English Premiership

Spurs held by West Brom

2013-12-26 20:09
Christian Eriksen (AFP)

London - Tim Sherwood has suffered a frustrating start to his reign as Tottenham's new manager after a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane on Thursday.

It was not what Sherwood, who was handed a surprise 18-month contract following a short caretaker spell, would have envisaged.

But he could have no complaints as Jonas Olsson cancelled out Christian Eriksen's free-kick opener to drop Tottenham down to eighth in the Premier League.

After being named as permanent boss on Monday, Sherwood, a former Spurs and Blackburn midfielder, vowed he would go on the attack and he was true to his word.

He maintained faith in his two-pronged attack, which had already served him well in his caretaker reign, and there was no sign of any holding midfielder that had been a trademark during his predecessor Andre Villas-Boas' tenure.

The fact that Sherwood could be so cavalier might have had something to do with West Brom's set-up.

West Brom, who themselves are on the lookout for a new manager following Steve Clarke's exit, had hardly thrown caution to the wind as they packed their defence and looked to hit the home side on the counter-attack.

Yet that tactic from caretaker boss Keith Downing, taking charge for his second game, nearly bore fruit on two occasions inside the opening 20 minutes.

A quick exchange between Matej Vydra and Zolta Gera saw the Czech Republic striker denied via a combination of Michael Dawson and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the 14th minute.

If that was a half-chance then Vydra was handed a golden opportunity to open the scoring six minutes later.

Another clever pass from Gera found the on-loan striker, who bore down on goal before Lloris was out quick to smother his attempt.

For all their attacking players and their gung-ho approach, Tottenham were struggling to muster anything meaningful in the final third.

In fact, it took a controversial 36th minute opening goal from Eriksen to break the deadlock.

West Brom were furious to see James Morrison penalised for hauling down Kyle Walker, but the Danish winger was in no mood to be charitable as he curled home off the underside off the crossbar.

It was Eriksen's first Premier League goal but within two minutes his side's celebrations had been cut short.

Eriksen was booked for pulling down Morrison and Morgan Amalfitano's free-kick was swept home by Olsson, via a helping hand from Emmanuel Adebayor.

Togo striker Adebayor has been back in favour under Sherwood, but his poor clearance which led to the Swedish defender's leveller was a major blot on his copybook.

Few inside could argue that West Brom did not deserve their equaliser and the scares continued for Spurs in the second-half.

Steven Reid's 53rd minute free-kick was palmed out by Lloris before the Frenchman was fortunate to see Gera fail to get any strong connection to a Amalfitano cross.

Tottenham were lacking any kind of fluency and were restricted to long-range pot-shots in their bid to regain the lead.

Lewis Holtby dragged his 20-yard drive wide on the hour mark before visiting goalkeeper Ben Foster had to be alert to beat out Walker's thunderous hit moments later.

But West Brom were standing firm and Gylfi Sigurdsson headed into side-netting before Roberto Soldado flicked his header wide late on.


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