December 12 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent, at White Hart Lane
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Premier League: Tottenham 1 Hull City 0
Roberto Soldado scored his third matchwinning penalty of the season as Tottenham edged to a narrow and nervy 1-0 home win over Hull City Tigers.
Hull had earned a goalless draw on their previous visit to White Hart Lane in 2010, and it looked for a long time like they were going to repeat the feat.
However, Spurs won a 79th-minute penalty when Jan Vertonghen’s cross was harshly adjudged to have hit Ahmed Elmohamady’s hand – and Soldado stepped up to beat Steve Harper from the spot.
The Spaniard had previously netted decisive penalties in 1-0 victories over Crystal Palace and Swansea at the start of the campaign.
And, having also scored in his previous outing at Villa Park last Sunday, his sixth goal of the season earned a valuable three points, taking Tottenham up into fourth place in the Premier League table.
Andre Villas-Boas made six changes from the side that had beaten FC Sheriff in the Europa League on Thursday, but there was only one difference from the starting line-up in the previous Premier League outing at Aston Villa, with Aaron Lennon replacing Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Hull lined up with five at the back, with Maynor Figueroa and Liam Rosenior man-marking Andros Townsend and Lennon, while Soldado had plenty of company.
That meant City effectively conceded the midfield battle from the outset, and Spurs dominated possession.
Lennon unleashed a volley when Curtis Davies’ header dropped to him 25 yards out, seeing his effort blocked, and Paulinho then stretched to meet Lewis Holtby’s free-kick but could only prod the ball over the bar.
Townsend then managed to escape his marker, breaking away and exchanging passes with Paulinho before cutting inside and unleashing a left-footed effort, which Harper dived to save.
However, as the 20th minute approached, Hull began to threaten themselves, and Yannick Sagbo outpaced Sandro before shooting low towards the far corner, with Hugo Lloris getting down to make the save.
Soon after, Spurs survived a game of pinball in their own box as George Boyd’s shot was blocked by Michael Dawson and Sagbo’s effort hit Vlad Chiriches.
The hosts threatened as Townsend played a reverse pass to free Paulinho on the right, and Soldado narrowly failed to connect with his delivery across the goalmouth, while at the other end Tom Huddlestone pinged a rising 20-yard volley over the bar.
Harper had to fend away a rocket from Kyle Walker but, with five minutes to go until the interval, Spurs were yet to break through – and Villas-Boas responded by switching his wingers, with Townsend moving to the left flank.
Tottenham’s head coach went on to make a half-time substitution, with Mousa Dembele replacing Sandro - but there was little improvement as Hull continued to keep their hosts at arm’s length.
That said, City were struggling to present a threat of their own - or even get out of their own half - and in the 55th minute Townsend drove at the City defence and slipped the ball left to Soldado, whose low shot was saved by Harper.
Moments later, Soldado was appealing for a penalty after going down in the box under pressure from Paul McShane, but Oliver dismissed the claims.
Dawson was then agonisingly close to connecting with substitute Christian Eriksen’s corner, and Townsend then drove wide from distance.
With 20 minutes to go, Villas-Boas introduced Jermain Defoe and changed to a 4-4-2 system. There was no initial impact, but Spurs finally got the goal they so desperately craved with 11 minutes left as Vertonghen’s cross hit Elmohamady’s leg and bounced up onto his hand. Yet Oliver pointed to the spot and Soldado found the net.
Townsend had to receive treatment after crashing over the advertising boards at the end of the pitch, eventually returning to the field with strapping on his wrist - and Tottenham had to endure a heart-in-mouth moment in the final seconds of injury-time as Huddlestone hammered a free-kick just wide of the top right corner.
There was to be no late heartbreak for Spurs though. They will host Hull again on Wednesday night as the two sides meet in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Vertonghen, Sandro (Dembele 45), Paulinho, Townsend, Holtby (Eriksen 60), Lennon (Defoe 70), Soldado.
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs