No longer need Paul Robinson stand alone as the most embarrassed player in English football. In two bizarre minutes in the rehabilitation of Tottenham Hotspur's acting captain, Juan Pablo Angel came out in sympathy with gaffes that made light of the goalkeeper's aberration in Zagreb.
Robinson was not tested by a 73rd-minute penalty from the Colombian, who then promptly headed a nightmarish own-goal as he tried to help out at the other end. "It was 90 seconds he won't forget for a while,'' said Martin O'Neill, the manager of the only unbeaten club in the Premiership. "But our reaction was over and above what I expected.''
That Gareth Barry came up with a wonderful equaliser nine minutes from time said much about the spirit O'Neill has instilled, even if his side's task was made easier by Calum Davenport's sending-off for the tackle that brought the spot-kick. Television replays suggested the decision was harsh, but Martin Jol conceded that it may have looked a penalty from the vantage point of the referee, Martin Atkinson.
"We had players in the centre of defence who hadn't played there before,'' said the Spurs manager, already inconvenienced by Michael Dawson's withdrawal following "a couple of knocks'' a fortnight after being concussed against Portsmouth. "Davenport has also broken his nose, so we hope Dawson is OK for Thursday.'' Jol did not know whether to celebrate or bemoan a draw that gave Tottenham their first away point and ended Villa's 100 per cent home record.
During the late siege, Stiliyan Petrov and Angel nearly won it, but most of the first-half chances went Spurs' way. Stuart Taylor, in for the injured Thomas Sorensen for his first Premiership start since January, beat out efforts from Jermain Defoe and Hossam Ghaly. The worst miss, though, came when Dawson slid in on Danny Murphy's free-kick, only to hit the post from two yards.
Tottenham's supremacy, interrupted only by an Angel side-foot that was too close to Robinson, also brought a spurned opening for Dimitar Berbatov.
Villa improved in the second half, especially when Gabriel Agbonlahor was switched to an orthodox strike role. His pace unhinged Spurs' rearguard and won the penalty that Angel scooped high and wide. The striker's afternoon became worse still when, with no opposing player within yards, he headed Defoe'scorner virtually out of Taylor's hands at the near post and into the net.
Then Barry cut inside Aaron Lennon and Jermaine Jenas to hit what O'Neill called a "fabulous'' equaliser from 20 yards with his less favoured right foot.Reuse content