Chaplow gives momentum to West Brom fight

Tottenham Hotspur 1 West Bromwich 1
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The Independent Online

The exact worth of this point for both teams will not become apparent until the season's end but with last night's hosts looking for a European place and the guests fighting against relegation, the suspicion is it will suit the latter more than the former, with every point hard to come by at the bottom of the table.

The exact worth of this point for both teams will not become apparent until the season's end but with last night's hosts looking for a European place and the guests fighting against relegation, the suspicion is it will suit the latter more than the former, with every point hard to come by at the bottom of the table.

The lead West Brom should have taken after barely a minute finally materialised some 23 minutes later, a spell in which the visitors had earned their marginal advantage.

Yet more pressure resulted in a corner, taken by Richard Chaplow on his full debut for the Baggies, and which skimmed off the head of Michael Dawson, another debutant, but for the home side. The ball flew to Zoltan Gera whose control was immaculate as he bent the ball inside Paul Robinson's post.

Where the Hungarian midfielder had paused just long enough to score, Nwankwo Kanu had hesitated a moment too long in that chance after just 60 seconds. Released into the box by Chaplow, the Nigerian dwelt a fraction, allowing Erik Edman to block the shot and when the ball rebounded to Gera, he placed the ball wide.

West Brom, in spite of starting the night inside the relegation zone, were playing like a side full of new-found confidence with Chaplow, signed from Burnley in January, the epitome of their spirit.

Yet they had to survive a threat on their goal all of their own making after 10 minutes. Michael Carrick floated in a dangerous pass that Thomas Gaardsoe misjudged with his head, forcing an excellent tip over the crossbar by Russell Hoult.

Spurs were not helped by the absence with a stiff neck of Frédéric Kanouté, the Mali striker and a fine foil for Jermain Defoe, although Sean Davis provided an aerial threat of his own with another header just wide. Stephen Kelly, the full-back, was next to threaten in the air, this time from Andy Reid's corner, but his attempt flew over.

Martin Jol had clearly got into his players at half-time, as not only did the Spurs head coach make two changes but the tempo and aggression were visibly lifted in a team that started the night in the last Uefa Cup position.

One of those changes involved Mido, and the Egyptian striker posed an immediate threat through the middle. He created a chance for himself within seconds of the restart, only to pull his shot wide, but he then played a part in Spurs' equaliser.

West Brom were rocked by their hosts' more urgent display and they were able to hold out for only seven minutes before the match was level. Thimothée Atouba lifted a hopeful ball towards Mido who put off Neil Clement sufficiently for his clearance to fall to Robbie Keane and the Irishman found the bottom corner.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Paul Robinson; Kelly, King, Dawson, Edman (Atouba, h-t); Davies, Davis (Mido, h-t), Carrick, Reid; Keane, Defoe (Ziegler, 76). Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Marney.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Hoult; Scimeca, Gaardsoe, Clement, Paul Robinson; Gera, Wallwork, Chaplow, Richardson (Inamoto, 23); Kanu (Earnshaw, 83), Campbell (Moore, 60). Substitutes not used: Kuszczak (gk), Albrechtsen.

Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).

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