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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Premiership, Tottenham 3-1 Watford

Robinson on right end of freak goal as Spurs ease to win

That's why you're number one', roared the home crowd in praise of Paul Robinson, the unlikely scorer of Spurs' second goal. The Watford fans had contested the England goalkeeper's crown, but when Robinson's free-kick flew the length of the pitch, bounced in front of Ben Foster and into the net!!! to put Tottenham two goals ahead after Jermaine Jenas had opened the scoring.

Hossam Ghaly added a third for Totteham before Darius Henderson pulled one back in the last minute for doomed Watford.

But it was Robinson who took centre stage in a match that had been billed as a battle between England's top two keepers. His amazing effort owed more to luck than judgement, but Foster was left to rue a misjudgement that will hardly help his chances of displacing Robinson as his country's first choice stopper.

Robinson was almost certain to start England's forthcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers after coach Steve McClaren backed him this week, but the manner of the second goal of his career will have ended any lingering doubts.

Tottenham's victory moved them into sixth place and was the ideal preparation for Monday's FA Cup quarter-final replay against Chelsea. In contrast, Watford look certain to go down after a defeat that left them 11 points from safety.

With that Chelsea clash in mind, Jol rested Dimitar Berbatov, Aaron Lennon and Robbie Keane.

But Spurs were still able to dominate the first half. Steed Malbranque created the first chance in the 17th minute when he got to the byline and cut a cross back, only for Mido to blast over.

Jenas was back in action after missing three matches with a groin injury and he looked determined to make up for lost time. He was at the heart of all Tottenham's best moments and he worked space for a volley that flashed wide from the edge of the area.

Jenas prompted another chance with a fine pass that picked out Jermain Defoe midway through the half. Defoe tested Foster with a smart snapshot, but the Watford keeper was equal to it.

Watford's only first half chance came from a generous piece of defending by the hosts. Pascal Chimbonda's pass went straight to Tamas Priskin but the Hungarian's shot was blocked for a corner.

Chimbonda got it right a few moments later though when his assist allowed Jenas to break the deadlock in the 41st minute. The French defender's cross picked out Jenas and he buried a header beyond Foster for his fifth goal in seven appearances.

Tottenham, Jenas goal:

Tottenham had won six of their previous seven matches, scoring 23 goals in the process, but they sealed victory here in the most bizarre manner after 63 minutes.

Foster had just saved well from Tom Huddlestone and when Robinson launched a huge clearance from well inside the Tottenham half there seemed to be little danger. But Foster, on loan from Manchester United, couldn't read the bounce and was left to hold his head in shame as the ball looped over him into the net.

Robinson's amazing goal:

Ghaly's fine low strike in the 85th minute rubbed salt into Foster's wounds and Henderson's last minute tap-in was no consolation for the visitors.

Tottenham, Ghaly goal:

Tottenham: Robinson, Chimbonda, Dawson, Rocha, Young-Pyo Lee (Stalteri 80), Ghaly, Jenas, Huddlestone, Malbranque (Lennon 71), Mido, Defoe.
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Berbatov, Keane.

Goals: Jenas 41, Robinson 63, Ghaly 85.

Watford: Foster, Mariappa, Doyley, Shittu, Powell, Chambers (Kabba 77), Mahon, Williams (Rinaldi 62), Smith, Priskin (Henderson 56), Bouazza.
Subs Not Used: Lee, Williamson.

Goals: Henderson 89.