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Sherwood’s three-scoring Spurs sink Stoke at White Hart Lane

Mousa Dembele (second from left) celebrates his goal against Stoke at White Hart Lane Mousa Dembele (second from left) celebrates his goal against Stoke at White Hart Lane

Sunday, December 29, 2013
5:57 PM

Premier League: Tottenham 3 Stoke City 0

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Tottenham secured their first home win in the Premier League since October as they earned a stylish victory over Stoke City.

Spurs had failed to win any of their previous five domestic matches at White Hart Lane, with their only success since the 1-0 victory over Hull on October 27 coming in the Europa League against Anzhi.

However, new head coach Tim Sherwood oversaw an impressive triumph over Mark Hughes’ Potters, who failed to test Hugo Lloris at all during the 90 minutes.

Roberto Soldado opened the scoring with a penalty – netting his fifth spot-kick of the campaign – and Mousa Dembele and Aaron Lennon then struck in quick succession in the second half.

Spurs failed to score three goals in any of their Premier League games under Andre Villas-Boas this season, but they have now done so twice under Sherwood following last Sunday’s 3-2 triumph at Southampton – and they also kept their first clean sheet in nine top-flight fixtures.

There were five changes to the Spurs side that had been held to a 1-1 draw by West Brom at the Lane on Boxing Day.

Lennon, Dembele and Paulinho returned to the team but Kyle Walker was suspended and Danny Rose was also absent from the squad, so Kyle Naughton and Zeki Fryers filled in as the full-backs – the latter making his first start in the Premier League.

Spurs survived an early scare as Jonathan Walters ran in behind the defence and, when Fryers caught him up, he appeared to push the Stoke man over from behind – but referee Kevin Friend ignored his appeal.

Tottenham went on to take control of the game, with Dembele and Paulinho controlling matters and Christian Eriksen – who was technically playing on the left – roaming around the field to influence proceedings.

Emmanuel Adebayor had a shot blocked by Erik Pieters and the ensuing corner fell to Michael Dawson, whose wild volley into the stands resembled more of a defensive clearance than a shot on goal.

Naughton then freed Lennon with a neat pass inside the full-back, and the winger pulled the ball back for Adebayor, who seemed certain to score but somehow missed – and Potters keeper Thomas Sorensen denied Eriksen with the follow-up.

Spurs continued to push forward and Lennon played the ball in to Paulinho, who flicked it audaciously over the visitors’ defence to Soldado, but the Spaniard volleyed wide of the far post.

Tottenham deserved a goal, but they could have been punished for their profligacy as Dawson dived in on Oussama Assaidi in the box and survived a penalty appeal.

Yet the Lilywhites were soon back on the offensive, with Ryan Shawcross just managing to get a head to Lennon’s chipped cross in front of Soldado – and when Fryers sent the ball back into the box, Soldado sent a glancing header inches wide of the far post.

The breakthrough came in the 36th minute as Soldado floated a cross in to Adebayor, who chested the ball and attempted an audacious volley which was blocked by Shawcross’ hands above his head.

Having waved away two appeals at the other end of the field, Friend pointed to the penalty spot and Soldado sent Sorensen the wrong way to send the hosts into the interval with a deserved lead.

Spurs’ goalscorer should have doubled his tally shortly before the hour-mark as Dembele freed Lennon, who found the striker in the box, but he scuffed his effort straight at Sorensen.

It did not matter though because the home side soon extended their advantage anyway, with Mousa Dembele capping a fine individual performance with a superb solo goal, twisting and turning outside the box and then sending a low 20-yard strike into the bottom right corner.

Four minutes later it was 3-0 as Eriksen and Adebayor broke away, and the ball eventually fell to Lennon, who scored with a looping volley from the right side of the box.

That gave Sherwood the opportunity to withdraw Lennon and Adebayor, introducing Erik Lamela and Nacer Chadli off the bench – and Lamela nearly scored with his first touch but was denied by Sorensen.

Tottenham: Lloris, Naughton, Dawson, Chiriches, Fryers, Lennon (Lamela 75), Dembele, Paulinho (Capoue 62), Eriksen, Soldado, Adebayor (Chadli 80)

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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