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Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Sunday, 28 December 2008

West Brom 2-0 Tottenham

By Pranav Soneji

Referee Steve Tanner shows Benoit Assou-Ekotto a red card
Referee Steve Tanner brandished straight red for Assou-Ekotto

West Brom boosted their Premier League survival prospects with a valuable home win over 10-man Tottenham.

Roman Bednar's header put the home side in front on 83 minutes when he latched on to Marek Cech's long ball to beat Heurelho Gomes from 10 yards.

And substitute Craig Beattie clinched the points with an injury-time second.

Spurs had been reduced to 10 men when left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto was sent off for a dangerous stamp on Gianni Zuiverloon after 34 minutes.

The victory was West Brom's second in a row at home, six points which could prove crucial as the Baggies attempt to stave off the threat of relegation.

But Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp will be counting down the days until the January transfer window opens with the match highlighting his need to bolster his impotent strikeforce, who have now scored just one goal in their past four Premier League games.

Baggies boss Tony Mowbray recalled first-choice strikers Bednar and Luke Moore, both of whom were rested in the 2-0 defeat by Chelsea on Boxing Day, while Cech and Iglesias Borja Valero earned rare starts.

Redknapp rested Ledley King, with Jonathan Woodgate returning to the centre of defence, while Jermaine Jenas replaced the injured Tom Huddlestone in midfield.

The home side made the brighter start as Gomes had his palms stung by a well-struck free-kick from the edge of the box by Borja Valero on 13 minutes, brought about after Michael Dawson had crudely brought down Moore on the run, a foul which earned him a yellow card.

A dire first half was summed up by statistics showing more yellow cards than shots on target, although the complexion of the match was significantly altered when Assou-Ekotto was sent off for a dangerous stamp.

The left-back raised his studs as he attempted to tackle Gianni Zuiverloon, although the challenge seemed to lack malice.

606 FOOTBALL
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But the offence took place right in front of referee Steve Tanner, who had no hesitation as he reached for the red card, much to the incredulity of the Frenchman.

Assou-Ekotto's absence forced Redknapp into impromptu changes, with Didier Zokora slotting in at left-back, while Luka Modric retreated into a deeper position in midfield, leaving Darren Bent as a solitary figure up front.

While Spurs dealt with their one-man disadvantage without too many concerns in the remaining 11 minutes of the half, the opening exchanges after the interval were quite the opposite.

Gomes pulled off a brilliant save diving to his left to tip over Chris Brunt's curling free-kick from the edge of the box on 47 minutes, before denying Zuiverloon three minutes later.

Despite attractive interchanges in midfield, Spurs looked utterly toothless in attack, rarely testing goalkeeper Scott Carson.

Inevitably, as the second half progressed, the Baggies began to pound Gomes' goal and Dawson had to come to Spurs' rescue when his outstretched leg blocked Zuiverloon's byline cross, with Moore lurking unmarked inside the six-yard box on 65 minutes.

The pressure eventually told when Bednar shrugged off his marker Dawson to get on the end of Cech's raking long ball and score from 10 yards out.

The defender was outraged, claiming he had been pushed as he went up to challenge, but referee Tanner ignored Dawson's protests as the Baggies rejoiced.

And substitute Beattie clinched the three points when he was sent through by James Morrison in the final minute of injury time for three priceless points.


Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp on Benoit Assou-Ekottu's red card:
"We played with 10 men for a long time and I thought we did okay. We controlled enough of the game and still had lots of the ball.

"We wouldn't have got beaten with 11 men, that's for sure.

"We'll pick ourselves up, brush ourselves down and start all over again on Monday."

West Brom manager Tony Mowbray on Tanner's performance:

"I have no comment on the referee. Some games as a coach you sit there and have thoughts but I've not been as brave as Harry and said anything.

"I think we all abide by the officials. We agree with some decisions, we don't agree with others.

"The bottom line is you hope to get the big ones right. I was very surprised when a red card was given but the referee saw it was and you have to live with that."


West Brom: Carson, Zuiverloon (Hoefkens 72), Olsson, Barnett, Cech, Morrison, Greening, Brunt (Dorrans 65), Borja Valero (Beattie 80), Bednar, Moore.
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Kim, MacDonald, Donk.

Booked: Morrison, Brunt, Zuiverloon.

Goals: Bednar 83, Beattie 90.

Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Zokora (Campbell 86), Jenas, Bentley (O'Hara 69), Modric (Bale 75), Bent.
Subs Not Used: Cesar, Gunter, Taarabt, Obika.

Sent Off: Assou-Ekotto (35).

Booked: Dawson, Jenas.

Att: 26,344

Ref: Steve Tanner (Somerset).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Tottenham's Vedran Corluka (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.



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see also
Sunday's football photos
28 Dec 08 |  Football
Premier League as it happened
28 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Lawro's predictions
27 Dec 08 |  Football


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