Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Final score 0-1, Spurs scrape victory in tight game

Jamie McDonald

Roberto Soldado's second-half penalty proved to be just enough for Tottenham Hotspur to edge out Crystal Palace, but it was a nervy finish for the visitors.

Ian Holloway may have earned a reputation for attacking football from his last foray into the Premier League with Blackpool, but his Crystal Palace side were set up in the first half to frustrate and deny Tottenham Hotspur the opportunity to create any chances, with some disciplined defending leaving the visitors in a familiar position from last season, struggling to break down a team sitting deep.

Mousa Dembele went close after a quarter of an hour with a swerving effort which clipped the bar on its way over from 30 yards out after some fine work from new addition Roberto Soldado, but Tottenham otherwise struggled to get past a disciplined Palace side, with Mile Jedinak in particular doing a fine job in disrupting the play of the visitors.

Gylfi Sigurdsson was the next to come close to opening the scoring, after he was picked out by Aaron Lennon on the edge of the area and looked to score a trademark strike. But Julian Speroni was able to make the save and keep the scores deadlocked. Tottenham then looked to be getting into their stride, and Speroni was soon called into action again to deny Soldado at the near post after more good work from Lennon.

The hosts came out for the second half seemingly with more intent to play football and attack, and looked to put together a decent passage of play but couldn't find a final ball. Just five minutes in, however, they relinquished an opportunity for Spurs to take the lead. After having one decent penalty shout turned down as Paulinho went down in the area, Lennon's cross was then handballed by Dean Moxey, with Soldado stepping up to convert the penalty with ease, sending Speroni the wrong way from the spot.

Ian Holloway responded by making a triple attacking change, bringing on Jonathan Williams, Kevin Phillips and Marouane Chamakh in a bid to force an equaliser, but his side still struggled to get into the game. Indeed, Spurs should have wrapped up the game shortly afterwards, Soldado unselfishly teeing up Sigurdsson but the midfielder, who was having a frustrating afternoon, spurned the opportunity to make it 2-0.

Kevin Phillips almost had an opportunity afterwards after some extremely unorthodox goalkeeping from Hugo Lloris, charging out of his area to tackle the veteran striker and just about getting away with it as his defenders managed to prevent the hosts from getting an opportunity to shoot at the open goal.

Spurs continued to look for a goal to kill the game off, but almost suffered a sucker-punch when Phillips' knock-back found the onrushing Kagisho Dikgacoi, but Hugo Lloris kept his concentration to save his goalbound effort. That proved to be the closest Palace came - Spurs had showed some familiar old problems, but in the end had enough in them to ensure a victory, albeit a narrow one.

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