Redknapp 'scared' by referee as Spurs falter again

West Bromwich 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0
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The Independent Online

As if January was not going to be busy enough already, Harry Redknapp should now start finding space in his diary for a visit to Football Association headquarters. Such was the fury he vented at the Somerset referee Steve Tanner after Tottenham Hotspur's concession of two goals in the final seven minutes that a date with football's beaks appears inevitable.

Ironically, the manager had no complaints with the Cameroon left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto's 34th-minute sending off that left Spurs a man light for the fifth time this season. But he ranted with some justification that Roman Bednar's header, which put West Bromwich Albion ahead from Marek Cech's driven right-wing centre, should have been disallowed.

"Everybody has seen the push on Michael Dawson apart from the referee," Redknapp said. "Dawson has headed everything all afternoon, so why wouldn't he clear that one?

"When I saw who was referee, I knew what was coming. I've seen him make a mess of so many games. He's really not up to the Premier League. This guy was scary."

Tottenham are deluding themselves if they look no further than their grievances with Tanner, a 38-year-old fast-tracked on to the Fifa list this year while still in his top-flight infancy.

Although he mystifyingly let Jonas Olsson go unpunished for a mistimed lunge on Darren Bent – an immediate prelude to Assou-Ekotto's over-the-top challenge on Gianni Zuiverloon –, he cannot be blamed for Spurs' failure to score in three of their last four Premier League games, nor their proximity to the bottom three. With 10 men or 11, and in the absence of the Roman Pavlyuchenko, this was an utterly toothless performance. Adamant though Redknapp may be that he won't pay over the odds for Jermain Defoe or anyone else, his search for attacking talent is now acute.

Strikers have also been on the mind of Albion's manager Tony Mowbray. In addition to trying to find a new one, he kept Bednar and Luke Moore back for most of Friday's defeat at Chelsea to ensure they were fresh. Bednar climbed off his sick bed to produce a work-rate that was as feverish as his temperature, highlighted by a crucial late headed goal for the second home game running – which were both won.

Albion's second came from substitute Craig Beattie in injury-time against an undermanned defence but the home side were the more threatening throughout, Heurelho Gomes saving magnificently from Chris Brunt's free-kick. Cech, in for the suspended Paul Robinson, was excellent in his first league start since the opening day, and Mowbray said: "The sending-off enabled us to push on. We have won two tight home games now and have to keep doing that, especially against teams near us."

Goals: 1-0 Bednar (83), 2-0 Beattie (90). West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Carson; Zuiverloon (Hoefkens, 72), Barnett, Olsson, Cech; Morrison, Valero (Beattie, 80), Greening, Brunt (Dorrans,65); Bednar, Moore Substitutes not used: Kiely (gk), Kim, MacDonald,Donk. Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-1-1): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Jenas, Zokora (Campbell, 86), Bentley (O'Hara, 69);Modric (Bale, 74); Bent Substitutes not used: Gunter, Taarabt, Sanchez (gk), Obika. Referee: S Tanner (Somerset). Booked: West Bromwich Morrison, Brunt, Zuiverloon; Tottenham: Dawson, Jenas. Sent off: Tottenham Assou-Ekotto (34). Man of the match: Cech. Attendance: 26,344.

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