Tottenham earn draw with Portsmouth

Tottenham 1 Portsmouth 1
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The Independent Football

Jermain Defoe fired an equalizer against his former club as Tottenham drew 1-1 with Portsmouth on Sunday to climb away from last place in the Premier League.

After David Nugent had given Pompey the lead, Defoe, who returned to Tottenham nine days ago, captured a point that sent Spurs up four places in the crowded bottom half of the standings. Portsmouth also moved up three places to 12th after facing former manager Harry Redknapp for the first time since he left Pompey for Spurs in late October.

"We missed chance after chance late on, you're never going to get a better chance to win a football match like we had," said Redknapp, who led Portsmouth to a rare FA Cup triumph last season and into the UEFA Cup before moving to Tottenham when Spurs was also last in the Premier League.

"I thought we showed great character to come back from 1-0 down. They could have easily hid and felt sorry for themselves. If we continue to play like this we won't have a (relegation) problem."

The draw sent West Bromwich Albion, which beat Middlesbrough 3-0 on Saturday, back into last place on goal difference but they are one of five clubs on 21 points.

Nugent gave Portsmouth a 59th minute lead with a low angled shot from a breakaway after Pompey goalkeeper David James had made a reflex save at the other end of the field. Aaron Lennon's shot took a big deflection but James managed to change direction and save at the foot of the post before the ball was swept up field.

It was one of a series of top-quality saves by the England goalkeeper who also acrobatically tipped a header from Defoe over the bar and blocked a glancing header from substitute Darren Bent in the first half.

Bent was on the field because Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko was carried off with a leg injury in the 29th minute and Spurs also lost defender Ledley King before halftime.

In a thrilling, end-to-end game, Defoe leveled in the 70th with a low, left-foot, 20-meter (yard) shot from a layoff by Luka Modric.

Bent should have added a second in the 79th minute but headed wide of the far post while unmarked.

"He should have scored, it was an open goal," Redknapp said. "Jamo (goalkeeper James) had given it up."

Carlton Cole scored for the fifth game in a row as West Ham beat Fulham 3-1 to climb to eighth and end the Cottagers' unbeaten run of nine league matches.

David Di Michele punished a blunder by John Pantsil to give the Hammers a seventh-minute lead when he intercepted the defender's chested back pass to his keeper and rolled the ball into the net from six meters (yards).

Paul Konchesky equalized in the 22nd minute with a 25-meter (yard) shot that curved and flew inside the near post.

But Mark Noble restored West Ham's lead with a 60th-minute penalty awarded when Konchesky tripped Cole as the West Ham striker was about to shoot.

Cole added the third in the 75th when he collected a through ball and slid the ball past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

The result was a boost for West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola who dropped striker Craig Bellamy after the Welsh international, who wants a move away from Upton Park, rejected a new contract and walked out of training.

"Craig wasn't in the squad because he wasn't in the right frame of mind," Zola said. "I don't know what will happen, I don't know if he's played his last game for the club."

In the race for the title, Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov scored a last-minute winner in a 1-0 victory at Bolton on Saturday to put the Red Devils top for the first time this season. United replaced Liverpool, which doesn't play until Monday at home to neighbor Everton.

Third-place Chelsea looked set to fall further off the pace when it trailed Stoke 1-0 at home in the 88th minute, before Juliano Belletti and Frank Lampard scored for a 2-1 victory.

Aston Villa won 2-1 at Sunderland to stay fourth and fifth-place Arsenal won 3-1 at Hull.

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