Carter's rescue eclipses the Pennant sideshow

Birmingham City 1 - Tottenham Hotspur 1
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The Independent Football

The bulging ankle gave it away. Birmingham's Jermaine Pennant became the first Premiership player to play wearing an electronic tagging device having served just a third of a three-month jail sentence for drink-driving while disqualified. The on-loan Arsenal man, who is poised to sign permanently for Birmingham this summer, was released last Thursday and must wear the tag until his original sentence ends on 31 May.

The bulging ankle gave it away. Birmingham's Jermaine Pennant became the first Premiership player to play wearing an electronic tagging device having served just a third of a three-month jail sentence for drink-driving while disqualified. The on-loan Arsenal man, who is poised to sign permanently for Birmingham this summer, was released last Thursday and must wear the tag until his original sentence ends on 31 May.

Birmingham manager Steve Bruce, legally cleared to play Pennant, had expected to name him as a substitute but he pulled a fast one by ending the troubled 22-year-old's exile from the start. Neither need have bothered as his only contribution to this dreadful game came in the pre-match speculation and handing Tottenham fans an easy figure of fun on the day.

Walter Pandiani hooked a shot over the bar for Birmingham early on and Jamie Clapham scrambled a Jermain Defoe header off the line at the other end. Tottenham lost Noe Pamarot to injury in the 13th minute, but remained the slightly more dominant team with Andy Reid going close with a couple of long-range efforts and Frédéric Kanouté also posed a threat.

Emile Heskey looked the most likely to score for Birmingham in their rare attacks as the match drifted into a slumber, approaching half-time, so much so the Tottenham fans could hardly bother to boo Pennant any more.

The Tottenham manager, Martin Jol, tried to shake things up seven minutes before the break by taking off the ineffective Reto Ziegler and introducing substitute Sean Davis into a midfield reshuffle.

The large Tottenham support was in good voice for the start of the second half, although Birmingham began to look the better team and Mario Melchiot flashed a shot across the face of Paul Robinson's goal.

They even had their Pennant-bating fun ended in the 55th minute and they did not seem to notice that he had been replaced by another former Arsenal young star, Julian Gray. Pennant looked tired and had contributed little, but was still afforded a standing ovation by sections of the Birmingham crowd .

They sat down, though, when Stephen Kelly shot Tottenham ahead four minutes later, with a cracking finish after chesting the ball down, only to start dancing around again when Darren Carter capitalised on an Erik Edman error to toe-poke in a close-range equaliser in the 66th minute.

Irish striker Clinton Morrison quickly came on for Pandiani and Tottenham chucked on potential match-winner Mido for Noureddine Naybet as the managers tried to set up a positive finish.

The game fizzled out just like the first half, though. The only excitement came when Birmingham keeper Maik Taylor kept his side alive with a great save from Mido and a world class one from Kanouté, only for Morrison to waste a chance to nick it for Birmingham when he blasted a sitter wide in injury time.

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