play, and instantly sent him down the tunnel to get out of the way of the home crowd, and out of the game.
No matter what Stoke tried in the game, they couldn`t break through, and Tottenham became only the third team this season to leave the Britannia Stadium with 3 points. Surely a great push towards European football for Spurs next season, who`s final games are both winnable, against West Ham and Aston Villa. Stoke meanwhile stay 10th, and have just got relegation threatened Fulham and West Brom to play.