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By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent, at the Britannia Stadium
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Premier League: Stoke City 0 Tottenham 1
Danny Rose had an eventful outing at the Britannia Stadium as Tottenham beat Stoke to record their third win in four games.
The Spurs left-back scored the only goal of the game just after the half-hour mark and was then on the receiving end of a knee-high challenge from Ryan Shawcross which resulted in the Stoke defender getting a second yellow card.
Rose was consequently subjected to the ire of the home crowd, who felt he had made the most of the tackle to get his opponent sent off.
And, as tempers became frayed, the Spurs man was somewhat fortunate to avoid a sending-off himself after pushing City’s Geoff Cameron in the chest in response to another challenge.
Tim Sherwood eventually elected to substitute the defender and, although Spurs hardly saw the game out comfortably, suffering a number of nervy moments, they held on to their slender lead until the end.
With Everton losing at Southampton earlier in the day, the Lilywhites are now three points behind the fifth-placed Toffees – albeit with an inferior goal difference which is tantamount to another point.
There was just one change to the Spurs side that had beaten Fulham at home in their last outing, with club captain Michael Dawson returning to the heart of the defence in place of young Zeki Fryers and pitting his aerial skills against his former team-mate Peter Crouch.
Tottenham started brightly and some of the travelling fans thought they had taken an early lead when Asmir Begovic fumbled Aaron Lennon’s cross into the side netting.
The Potters grew into the game though, and both defences were on top for a relatively uneventful 20-minute spell in which neither goalkeeper was seriously tested.
However, in the 26th minute, Stephen Ireland advanced to the edge of the box, cut onto his right foot and whipped the ball just wide of the far post.
Spurs went back up the other end and Harry Kane got a glimpse of goal from a similar position, but he was closed down and his weak, low effort was simple for Begovic.
The Potters threatened again as Peter Odemwingie broke the offside trap and found Ireland, who hared into the penalty area, but Dawson timed his tackle immaculately.
In the end it was Tottenham who got the breakthrough in the 32nd minute as Emmanuel Adebayor, who had been quiet up front in the first third of the match, beat his man inside the box and hung up a cross from the by-line, with the diminutive Rose leaping to head home.
There was little response from City and Spurs could have doubled their lead just before half-time. Kane got a sight of goal in a central position but elected to twist back before shooting and his effort was blocked. Moments later the ball ran for Lennon, but he couldn’t control it and that chance went begging as well.
Stoke came out purposefully after the interval and Marko Arnautovic outmuscled Kyle Naughton on the left corner of the penalty box before cracking his drive wide of the far post.
However, the Potters were reduced to 10 men in the 52nd minute as Ryan Shawcross was shown a second yellow card for a challenge on Rose.
The home fans were far from impressed with the decision and booed Rose every time the ball came near him.
The left-back was then upended by Cameron, much to the delight of the Stoke faithful – and the left-back reacted angrily, chasing the player and pushing him in the chest. The crowd demanded a red card and became even more incensed when Andre Marriner only produced a yellow.
With Rose now getting even more abuse, Sherwood elected to take the full-back out of the cauldron, swapping him for Fryers.
Fuelled by the perceived injustices, Stoke battled hard and went close on two occasions. Odemwingie met Erik Pieters’ cross at the near post but headed over. And, soon afterwards, Dawson’s slip gifted the City striker another header – but he missed the target again.
Sherwood introduced Andros Townsend in place of the off-form Lennon, but Townsend got a knock within moments of coming on. He was left limping and, with Spurs having used all of their substitutions, their numerical advantage was largely cancelled out.
The pressure only increased, and the chances kept coming. Odemwingie went down in the box as Dawson slid in, but Marriner dismissed the penalty appeal.
Arnautovic then had a golden opportunity to equalise with a clear sight of goal 10 yards out, but he shot tamely at Lloris, who then had to stop Steven N’Zonzi’s effort from range.
Spurs came closest to scoring in the final moments, with Paulinho drawing a save from Begovic at close range, but the game ended 1-0.
Tottenham: Lloris, Naughton, Dawson, Kaboul, Rose (Fryers 69), Lennon (Townsend 78), Chadli (Sigurdsson 72), Paulinho, Eriksen, Adebayor, Kane
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