Friday 9 December 2016

Spurs call on fighting qualities

Sunderland 1 Tottenham 2

Spencer Vignes

Published 13/02/2011 | 05:00

In a week in which West Ham defeated Spurs in the race for the Olympic Stadium, the boys who will continue to be from White Hart Lane -- at least for the time being -- put a smile back on their collective faces with a hard-earned victory over a battling Sunderland side.

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A goal in either half by Michael Dawson and Niko Kranjcar saw the Londoners come from a goal down to record a third consecutive league win.

The Black Cats can count themselves unfortunate to finish empty handed but ultimately paid the price for switching off either side of half-time.

Spurs on the other hand made the most of the few chances that came their way, and will travel to AC Milan in high spirits for their Champions League clash.

In his programme notes for this clash Niall Quinn continued his rally cry against those stay-away fans who chose to watch Black Cats home games illegally on television from the comfort of pubs. "We cannot compete with them [Spurs] financially but we can still beat them on the pitch with the help of a full house," wrote Sunderland's chairman".

Those that did opt for the real thing as opposed to the real ale, certainly created a decent noise that went hand in hand with a barnstorming opening quarter.

The locals had already been on their feet claiming Niko Kranjcar's penalty area challenge on Nedum Onuoha to be worthy of a penalty when Asamoah Gyan controlled a low cross from the left flank by Kieran Richardson before spinning to despatch a right foot drive beyond Heurelho Gomes.

One Jermaine Jenas free-kick midway through the half summed Spurs' fortunes up perfectly. Head on to Sunderland's goal, albeit from a considerable distance, Jenas strolled up to the ball with little conviction before belting it high and wide into row W. Even Jonny Wilkinson would have been proud of that one.

Just when it was looking as though Sunderland would preserve their lead at the break, up stepped Michael Dawson to take advantage of some schoolboy defending from a 44th-minute corner. Kranjcar delivered the kick from the right and without a marker in sight the Spurs defender barely had to jump to meet the ball, his header travelling right through the horribly exposed Craig Gordon before nestling in Sunderland's net.

Although Steed Malbranque managed to warm the palms of Gomes at the other end it was the Londoners who were now doing most of the running, none more so than Sandro whose right-wing cross in the 57th minute was cleared by John Mensah.

Unfortunately for the Sunderland defender his header fell perfectly for the lurking Kranjcar, who volleyed it straight back past Gordon to give the visitors the advantage.

Sulley Muntari and Richardson threatened late on but in the end all their huffing and puffing came to nothing, Spurs doing enough to hang on.

Observer

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