Tottenham narrowly beat West Brom 1-0 at White Hart Lane on Tuesday night after a Jermaine Defoe goal was enough to separate the sides.
Harry Redknapp’s side were frustrated by a staunch West Brom defence for much of the game until Defoe got the only goal of the game with less than 30 minutes to go.
Spurs got off to a flying start with Emmanuel Adebayor forcing a corner within the first minute; Craig Dawson was forced to clear off his line from the resulting set piece.
Jermaine Defoe came close just moments later with a shot from outside the box that went narrowly wide of Ben Foster’s goal.
Tottenham’s early dominance fizzled out after about ten minutes and West Brom started to press the home defence for mistakes, with Sandro being caught out by Peter Odemwingie, but the striker’s chance fell to nothing.
Rafael Van der Vaart came close in the 25th minute when his shot from a Gareth Bale cross was saved well by Foster in the Baggies goal.
Harry Redknapp’s midfield injuries worsened when Sandro limped off on the half hour mark, being replaced by Jake Livermore.
Bale’s constant attempts to unlock the West Brom defence were thwarted as the Welsh winger drifted inside more often than not, to a congested area in front of the away side’s box.
A neat passage of play between Defoe, Adebayor and Bale came to a halt when the resolute West Brom defence was too much for Bale to contend with and the move came to nothing as the half ended.
Spurs opened the second half as they did the first, with Adebayor creating a chance for Defoe with a back-heeled pass but Defoe put the ball over the bar.
Tottenham finally broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute when Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s low cross from the left was tapped to Bale by Van der Vaart, who in turn played it through to Defoe; the England striker recovered from a dodgy first touch to blast the ball low and hard past Foster.
The home side continued their dominance of possession after the goal until they proceeded to concede ground to West Brom as the clock ticked closer to the 90 minute mark and Spurs went more and more into their shell to protect their lead.
The introduction of Somen Tchoyi for West Brom had an immediate effect as his effort from just outside the box forced Friedel to parry his shot clear.
Simon Cox had worked well all game with little support from his side’s defensive set up but he nearly grabbed an equaliser in the final 10 minutes when he won the ball in Spurs’ box only to see his shot go over the bar.
Tottenham held on for the final five minutes of stoppage time to clinch all three points in a game that tested their patience as well as their resilience in the face of a well organised West Brom side.
Harry Redknapp’s men are now five points ahead of Chelsea with a game in hand, while they are within three points of Manchester United in second place in the Premier League.
Tottenham are favourites ahead of Chelsea to finish in the top three but John Terry and co have the experience to climb back up the table; check out more markets on the Premier League at Betfair.com.