Murphy adds to Spurs' frustration

Charlton Athletic 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0
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The Independent Football

If Tottenham Hotspur had the kitchen sink on the bench they would have used it. They threw everything else. Having previously been accused of parking the bus in front of their goal (copyright Jose Mourinho Esq.) they found the charabanc set up by Charlton Athletic as hard to circumvent.

They only had themselves to blame. Chance after chance was spurned - as against Newcastle United at the weekend. Charlton's exuberant league double created more than a chink of daylight between themselves and Spurs for that seventh place which may provide Uefa Cup football next season. For Charlton that would be a delicious first.

It was the season's earlier meeting which came between Jacques Santini's abrupt departure and Martin Jol's succession as Spurs' head coach. Charlton took full advantage of that chaos by winning. Spurs again arrived following two successive, frustrating defeats. They played well but lost. And the FA Cup loss hurt.

Charlton were at home for the first time in six weeks and there was hurt there also. Then they suffered the crushing disappointment of losing to Leicester City, also in the cup. Manager Alan Curbishley railed against the complacency he wonders has beset fans. This, he said, had led to a flattened atmosphere.

There was no excuse last night. After just three minutes Charlton zoomed ahead. Paul Konchesky - one of four former Spurs' players - ferried the ball to Jerome Thomas who too easily cut inside Noe Pamarot and from 20 yards drove his shot high, right-footed and beyond Paul Robinson for only his third goal of the season. His first was against the same opponents.

It was an exhilarating start. Indeed both managers showed intent with attacking line-ups. Jol shuffled but his strikers perpetrated bad, early misses. And both from sweet crosses provided by Andy Reid with the left-footer cutting in from the right.

Firstly Robbie Keane stooped to head wide, then Frédéric Kanouté made a hash with his feet. Reid was also guilty as he miscued over after Dean Kiely had blocked Kanouté's stabbed shot. Spurs were encamped now but, with a breakaway, Charlton almost scored again. However Danny Murphy tried for precision and his chip grazed a defender and went wide.

But it was Spurs who continued to press. Into the second half and Kanouté burst through again, only to be crowded out, while Kiely scooped up Keane's low shot and Anthony Gardner narrowly failed to connect with a cross. The midfield competition grew fiercer with Murphy - who turned down Spurs for Charlton - against Michael Brown a combustible contest. The temperature scaled a little further with the arrival of Jermain Defoe - who quit Charlton as a teenager.

He was immediately fouled. Reid took the free-kick but Shaun Bartlett was there to head off the line. Spurs paid. Another free-kick, at the other end, from Murphy, after yet another Pamarot foul, clipped a post and beat the scrambling Robinson to settle Charlton nerves. And fire their dreams.

Charlton Athletic (4-5-1): Kiely; Young, El Karkouri, Perry, Hreidarsson; Rommedahl (Johansson, 53), Konchesky, Holland, Murphy, Thomas (Fish, 76); Bartlett (Euell, 72).

Substitutes not used: Andersen (gk), Jeffers.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Robinson; Pamarot (Kelly, 87), King, Gardner, Edman; Reid, Brown, Carrick (Davis, 70), Ziegler (Defoe, 61); Keane, Kanouté. Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Atouba.

Referee: C Foy (St Helens).

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