|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (2)||NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1 (0)|
|Date : – Saturday 11th March 2023||Kick off : – 15.00|
|Competition : – Premier League||Venue : – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium|
|Crowd : – 61,460|
|Referee : – Craig Pawson (Sheffield)||Linesmen : – Mr. Marc Perry; Mr. Scott Ledger|
|Fourth official : – Tim Robinson|
|VAR official : – Darren England||VAR Assistant : – Derek Eaton|
|Weather : – Sunny, chilly|
|Forest kicked off the first half attacking the Park Lane end|
|Playing time : – 90 + 12 minutes
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR||NOTTINGHAM FOREST|
|Kane 18m 53s||Worrall 80m 57s|
|Kane (p) 34m 55s|
|Son 61m 17s|
|Skipp (foul on Dennis) 69||Lodi (foul on Richarlison) 55|
|Conte (dissent) 69||Cooper (dissent) 90+9|
|Dier (foul on Ayew) 71|
|Hojbjerg (foul on Aurier) 90+1|
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR||NOTTINGHAM FOREST|
|20.||Fraser FORSTER||12.||Kaylor NAVAS|
|17.||Cristian ROMERO||24.||Serge AURIER|
|15.||Eric DIER||4.||Joe WORRALL (c)|
|4.||Oliver SKIPP ( 29. Pape Matar SARR 90+7)||10.||Remo FREULER ( 22. Ryan YATES 67)|
|5.||Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG||6.||Jonjo SHELVEY|
|33.||Ben DAVIES||5.||Orel MANGALA ( 34. Andre AYEW 46)|
|9.||RICHARLISON ( 21. Dejan KULUSEVSKI 84)||10.||Morgan GIBBS-WHITE|
|7.||Heung-Min SON ( 27. Lucas MOURA 84)||11.||Jesse LINGARD ( 25. Emmanuel DENNIS 46)|
|10.||Harry KANE (c) (p)||20.|| Brennan JOHNSON ( 39. Chris WOOD 67 [ 7. Neco WILLIAMS 73])
|40.||Brandon AUSTIN||47.||George SHELVEY|
|25.||Japhet TANGANGA||19.||Moussa NIAKHATÉ|
|55.||Romaine MUNDLE||8.||Jack COLBACK|
= Assist = Goal scored = Own goal scored
|Manager : – Antonio Conte||Manager : – Steve Cooper|
|Kit Supplier : – Nike||Kit Supplier : – Macron|
|Shirt Sponsor : – AIA||Shirt Sponsor : – United Nations High Commission for Refugees
|Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch||Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – None
|Colours : –
||Colours : –|
|Images of kits courtesy of the marvellous Colours of Football website|
|Forest might have just edged West Ham as the worst side to visit the THS this season so far, so it was a comfortable 3-1 win for Spurs in a match once more spoiled by VAR that caused a bit of a nervy ending. Craig Pawson must rate as one of the worst referees going (and that’s saying something with this current crop), as his fussiness and general inconsistency causing frustration in the crowd, among the players and on the touchline. The fact that both managers were booked for dissent aimed at him says more about him than the respective men in charge of their teams.
After Wednesday night’s exit from the Champions League leaving a top four finish as the only thing to play for, Conte rang the changes giving Richarlison his wish for playing time, moving Ben Davies forward to a wing-back position and returning Eric Dier to the middle of the back three. With Emerson Royal unfit to start after taking a knock on Wednesday, Pedro Porro started in the right wing-back position. The sun was out as Forest got the game underway.
Two minutes and 47 seconds into the match and Richarlison proved his point. A ball over the Forest defence from Oliver Skipp played from ten yards inside his own half caught out Felipe and sent Richi into the penalty area. He took his shot first time and he smashed it past Navas from the right side of the goal to put Tottenham 1-0 ahead. As always, VAR checks goals for offside and managed to find out that his shoulder was slightly ahead of the last defender, so it was wiped out. Not only was the score back to 0-0, but it had taken three minutes before play restarted. The way the current VAR system works means that the fans were kept in the dark while the referees protect themselves by taking their time in private to make decisions that nobody else (apart from the broadcasters) are privy too.
The next opportunity on goal came in the 13th minute when Son’s free-kick found Romero’s head, but he couldn’t keep it down and it went into the North Stand end, although a free-kick was given to Forest anyway. Shelvey looked to free Johnson in the right hand channel, but his first touch was heavy and Romero saw the ball go out for a goal-kick and the sliding Johnson ended up crashing into the advertising hoardings. He was obviously looking to try and unsettle the Spurs defenders (and anyone else in a white shirt he could get near) by shoving and pulling, but it took up all of his concentration and so he wasn’t as dangerous as he had been at the City Ground. The Forest medical staff didn’t seem to want to bother to go and see how he was, so the referee decided that the game wouldn’t restart until he had seen to him even though he was off the pitch. As it was, he got up and was waved on as soon as the goal-kick had been taken.
in the 19th minute, Porro played the ball down the right for Richarlison, who eased past a weak challenge from Shelvey to cross into the box. The ball was behind Davies just beyond the penalty spot, but Ben played the ball back where it had come from on the stretch and Porro controlled it inside the penalty area. Looking up, he teased a cross towards the middle of the goal, just outside the six yard box, where Kane lost Worrall and rose higher than Serge Aurier to direct the ball where Navas had just come from and it beat the keeper to his left. There was to be no question over this one and Spurs were ahead in the first half, which was an unusual occurrence.
A couple of minutes later, Tottenham were in the Forest box again, with Richi and then Davies being knocked to the ground, but the referee showed no interest in awarding anything. Son tried a cheeky free-kick on the half hour by lifting it over the wall for Kane, but he wasn’t able to make a decent contact on it and Navas gathered the ball as it ran through to him. However, when Harry Kane played a pass to Richarlison running inside the penalty area to the right, Worrall committed himself to a tackle that took the Brazilian down as he toed the ball forward. There was no debate about this one either and the Forest players looked resigned to their usual awayday fate as the referee pointed to the spot. Harry stepped up and firmly side-footed the ball high into the net down the middle, leaving Navas low diving to his right and Spurs were 2-0 ahead.
A minute before half-time Kane headed over at the near post to a Porro cross and in the two minutes of added time shown, which went into three (despite nearly three minutes for the VAR delay, Johnson being attended to and a few other stoppages) Shelvey had a shot deflected wide, with the corner being punched away by Forster to bring the whistle to send the teams down the tunnel.
Cooper decided to bring on Dennis and Ayew for the immensely ineffective Lingard, who spent all his time trying to tug players back as they breezed past him, and Mangala, who had been particularly anonymous. Dennis proved to be a menace, with his persistent niggly fouls, moaning at the referee and throwing himself to the floor, while Ayew’s finest moment came near the end.
Set-pieces into the Spurs box were dealt with pretty well by the defenders and a Forest player finally found his way into the book when Lodi produced a crude pull on Richarlison. It was a different matter in the Forest box, as Shelvey was forced to use his face to block a shot from Heung-Min Son, but Forest had a glimpse of goal on the hour, when a free-kick was flicked on for Felipe, but he could only sky his shot over the top. Forster was forced inot his first save of the match after Spurs outnumbered the Forest players in a break that came to nothing and the ball went to the other end, where Johnson drilled a low shot from the right that the Spurs keeper got down well to his right to smother at his near post. And that was where the third goal started from. Forster rolled the ball to Lenglet, who looked forward to Hojbjerg, but he was forced to pass back to the keeper. It was played short to Dier, who played a one-two with Lenglet across the box before going right to Porro and his pass found Romero halfway inside the Spurs half and he sent Richarlison into acres of space on the right wing. Looking up, he tried to pick Son out with a first-time ball, but it was cut out and came back to him, This time Richi dinked the ball to Son, just left of centre. He let it run across him, taking Aurier out of the equation and as Shelvey tried to close him down, Sonny calmly shot low with his left foot through his legs and beyond Navas’ dive. It was a cool piece of finishing and one that almost wrapped up the match for Tottenham.
Forest had been woeful and the performance matched their awful away record in the Premier League this season. There was still the bulk of half an hour to go, but the game got bogged down in poor refereeing decisions, with Skipp booked for a foul on Dennis that was encouraged by a number of Forest players. It looked as though Olly had won the ball, but after rolling around on the floor for a while, Dennis sprung up to carry on. Meanwhile, Wood, who had come on a minute earlier, was down and needing treatment as he chased a ball down that Lenglet got to first, with the Forest striker sprawling forward onto the grass. He last another couple of minutes avoiding the ball before he limped off to be subbed. Dier shortly followed Skipp into the book when he won the ball by sticking his leg between Ayew’s but the referee deemed it a foul from behind as the Forest man hit the deck.
Lenglet went close with a downward header from Son’s corner, but it bounced up for Navas to take easily, then it was a corner at the other end that brought a fins save from Fraser Forster. It was played to the near post and Aurier won a header that was going in at the keeper’s top right corner, until Fraser threw up a hand to push it over the bar. It was a wonderful reflex save and he made another good block with his legs at his near post as the subsequent corner was played back in and fell to Dennis who shot low at goal.
Spurs were soon back at the Forest end, with Son’s ball in from the left finding Davies’s head and he glanced it towards the far post, where Richarlison was coming in, but Navas managed to smuggle the ball away for a corner. The ball was recycled from the corner and Son tested Navas with a low shot to his left, but he got behind it. When we conceded a corner at the other end, Forster didn’t do so well, coming for a punch that a Felipe beat him to and Worrall was free at the far post to nod into an empty net.
Moura replaced Son and Kulusevski came on for Richarlison as Spurs looked to get back to attacking the Forest goal. A couple of times, passes for Moura would have been won in a foot race with an opponent, but it looks as thought he injuries have deprived the Brazilian of some of his pace. Kulusevski doesn’t have that problem, as he took a quick free-kick from Hojbjerg and came inside to shoot with his left foot, but Navas got down and behind it at his near post.
Hojbjerg was booked as he brought down Aurier as he came inside him in the Forest half, with a corner resulting from the free-kick being played forward. It was hit long and headed back, but Dier headed it away and when Aurier tried to chest it down for Shelvey, Kulusevski got something on it with the Forest midfielder volleying wide of the goal. The referee didn’t give a goal-kick but pointed to the penalty spot, which was followed by another long VAR review and him looking at it on the monitor, so you knew what was coming. The something that Kulu got on the ball was his forearm and it was just a question of if he was inside or outside the box. Anyway, Ayew strolled up casually to take the kick and put it to Forster’s right, but the big man guessed correctly and beat out the kick, which was at a good height for a keeper. The ball went straight out into the penalty area again, but Spurs won it and sent Hojbjerg away with a lot of Forest players caught upfield.
The only thing that happened in the remaining three of nine added minutes played was a touchline scuffle involving both sets of coaching staff, with Conte thankfully stepping back (not in a Gary Linker way from presenting Match of the Day) having already picked up a yellow. Ryan Mason seemed to be at the forefront of it and it was a little difficult to see what the fuss was about, as Dennis had just fouled Porro, who indicated that Cooper had been saying things and then Romero tried a pass that doubled-up Ayew as it hit him in the chest. It seemed that Cooper’s comments had riled the Spurs staff and also the fourth official, as the referee pulled out the yellow card for the weird Forest manager, who flunked his audition to be the next Spurs manager if the media is to be believed.
The three points were especially important with Liverpool losing at Bournemouth earlier and so often we fail to take advantage of other teams slipping up, but today there was little chance of that happening against a terrible Forest side. Their fans were all mouthy and produced a flare when they scored, but a lot had left by then and at the end, the away section was sparsely populated. They are not in the relegation zone at the moment, but you feel that it may not be too long before they return there.
As for Tottenham, it was a good reaction after failing in mid-week, but a 3-1 win over a team who had only won once away all season isn’t a turning point, although you can only beat what’s in front of you … and that is just what Spurs have to do in our remaining games. Too often we have failed against teams lower in the table, but we also have to put in a performance against the teams around us that we still have to play. Richarlison played very well and showed what he is able to give the team, not being discouraged by his disallowed goal (going across the pitch after the end of the match to give his shirt to a fan in the East Stand will go down well too), Ben looked happy in his le wing-back role, Porro was effective on the other side and Kane and Son looked more like their old selves. Nobody had a bad game really and Spurs were in debt to Forster for a couple of good saves and the saved penalty.
It leaves a top four place still to play for and hopefully, we can keep that going to the end of the season.
|Crystal Palace||0||Mancashter City||1|
|Leeds United||2||Brighton & Hove Albion||2|
|Newcash United||2||Wolverhampton Wanderers||1|
|Mancashter United||0||South Coast Big Club||0|
|West Ham United London||1||Aston Villa||1|
|OTHER RESULTS in midweek|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||1||Crystal Palace||0|
|South Coast Big Club||0||Brentford||2|
Premier League Table 2022-23
|7||Brighton & Hove Albion||25||12||6||7||46||31
|17||West Ham United London||26||6||6
|20||South Coast Big Club||27||6||4||17||20||43||23||-23|