Writer: Michael Briggs
Date:Wednesday November 10 2010
Asamoah Gyan continued his rich goal scoring form as he helped Sunderland claw a 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur tonight.
Spurs took the lead from Rafael Van Der Vaart`s neat turn and finish, even though the Dutchman looked to have handled the ball before he scored.
Sunderland levelled when Gyan took advantage of a mistake to fire home and they held on comfortably for a point.
Before the game Steve Bruce made six changes from Saturday`s home game against Stoke with the biggest being Craig Gordon, making his first start of the season.
Tottenham have lost two Premier Leagues prior to this evening`s game, aside of the glorious victory over Inter Milan, the home side needed to get their season back on track.
In the first half, Gordon had to be at his best to dive across his line and tip over David Bentley's 25-yard left-foot screamer, while Sunderland rarely threatened, with Kieran Richardson's shot that deflected behind off Younes Kaboul their best offering.
As much as Spurs tried they couldn`t break down Sunderland`s defensive backline, even with Tom Huddlestone hitting the woodwork from 25 yards.
That`s as good as it got in the opening 45 minutes of the game, but after the break Harry Redknapp brought on Peter Crouch in place of Roman Pavlyuchenko to living up the attack, and it began to pay off as it forced The Black Cats into a defending frenzy.
Van Der Vaart caused more havoc when he headed wide Alan Hutton`s cross, before Bentley was booked for diving under a challenge from Bolo Zenden inside the area, a desperately harsh decision against the Spurs winger.
Gordon would be called into action again, this time to parry another Van Der Vaart header, a goal from the home side could be sensed and it came in the 64 minute.
Man of the moment Gareth Bale whipped in a whipping cross towards Crouch who headed it towards Van Der Vaart who turned and applied a neat finish, but some woeful defending would turn the cheers into jeers three minutes later.
Neat work from Danny Welbeck who cut inside from the left and pushed a weak pass forward but Kaboul and William Gallas inexplicably let the ball roll past them and there was arch-predator Gyan to slam into the bottom corner for his fifth goal for the club.
The roles then reversed with Sunderland applying the threats towards the end of the game but the points would be shared come the final whistle which puts Bruce`s side up to sixth and means Rednapps side have only collected two points from their last four league games.
Steve Bruce later commented on how proud he was of his side`s spirit, regardless of how tough the game was.
He told SAFC.com, "We rode our luck a bit in the first half, I chose to change things around in the second and then we showed a bit of spirit.
'After a difficult first half we rolled our sleeves up and asked a few questions of Tottenham. It's never easy to come here against one of the top sides.
'We can take big positives. We have had to change the mentality away from home.'
He added: 'The second half I was pleased with. The first half? Let's be fair - we got a bit of a doing.
"But we hung in there. You need your defenders and your goalkeeper to perform in circumstances like that and a big hats off to them.
"The defence earned that point for us because they were fantastic."
Date:Wednesday November 10 2010
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