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Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Saturday, 19 December 2009

Blackburn   0 - 2   Tottenham

By Sam Lyon

Tottenham striker Peter Crouch
Crouch's double took his goals tally for the season to 10 for club and country

Peter Crouch's brace sent Blackburn to a rare home defeat as Tottenham kept up their top-four push with a dogged win.

Spurs took the lead in first-half stoppage time when Crouch rose highest to head in Niko Kranjcar's cross.

And they wrapped up a crucial three points late on when the frontman kept his calm to slot home one-on-one.

In between, Rovers twice hit the post through Benni McCarthy, who was also denied by Heurelho Gomes, but they could not break down a resolute Spurs.

It was a second clean sheet in a week for Tottenham, who in the absence of Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate appear to have stumbled across a fine centre-half pairing in Michael Dawson and Sebastien Bassong.

But while Wednesday's 3-0 home defeat of Manchester City was an exercise in sweeping attacking play and guile, their win at Ewood Park was all about character and discipline.

It was the perfect response following the recent controversy over the players' Christmas party and serves further notice of the Londoners' top-four ambitions this campaign.

Spurs' extra quality told - Allardyce

For Blackburn, though, it was only a third home defeat in a year under Sam Allardyce, and they will undoubtedly feel frustration following a match that for long periods looked like it could go either way.

Certainly the hosts enjoyed the better possession for much of the match, and provided a decent test of Tottenham's rearguard during a first half full of bluster from both sides, if low on quality in the final third in freezing conditions.

Franco di Santo, in particular, looked a handful, the young Chelsea loanee first forcing Spurs keeper Gomes to punch clear from his clipped shot and then bringing from the Brazilian a far smarter stop low down on the volley from McCarthy's cross.

And the visitors were also grateful to the woodwork when McCarthy's free-kick looped off one-man wall Aaron Lennon and onto the top of the bar, but it would have been the most fortunate of openers had it gone in.

Still, the best two chances of the half fell to Spurs - and the visitors made the second count.

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Surprisingly, Jermain Defoe failed to make the most of a fine opportunity when he was set clear by Kranjcar only to lash wide on the angle, but Crouch made no such error two minutes into first half stoppage time.

Kranjcar, latching onto a Tom Huddlestone shot so wayward it had drifted towards the corner flag, floated over the cross for Crouch to get above the stationary Ryan Nelsen and head in off the underside of the bar.

Rovers were left looking at their watch - only a minute had been signalled by the fourth official - and their sense of frustration only deepened soon after the break when McCarthy was again denied a goal by the woodwork.

This time the striker collected the ball in the area unmarked and squeezed a shot goalwards from eight yards out, only for Spurs keeper Gomes to somehow deflect the ball on to the inside of the post, Bassong scrambling the rebound away with Di Santo poised.

Redknapp happy with 'grafting' win

From then on in, Blackburn prodded and probed in attack with increasing desperation, but a Tottenham rearguard that so often has looked fragile in recent years grew in confidence and stature as the game wore on.

On the rare occasion the back line was breached Rovers found Gomes in fine form, Di Santo and Junior Hoilett both seeing speculative efforts kept out by Tottenham's number one.

And with Blackburn committing increasing numbers forward, Spurs took advantage on the counter attack to put the match to bed.

Only minutes after he had seen a headed goal rightly ruled out for offside, Crouch wrapped up the victory when he was put clean through by Jermaine Jenas's pass, slotting past former Spur Paul Robinson in the Rovers goal with confident aplomb.

There was still time for Gomes to deny McCarthy one more time, pushing a low effort round the post on the stretch, but after that Blackburn's challenge understandably faltered and they will end the day just three points off the relegation zone in 13th place.


Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce:
"It's very disappointing to suffer two straight losses, and it's something I didn't expect us to get from our last two games, I must say.

"Unfortunately we have come up against a Peter Crouch in top form in front of goal and we haven't got anything out of a game that perhaps we deserved to.

"We have made a very, very good Tottenham side struggle. Their first goal was in the second minute of added time in the first half when there should only have been one additional minute, and we think it was a blatant foul by Crouch on the centre-half Ryan Nelsen too.

"We responded well, though, pushed them on to the back foot and we've had a chance at 1-0 - Benni McCarthy's - that 99 times out of 100 he would score. Credit to the keeper, he has spread himself and it's deflected onto the post, and in the end in the latter stages we've been caught on the break.

"In the end, it's Crouch who has made the difference."

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp:
"It was not a pretty game but one Tottenham may have lost in the past. It was a great result for us. It was a tough match but we have collected three points and kept a clean sheet away from home. I have to be pleased with that.

"It was not free-flowing football like it was in midweek against Manchester City. However we were solid at the back and the goalkeeper did well for us.

"We have a good group of lads and I do not have any problems with them. Crouchy got two good goals and deserved to get on the scoresheet. He works hard for the team.

"I thought we were fortunate to be 1-0 up at half-time but Jenas gave us a lot of energy when he came on and Robbie also hand a hand in the second goal, so it was a good day for us."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Blackburn 0-2 Tottenham FT
(HT 0-1)
    • Crouch 45+2
    • Crouch 83

    Blackburn

    Substitutes

    Tottenham

    Substitutes

    Ref: WaltonAtt: 26,490
    BLACKBURN
    TOTTENHAM

    Possession

    • Blackburn 50%
    • Tottenham 50%

    Attempts on target

    • Blackburn 9
    • Tottenham 2

    Attempts off target

    • Blackburn 4
    • Tottenham 5

    Corners

    • Blackburn 5
    • Tottenham 0

    Fouls

    • Blackburn 7
    • Tottenham 6
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+4:15 The referee blows for the end of the match.
    • 90:00+3:27 Alan Hutton challenges Morten Gamst Pedersen unfairly and gives away a free kick. Benedict McCarthy takes the free kick.
    • 90:00+2:32 Niko Kranjcar produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses right.
    • 89:18 Substitution Alan Hutton joins the action as a substitute, replacing Aaron Lennon.
    • 86:20 Corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen from the right by-line, Close range header by Ryan Nelsen goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 86:09 Lars Jacobsen delivers the ball, clearance by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
    • 83:38 Corner taken by Benedict McCarthy from the left by-line, clearance by Vedran Corluka.
    • 83:20 Benedict McCarthy produces a drilled right-footed shot from 25 yards. Save made by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 82:02 The assist for the goal came from Jermaine Jenas.
    • 82:02 GOAL - Peter CrouchBlackburn 0 - 2 Tottenham A goal is scored by Peter Crouch from inside the six-yard box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Blackburn 0-2 Tottenham.
    • 80:37 Substitution Jason Roberts joins the action as a substitute, replacing David Hoilett.
    • 78:36 The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
    • 75:10 Benoit Assou-Ekotto produces a cross.
    • 71:36 Substitution (Blackburn) makes a substitution, with Nikola Kalinic coming on for Franco Di Santo.
    • 68:57 Shot from just outside the box by Morten Gamst Pedersen misses to the right of the goal.
    • 68:17 The referee blows for offside against Robbie Keane. Free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
    • 66:28 Substitution (Tottenham) makes a substitution, with Robbie Keane coming on for Jermain Defoe.
    • 64:55 Corner taken by Morten Gamst Pedersen from the left by-line, save made by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 64:45 Centre by Morten Gamst Pedersen, clearance made by Sebastien Bassong.
    • 64:08 Inswinging corner taken by Benedict McCarthy.
    • 62:56 Benedict McCarthy takes the free kick.
    • 62:56 Substitution (Blackburn) makes a substitution, with Morten Gamst Pedersen coming on for Michel Salgado.
    • 62:56 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jermain Defoe on Pascal Chimbonda.
    • 61:35 Tom Huddlestone fouled by Vincenzo Grella, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Jermaine Jenas.
    • 60:59 Steven Nzonzi takes a shot. Save made by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 59:47 Shot from 12 yards by David Hoilett. Blocked by Jermaine Jenas.
    • 57:10 Paul Robinson takes the indirect free kick.
    • 57:10 Substitution Jermaine Jenas joins the action as a substitute, replacing Wilson Palacios.
    • 57:10 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gael Givet by Jermain Defoe.
    • 55:27 Shot by Franco Di Santo from 20 yards. Save by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 55:00 David Hoilett crosses the ball, clearance made by Sebastien Bassong.
    • 54:33 Michel Salgado has an effort at goal. Michael Dawson gets a block in.
    • 53:02 Shot by Benedict McCarthy. Save made by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 52:29 The referee penalises Jermain Defoe for handball. Paul Robinson takes the indirect free kick.
    • 51:44 Steven Nzonzi is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 50:54 Aaron Lennon produces a cross.
    • 45:35 The referee gives a free kick against Tom Huddlestone for handball. Benedict McCarthy takes the direct free kick.
    • 45:01 The referee starts the second half.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+2:38 The ref blows to end the first period.
    • Correction - 45:00+1:41 The ball is crossed by Niko Kranjcar,
    • 45:00+1:41 Centre by Niko Kranjcar,
    • Correction - 45:00+1:31 Niko Kranjcar provided the assist for the goal.
    • 45:00+1:31 Assist by Niko Kranjcar.
    • 45:00+1:31 GOAL - Peter CrouchBlackburn 0 - 1 Tottenham Peter Crouch finds the net with a headed goal from close range. Blackburn 0-1 Tottenham.
    • Correction - 45:00+1:23 Volleyed shot by Tom Huddlestone.
    • 45:00+1:23 Shot from just outside the box by Tom Huddlestone misses to the right of the target.
    • 43:23 Foul by Franco Di Santo on Michael Dawson, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Niko Kranjcar.
    • 41:54 Benedict McCarthy fouled by Michael Dawson, the ref awards a free kick. Benedict McCarthy takes the free kick.
    • 40:10 Jermain Defoe is penalised for a handball. Paul Robinson takes the indirect free kick.
    • 39:16 Effort on goal by Benedict McCarthy from outside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
    • 36:50 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Peter Crouch by Gael Givet. Free kick taken by Niko Kranjcar.
    • 34:40 Free kick crossed right-footed by Benedict McCarthy from left wing.
    • 34:40 Booking Vedran Corluka goes into the referee's book.
    • 34:34 Unfair challenge on David Hoilett by Vedran Corluka results in a free kick.
    • 33:45 Wilson Palacios fouled by Steven Nzonzi, the ref awards a free kick. Niko Kranjcar restarts play with the free kick.
    • 30:20 Franco Di Santo gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Wilson Palacios. Direct free kick taken by Sebastien Bassong.
    • 29:25 Shot from just outside the box by Tom Huddlestone misses to the right of the target.
    • 28:35 The ball is swung over by Benedict McCarthy, Shot from 12 yards by Franco Di Santo. Heurelho Gomes makes a comfortable save.
    • 26:44 Niko Kranjcar fouled by Michel Salgado, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
    • 25:59 Tom Huddlestone takes a long range shot harmlessly clearing the crossbar.
    • 25:05 Shot by David Hoilett from 20 yards. Save by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 22:16 Jermain Defoe produces a drilled right-footed shot from deep inside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 19:09 Aaron Lennon is adjudged to have handled the ball. Indirect free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
    • 17:34 Lars Jacobsen gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jermain Defoe. Benoit Assou-Ekotto takes the free kick.
    • 16:11 The ball is sent over by Franco Di Santo.
    • 14:09 Corner taken by Benedict McCarthy played to the near post, clearance made by Tom Huddlestone.
    • 13:03 Michael Dawson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Hoilett. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Benedict McCarthy, Aaron Lennon gets a block in.
    • 8:17 Franco Di Santo takes a shot. Save by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 5:12 Jermain Defoe delivers the ball, save by Paul Robinson.
    • 0:35 The referee penalises Michael Dawson for handball. Benedict McCarthy produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick.
    • 0:00 The referee starts the match.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Premier League table

    Saturday, 19 December 2009 19:35 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    Full Premier League table
    1 Chelsea 17 28 40
    2 Man Utd 18 20 37
    3 Arsenal 17 24 35
    4 Aston Villa 18 15 35
    5 Tottenham 18 18 33
    6 Man City 17 6 29
    7 Liverpool 18 9 27
    8 Birmingham 17 1 27
    9 Fulham 17 6 26
    10 Sunderland 18 -3 21
    11 Stoke 17 -5 21
    12 Burnley 17 -14 19
    13 Blackburn 18 -15 19
    14 Wigan 17 -18 18
    15 Everton 16 -8 17
    16 Hull 18 -20 17
    17 Bolton 16 -10 16
    18 Wolves 17 -16 16
    19 West Ham 17 -9 14
    20 Portsmouth 18 -9 14

    see also
    Saturday football as it happened
    19 Dec 09 |  Football
    Saturday's football photos
    19 Dec 09 |  Football



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