Sunday 22 September 2019

Wembley woes for Tottenham once again as Gary Megson states his case for West Brom

Tottenham 1 West Brom 1

Tottenham's Harry Kane in action with West Bromwich Albion's Sam Field
Tottenham's Harry Kane in action with West Bromwich Albion's Sam Field

Tom Allnutt

Gary Megson made his case for a longer stay as West Brom manager as his resilient side held Tottenham to a 1-1 draw at Wembley.

Salomon Rondon gave the visitors a surprise early lead at the national stadium and while Harry Kane equalised 16 minutes from time, West Brom stood firm for a gutsy draw.

The Baggies fans chanted Megson's name here and it was they who were cheering at the final whistle, having watched their team end a run of four consecutive defeats.

Megson insists he has not considered becoming the club's permament successor to Tony Pulis but with home games against Newcastle and Crystal Palace up next, he may be able to promote his cause even further.

Tottenham's ruthlessness against the league's lower sides underpinned their title challenge last term but they have now dropped points at home to Burnley, Swansea and West Brom.

Mauricio Pochettino's men had 73 per cent possession and 20 shots to their opponents' five but in truth they created too few clear-cut chances.

They now trail Manchester City by 10 points, with the league leaders still to face Huddersfield on Sunday. West Brom moved out of the relegation zone and into 17th.

Danny Rose was again left out of the Spurs squad, while Megson handed 19-year-old Sam Field his third Premier League start of the season in midfield.

Tottenham arrived on the back of beating Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League but it has been the more hum-drum fixtures like these that have caused them problems at Wembley, with the atmosphere flat and the players lacking their usual zip and aggression.

West Brom needed only four minutes to capitalise as Dele Alli was dispossessed by Jake Livermore, who quickly freed Rondon in behind.

Davinson Sanchez looked to have marshalled his opponent away from goal but Rondon persisted, his dribbling shot catching Hugo Lloris by surprise and rolling inside the far post.

From there it was all Spurs but they struggled to break down the West Brom wall. At one point all eleven green shirts were inside their own penalty area to defend a corner.

Kane and Son Heung-min both went close with long-range efforts while Son fired across the face of goal, only for Kane and Alli to stop their runs at just the wrong moment.

But Ben Foster was hardly troubled before the break except by the Tottenham fans' frustrations as he dithered for time at every possible moment.

The second half brought more of the same, Spurs edging forward, West Brom camped in their own half although Matt Phillips shot just wide on a rare counter-attack.

Pochettino decided he was over-stacked in defence and replaced Jan Vertonghen with Fernando Llorente while Mousa Dembele came on for Harry Winks.

His side huffed and puffed for another 15 minutes before finally pulling level. Alli dinked a cross into the near post, where Kane nipped in to poke home his ninth league goal of the season.

With 16 minutes left, Spurs now fancied a winner and they nearly had it when Kane and Son both looked set to meet Kieran Trippier's cross but the ball span over the bar.

Foster spilled a Kane shot but gathered just ahead of the onrushing Alli and the best chance actually fell to West Brom, only for Rondon to feather wide from close range when he should have found the net.

PA Media

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