Thursday 19 April 2018

Last-gasp Beckford penalty hands replay to lucky Leeds

Tottenham 2
Leeds Utd 2

Duncan White

They obviously learnt something when they won up at Old Trafford. When the board was held up with five minutes of stoppage-time on it, the away fans began chanting 'Fergie time'.

It was more in hope than expectation but, to cries of Yorkshire delight, in the final minute of those five, referee Alan Wiley awarded a penalty for Michael Dawson's sliding tackle on Jermain Beckford, which Leeds' lethal striker converted with conviction.

Dawson had timed a tackle on Beckford in the box perfectly moments earlier, but this time he seemed to clip the striker first before getting the ball. It was a big call and one met with disbelief by Dawson. Beckford held his nerve to force the replay.

Spurs were the better side for much of this game, missed a host of chances, including a Jermain Defoe penalty, and, thanks to substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko seemed to have the winner. Leeds, though, refused to roll over. Harry Redknapp did not send his strongest side out, though. The surprise starter in the Spurs line-up was Danny Rose, the 19-year-old England U-21 winger. Rose started out in Leeds' academy but was bought by Spurs two years ago for £1m. It took all of seven minutes for him to hurt his former club, flicking the ball away from the onrushing Michael Doyle in the box. Penalty.

Defoe's kick was low and to Casper Ankergren's left and the Leeds 'keeper got down well to push it behind. Leeds' finally caved with four minutes to go before the break. Gareth Bale got past Jonny Howson down the Spurs left and then alertly picked out Niko Kranjcar with his drag back. The Croat's low shot lacked power but Ankergren could only block with his feet. Peter Crouch tapped in the rebound.

That wasn't it, either. With 53 minutes gone, Robert Snodgrass sent in a corner that Jermaine Jenas tried to steer back to Huerelho Gomes. He didn't get enough purchase on the ball and it dropped short, where Beckford was waiting.

It wasn't a straightforward finish though -- he still had to contort his body, whipping it round to tuck the ball under Gomes. The rambunctious away end went into rapture.

Redknapp responded to his team's fading enthusiasm by sending on both Robbie Keane and Pavlyuchenko for the last 20 minutes. Four minutes later and Spurs had regained the lead.

Bale paid a crisp pass into the path of Palacios as the Honduran sprinted up the left channel and he squared across the edge of the box. Pavlyuchenko dummied over the ball and ran into the box, where Defoe picked him out. The Russian striker finished first-time. That was that, you thought. But there was plenty of drama still to come.

Sunday Independent

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