Writer: Tom Mckeon
Date:Thursday March 22 2012
White Hart Lane
A last gasp header from Rafael Van der Vaart prevented Stoke from recording a memorable win at White Hart Lane last night.
The Potters, sporting a fresh starting 11 including the likes of Jermaine Pennant and Cameron Jerome, put in a solid performance and looked to have been heading for 3 points after Jerome's clever finish in the 75th minute.
But it wasn't to be, as Tottenham's main danger-men, Gareth Bale and Van der Vaart, combined to steal what could be a crucial point for Spurs in the race for a champions league spot.
Stoke, much like against Liverpool on Sunday, started well and put Spurs on the back foot.
It was Jerome who was impressing in the opening stages, clearly determined to prove a point to Pulis, the striker hit a volley just wide after a clever knock down from Walters, and blazed an effort over the bar shortly after.
Crouch, the captain for the evening, then headed wide after a Pennant cross, as the Potters continued to press the Champions league hopefuls.
But like the match at Anfield, Stoke`s early impetus tailed off towards the end of the half as Spurs got a hold of the ball and Modric began to dictate the tempo.
It was the Croatian whose shot from outside of the area drew a smart save from Begovic, and the Bosnian keeper had to be on his metal again to deny Saha just before the half time whistle blew.
Kranjcar earlier fired over from a great position, much to the frustration of Tottenham fans, and was replaced by Jermaine Defoe as Redknapp sought after that crucial opening goal in the second half.
The levels of anxiety continued to grow in the second half as Spurs, despite plenty of possession, struggled to find a way to breach the Stoke rear-guard.
With 15 minutes to go, it seemed the game was heading for a bore draw, but good work from Jerome won a free kick just inside Tottenham`s half, and even with Pennant over the ball, not many Stoke fans would've expected what happened next.
The former Liverpool winger`s delivery found Robert Huth in the area, and the German managed to nod the ball towards Friedel`s goal, before Jerome came out of nowhere to prod the ball home with an instinctive close range effort.
The small number of Stoke fans in the corner of the stadium had every right in thinking the Potters would record another memorable win at White Hart Lane, but Spurs are no soft touch, and as Stoke fans, we never feel comfortable heading into the final minutes of matches.
And so, with 5 minutes added on by the officials - it wasn`t really to any surprise that Gareth Bale`s outstanding cross found Rafael Van Der Vaart, who found space between Shawcross and Huth to guide the ball into the net and earn a massive point for Tottenham.
Overall, it was a fair result, Stoke did brilliantly to earn the lead and it looked like they were going to hold on, but Spurs have plenty of quality and unfortunately for the Potters it told in the dying minutes.
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Date:Thursday March 22 2012
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