Despite the frenetic muddle of late events at White Hart Lane on Saturday evening – the injury to Gareth Bale, the penalties missed and scored, Tottenham's equaliser and both their and Blackpool's frantic search for a winner – this was a essentially a simple tale of the contrasting fortunes of two players who might not have played at all.
In the days before Blackpool's visit to a club that Charlie Adam might have signed for in the last throes of the January transfer window, Ian Holloway pondered dropping the midfielder from his starting XI on the back of a dramatic loss of form; Harry Redknapp, despite his public pronouncements to the contrary, must have given some thought to a similar course of action with Heurelho Gomes. After the game, Redknapp proclaimed Holloway a potential "manager of the century" if he keeps Blackpool up, and while his words were laced with typical hyperbole, Holloway was certainly one-up on the Tottenham manager in terms of making the right choice for this particular game.
After he was selected to start, Adam's guts and persistence impressed as much as his left boot. The intent behind his 61st-minute challenge on Gareth Bale – who will undergo a scan on his left ankle – may have been questionable, but his refusal to allow D J Campbell to wrestle the ball from him as he strode up to take a second penalty, having missed one just 90 seconds earlier, was admirable, particularly given what was on the line in terms of Blackpool's survival. "I wanted to make up for the error that I made," Adam said. "In these types of games you have to show a bit of character and just stick the ball in the net."
The man he eventually beat from the spot seemed to be showing a bit of character of his own until he bundled Gary Taylor-Fletcher to the ground just 17 seconds after saving Adam's first spot-kick. Before that save, Gomes had produced three outstanding stops, including one left-handed block from an Adam volley that was genuinely world-class. Then, like a hyperactive child burning off a few litres of fizzy drinks, he lost his head and collided with the Blackpool striker to ruin all his good work.
Even if Gomes had kept his cool after that penalty save, Tottenham hardly deserved more than the point Jermain Defoe's sweetly struck equaliser earned them, despite dominating territory and possession. They travel to face Manchester City tomorrow six points behind Roberto Mancini's side, all but beaten in the race for fourth in the Premier League. Blackpool, on the other hand, retain at least some hope, despite Wolves' victory yesterday. "Bolton at home and Manchester United away are two tough matches," Adam said, "but we've got good players in the dressing room who can stand up to be counted in these types of games." Himself, for one, as Saturday proved.
Scorers: Tottenham Defoe 89 Blackpool Adam pen 76.
Subs: Tottenham Lennon 6 (Pavlyuchenko, h-t), Crouch 6 (Bale, 64), Kranjcar (Rose, 90). Blackpool Puncheon 6 (Kornilenko, h-t), Cath-cart (Taylor-Fletcher, 77), Beattie (Eardley, 90).
Booked: Tott Gallas, Dawson, Lennon. B'pool Eardley, Kornilenko. Man of match Adam. Match rating 7/10. Poss: Tott 55% B'pool 45%. Attempts on target: Tottenham 11 Blackpool 7. Ref L Probert (South Gloucs). Att 35,585.