Lacklustre performance by the visitors goes unpunished against Baggies...By Richard Parry at the Hawthorns
Tottenham handed debuts to William Gallas and Rafael van der Vaart for the trip to West Bromwich Albion, as Harry Redknapp’s side failed to claim maximum points for the third time in four Premier League outings.
The visitors started the brighter, with Luka Modric spurning a half-chance from all of six yards within the opening 10 minutes of the match.
Yet Redknapp’s side should have taken the lead, when Aaron Lennon fluffed his lines from 10 yards; scooping his left-footed attempt over Scott Carson’s crossbar.
But the Croatian would not miss another opportunity. Van der Vaart did well on the right hand side before delivering a whipped cross which Olsson and Tamas were unable to deal with, under pressure from Pavlyuchenko. Tamas’ header fell only as far as Modric, who coolly hit home from 12 yards.
Nonetheless, the Croatian would make way moments later through injury, replaced by Niko Kranjcar.
But if anything, Spurs’ opener seemed to lift the Baggies, who went on the front foot; before twice almost equalising, through Paul Scharner.
The former Wigan man missed the far post of Cudicini’s goal by a matter of inches, before unleasing a pile-driver from 30-yards which had the Italian back peddling.
But it would be Chris Brunt who would bag the home side’s much deserved leveller. A powerful run from Marc-Antoine Fortune saw Cudicini pull-off a strong save at his near post, before the ball lofted into the air for Brunt to head home from close range.
After the interval, both sides looked to press as the match began to open up. Van der Vaart began to see more of the ball, as Lennon’s attacking bursts became more fruitful down the right flank.
But with the crowd behind them, it was always the home side who looked most likely to grab a second, and but for the athleticism of Cudicini, they certainly would have.
The Italian seemed to put the ghosts of his previous match against Wigan, in which he conceded a sloppy goal to Hugo Rodallega, behind him, as he denied Peter Odemwingie at his far post.
But neither side could find a winner, and neither manager will be pleased by the result, after a tepid performance from Spurs went unpunished by Di Matteo’s West Brom.