A hard fought game, but an enjoyable win nevertheless

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

I said we needed to win, and win we did. But we were lucky. Leicester played well, had 9 shots on target to our five. The decisive moment was when Lloris saved a penalty (we thought our luck was changing). But once they got a goal back, it gave them extra momentum, us palpitations. Our hearts were in our mouths. But we need not have feared.

After our match City thumped Chelsea 6-0. The blue parts of Manchester are now on top, by goal difference. They are on equal points with Liverpool. We are, on the other hand, 5 points behind them, but have played one game less than City. It is still all to play for. United, the red half of Manchester, are in fourth, 9 points behind us. While the two London Dodo birds are nestling together in comfort in 5th and 6th place. Both these dodo’s have 50 pts. Yes, that is a whole 10 points behind us.

We play Chelsea and Arsenal in a couple of weeks, while further down the line we’ve still got to go to Liverpool & City to extract something from them, and it can be done. The race for the Premier League isn’t over yet by a long shot. Not until the fat lady sings an opera song of our liking.

On a day like Saturday you just don’t know what to wear (warm or light). It initially felt mild, but with dark clouds in the sky. The forecast said rain (and even though it might have rained, I didn’t see any). I decided to go for warm clothing (as it turned out, probably right).

This time around the match was an hour later than the previous week. That meant I could have an extra hour in bed. I left my house at 8 am and got to South Ruislip at 9-05. Then got a bus into Ruislip Manor, but because I was very early, I decided to pop into Costas for a tea and something to eat. Then I walked to the station and got the Metropolitan train to Wembley Park.

The harassers were out in full force as I walked out of the station, down the steps, and into a line of touts and half-and-half scarf sellers. Forced my way past them, down Wembley Way until I encountered the wall of security guards eagle-eyed bag watchers. Only they weren’t eagle-eyed, but more dopey-eyed as they were too busy talking to each other, or leaning against a support pole, as I and other bag holders just glided by (what-was-the-bloody-point… I’ll say it again, what-was-the-bloody-point?). And we aren’t just talking about the correct bag size, but various sizes. Maybe they were brought in from the school of dramatic acting, and they thought that their job was to act the part of Stewards, than actually be Stewards. Anyway, the days are counting down until we move away from this monstrosity of a National Stadium, or its attempt at a national stadium (it has nothing on the old Wembley… now that was a stadium).

After a half hour wait at the front of the queue, we were finally let in. Martin, his parents and Jerome joined me, and we walked through the security checks, a light bag check, a light pat down and through. One problem; Martin’s mum was refused access. The reason; her ticket didn’t show the bar code fully, luckily the original ticket was emailed to me so that she could get through (so much for not being able to use your phone to scan your ticket, as we were told, but needed an actual printed ticket only).

Got our table and then Jeff and Terry joined us. The meal was pork, apple sauce, stuffing (no, not Chelsea, even though they did get stuffed by City), roast potatoes and crackling.
An hour before the kick off the team news was released, and we were all surprised that Skipp was starting. Some were annoyed with Pochettino’s team selection (Toby was also on the bench). Thirty minutes before kick off, and we got up to go to our seats. I went looking for team sheets and bumped into Ryan Clarke and Steffanie, from Premium Hospitality. All Premium staff are so welcoming and ready to help you with anything (if they can). Always a pleasure to talk to anybody from Premium staff. After our chat, I got my team sheet and then to my seat.
I chatted with Martin’s mum and dad, Steve was in hospitality this time around, while Martin and Jerome were in another area.

The players came out, and we stood and applauded. All players were wearing black armbands because of the death of the Cardiff player. The whistle went, and the roar went up.
I must say Leicester came out fighting, but they did have one extra supporter on the pitch, and that was the referee who seemed biased against us (he just loved showing the yellow card to any Spurs player). Thirty-three minutes into the match Christian Eriksen provided a perfect cross to set up Davinson Sanchez’s first Tottenham goal. The goal seemed to go against the run of play, but we had luck on our side (about time!).

Up until the second half, Leicester kept pressing, but to no avail. The whistle went, and the players walked off. We dashed to the hospitality lounge for our drinks, I got another meal (that was all I was going to have that day; two meals… please! I was hungry and had no breakfast). Anyway, after our fifteen minutes chat, back out and to our seats.

In the first half, I had texted Martin to say that where we are sitting there was plenty of vacant seats, so in the interval, they joined us.

In the second half, the game was ultimately decided in a period of three minutes, as Lloris denied Vardy from the spot before Eriksen’s excellent finish to Schmeichel’s right swung the game away from Leicester.

Eriksen’s strike came just three minutes after omitted Leicester striker Jamie Vardy dramatically emerged from the bench to take a penalty on the hour mark – only to be denied by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (his first penalty save since April 2014). The funny thing was, Martin’s dad, George, said Lloris wasn’t going to save. I thought otherwise (or hoped otherwise), however, if they did score then that could change the dynamics of the game. He saved it!

Vardy made a demonstrable difference to Leicester’s attack and converted from Ricardo Pereira’s low cross to set up a tense finish before the in-form Son Heung-min made sure of a home win in stoppage time. Son scored for a third consecutive match.

Son’s run was brilliant, and when he scored I jumped out of my seat, into the aisle and… well, I would have said, made a fool of myself, but as everybody else was jumping up and down, nobody noticed the fool on the hill.

We applauded the players off and then made our way to the Hospitality Lounge.

A very tense and enthralling day. But not good for the heart. After a long day, I finally got home at 7.30, only to fall asleep. Be warned; putting enthralled-excitable-long-day together can do that to people of a certain age (and I am only 21).
It’s a fourth consecutive league win for us.

Next up will be Dortmund at Wembley this evening in the Champions League.

See you all at Wembley.

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In the 90's, I was a writer for many of the top Spurs Fanzines (The Spurs, Spur of the Moment, MEHSTG and many others). A Spurs loyalist since the 60/61 season and now a season ticket holder (Premium). I run a Spurs Facebook page (“Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ voice” and co-run another one with Don Scully called “Tottenham Hotspur FC: Inside Track”). There is also a Spurs Twitter account (@HotspurVoice). I travel with Spurs to away games (including Europe). I have my a Blog (My blogging travels with Tottenham Hotspur Premium). The articles that appear on the blog also appear on SpursWeb and other applications.


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