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Page last updated at 22:06 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Hull 1-2 Tottenham

By Jamie Lillywhite

Jonathan Woodgate
Woodgate's third goal for Spurs settled a crunch relegation scrap

Jonathan Woodgate's 86th-minute header lifted Tottenham to 14th with a valuable victory at the KC Stadium.

They went ahead with a superb 20-yard effort from Aaron Lennon, who found space following a short corner.

But Hull looked dangerous in an entertaining first half and Michael Turner slid in to equalise after Spurs keeper Carlo Cudicini fumbled a corner.

Both sides hit the woodwork but when a draw looked certain, Woodgate rose to head in Benoit Assou-Ekotto's cross.

A year ago, Woodgate headed the winner at Wembley as Spurs lifted the Carling Cup.

In his 50th appearance for the club, he scored a goal that while not quite as crucial, could be hugely important in their battle for survival.

Five years ago this weekend Hull were losing at home to Torquay in the fourth tier of the English leagues, but having been in the top half of the table for much of their debut season in the Premier League, they are now embroiled in a multi-team relegation scrap.

The warning signs were evident for Spurs in the opening moments when Andy Dawson's inswinging corner from the right caused anxiety in the six-yard box, and set pieces remained a constant problem for the visitors.

Dawson found himself in the book within the opening seven minutes for two crude challenges on the pacy Lennon, but though Hull looked the more dangerous it was Spurs who took the lead with the first moment of genuine quality.

Ironically it stemmed from a set play, as Luka Modric worked a short corner with Robbie Keane and found Lennon on the edge of the area.

The diminutive winger had time to line up a shot, but his curling effort into the narrow gap available to the left-hand corner was exquisite.

Hull came right back, however, and Cudicini had to be alert to rush out and block with his legs to deny the charging Kamil Zayatte.

But the Italian goalkeeper flapped badly at another inswinging corner from the right, and after the ball ricocheted off Wilson Palacios, Turner slid in ahead of Ledley King to apply the finishing touch.

Spurs looked the more comfortable in possession but Hull were the more purposeful, with Daniel Cousin's volley dipping just over and an unmarked Sam Ricketts glancing a header wide.

Harry Redknapp had looked increasingly agitated by his team's failings and they would no doubt have felt the force of his frustrations as they emerged with more intent after the break.

Keane broke down the left and crossed for Palacios to hit a fierce volley heading straight for the corner, only for former Tottenham defender Anthony Gardner to block with his head.

A Modric free-kick was headed against the top of the bar by his compatriot Vedran Corluka but much of the second half lacked fluency.

It was not until midway through it that Hull tested the Spurs goal, Zayatte breaking free to glance another inswinging corner from the right against the outside of the post.

Woodgate's superb leap settled it, he had to leave the field shortly before the end with blood streaming from above his eye, but that endeavour helped to end a run of four away defeats and gave Spurs a key win.

For Hull it was a 10th league match without a victory and only four points separate them from 17th-placed Stoke.

Hull manager Phil Brown:
"I'm not worried about relegation. That's the wrong word. It's always been in the back of our minds.

"We can't lose games like that. We've got to learn the little details we need to pick up on.

"But I believe we have enough ability and character in the camp to get through this poor spell."

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp:
"We've got to play Monday and Thursday and we've got a cup final on Sunday. It's ludicrous.

"It showed why I rested players. People should understand that is why I do my job and that is why they do their job.

"They made it difficult in the first half, they worked their socks off and were always a big threat at set plays.

"But in the second half we created the better chances and were the better team and it's a terrific result for us."

Hull: Duke, Ricketts, Turner, Gardner, Dawson, Marney, Ashbee, Zayatte (Geovanni 87), Kilbane, Garcia (Manucho 79), Cousin (Mendy 67).
Subs Not Used: Myhill, Doyle, Barmby, Halmosi.

Booked: Dawson, Ashbee.

Goal: Turner 27.

Tottenham: Cudicini, Corluka, Woodgate (Dawson 89), King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon (Zokora 87), Jenas, Palacios, Modric, Keane, Bent (Pavlyuchenko 72).
Subs Not Used: Gomes, Bentley, Huddlestone, Chimbonda.

Booked: Modric.

Goals: Lennon 17, Woodgate 86.

Att: 24,742

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater men of the match: Tottenham's Aaron Lennon and Hull's Michael Turner on 6.93 (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
Hull v Tottenham as it happened
23 Feb 09 |  Premier League

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