Just when our cunning plan to lessen expectations seemed set to bear fruit, up popped Lenny with a dramatic winner that preserved the 100% record and left the Blues fans feeling as sick as I did two years ago when Larsson did it to us.
Disappointment had been settling in at the Lane. We had missed a whole heap of chances, and had finally grabbed the lead through Peter Crouchâ€™s looping far post header, but when it was expected that we would go on to notch another couple of goals to run away with it, Alan Hutton dithered, Cudicini watched him do it, and under pressure from substitute Benitez the ball squirmed to Lee Bowyer for the easiest of tap ins.
The truth of the matter is that after that moment, the visitors had the better of it. Oâ€™Connor should have scored, Johnson also might have done. Modric was gone to what we now know is a broken leg, King had departed with a groin injury. The team was rocking badly, and seemed bereft of the ideas and momentum that had earlier opened up Birminghamâ€™s packed defence. Four minutes of injury time were signalled â€“ could we hold on for a draw? Ten points out of 12 didnâ€™t seem too bad on reflection.
But then Stevie Carr, good lad, unaccountably fell over on the halfway line. Huddlestone pinched the ball and fed Pavlyuchenko, who advanced and then fired a cross from right to left, where Lennon collected it, dummied two defenders and then fired a low shot beyond Joe Hartâ€™s dive. Pandemonium ensued!
There was only time for the Blues to kick off and whack an instant yet insanely hopeful long range shot at Cudicini. The final whistle blew and the boisterous away supporters were suddenly silent.
It should be recorded that Spurs had been the dominant team for most of the match. Goal line clearances, desperate tackles, scuffed shots, and the width of the crossbar had kept the Lilywhites at bay, as Birmingham toiled manfully to survive, and up until Lennonâ€™s intervention it looked as if their efforts would be rewarded. I suppose it was harsh on them, in that they had worked hard and grown stronger as the game progressed. The best team won though.
What does it all mean for Spurs? Well, it certainly demonstrates some resilience â€“ winning â€œuglyâ€, if that is what this was, is no bad habit to get into. There was a vibrancy about much of the football, until injuries and circumstances changed the atmosphere. Defoe and Keane will have better days. After winning three games, some people mentioned the revered Double winning heroes of 1961, which was the last Spurs team to win its first three games. Actually it won itâ€™s first 11, and 15 out of the first 16. There can be no comparison between that team and this one today. Letâ€™s just enjoy the good start that weâ€™ve longed for.
The next two league fixtures, after the international break, are against Manchester United and Chelsea. These will be a great barometer of where this current Spurs team is, and with 12 points behind us we should approach them without fear. We should go for it, and see where that takes us. It is, after all, the Spurs way.Â Â Â
By Andy Knaggs
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