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16:57 23rd April 2011

Tottenham 2 Albion 2

SUPER-SUB Simon Cox's 81st-minute stunner earned Albion a valiant point and dented Tottenham's Champions League qualification hopes.

Cox converted a brave Baggies display into a draw when, just four minutes after coming on, he curled a superb 20-yard drive into the top far corner - his first-ever Barclays Premier League goal.

Peter Odemwingie's 13th of the season in the fifth minute had got Albion off to a dream start, only for long-range efforts from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe in the 27th and 67th minutes respectively to put Spurs ahead.

But the Baggies' late comeback - which made it an impressive one defeat in nine - was richly deserved.

The Albion defence - superbly marshalled by Abdoulaye Meite and Jonas Olsson - had to weather long spells of Tottenham pressure but they carried a real threat at the other end, with Odemwingie once again a livewire.

On-loan Arsenal striker Carlos Vela was handed his first start under Roy Hodgson - replacing James Morrison - in the head coach's only change from the Chelsea defeat.

Harry Redknapp made two alterations to the Spurs side that drew 3-3 with Arsenal on Wednesday, with Younes Kaboul and Defoe replacing Vedran Corluka and Peter Crouch.

This game between fifth and 11th kicked off in blazing sunshine - and it was Albion who launched the first attack.

With only 22 seconds on the clock, Jerome Thomas collected Vela's lay-off and fired just wide from 25 yards.

Albion's 1,700-strong following were determined to make themselves heard and helped create a crackling atmosphere inside White Hart Lane.

And they were dancing in the aisles after just five minutes.

The Baggies launched a swift counter-attack and Vela found Odemwingie in space on the edge of the Spurs box. The in-form striker spun Benoit Assou-Ekotto before curling a superb 15-yard effort around Michael Dawson and inside Heurelho Gomes' far post - his fourth strike in five games.

Assou-Ekotto had stayed on the ground after being outmuscled by Odemwingie and had to be replaced, with Sandro coming on.

Tottenham reacted to going behind with a sustained spell of pressure and, in the 13th minute, Olsson timed his jump to perfection to beat Defoe to Gareth Bale's centre and head clear.

Albion had a let off four minutes later when Rafael van der Vaart found William Gallas unmarked in the six-yard box with an exquisite free-kick. However, the ball was slightly behind the Frenchman and he headed high over the bar.

Albion withstood the Spurs pressure and after the hosts only partially-cleared a Baggies free-kick, Chris Brunt fired an ambitious volley over from 25 yards.

But Redknapp's men were soon back on the attack and the Baggies were relieved to see Pavlyuchenko flash a stooping header across the face of the goal from the increasingly-influential Bale's centre.

However, Spurs were level on 27. The ball broke kindly for Pavlyuchenko on the edge of the Albion box and after riding skipper Brunt's challenge, the Russian smashed a terrific drive in off Scott Carson's far post.

Tottenham began attacking with even more purpose and, three minutes later, Bale curled a 20-yard free-kick just over.

They went much closer on 32 when, after Carson had done well to parry van der Vaart's fearsome cross-shot, Pavlyuchenko fired the rebound high and wide from 15 yards.

To Albion's credit, they hung in, stuck to their passing game and prodded and probed for another opening.

But it was Spurs who recorded the next effort on goal, with Luka Modric seeing a 20-yard shot hit team-mate van der Vaart and fly well wide.

Albion had to make a change a minute into stoppage time when Steven Reid, who had done well against PFA Player of the Year Bale, hobbled off and was replaced by Gonzalo Jara.

Tottenham started the second period on the front foot and the Baggies defence protected Carson's goal in the opening stages with a series of blocks.

But it was Albion who came closest to scoring again.

On 51, Nicky Shorey found Odemwingie with a terrific centre and the Nigerian saw his goalbound header superbly finger-tipped wide by Gomes at full stretch.

It was the Baggies who were now well on top and, moments later, Odemwingie created space for a shot on the edge of the Spurs box and fizzed a terrific effort just wide of the far post.

Albion were looking in fine fettle as the clock passed the hour-mark, attacking with purpose at one end and defending stoutly at the other.

It wasn't until the 66th minute that Tottenham threatened again, with van der Vaart curling a 20-yard free-kick over Carson's bar.

But the Baggies' hard work came undone a minute later.

With the Albion defence backing off, Defoe charged forward before drilling a fine 20-yard shot inside the bottom right-hand corner.

But the Baggies responded strongly and they had strong appeals for a penalty turned away on 74 when sub James Morrison's shot from Vela's pull-back appeared to strike Dawson's arm.

And Brunt came within a whisker of levelling on 80 minutes with a 25-yard drive which flew inches wide of the far post.

But, just a minute later, Albion were level.

Sub Cox made it 2-2 with a stunning goal, beating Gomes all ends up with a 20-yard curler which sailed into the top far corner.

The Baggies did not settle for a point. Instead, they kept looking for another goal - and came mightily close to bagging one.

In the first minute of stoppage time, Cox fed Odemwingie who flashed a fierce 18-yard drive just wide, with Gomes beaten.

Albion had to survive once final scare when, 60 seconds later, Brunt got his body in the way of Defoe's volley from Bale's free-kick.

TOTTENHAM (4-4-2): Gomes; Kaboul, Dawson, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto (Sandro 7); van der Vaart, Modric, Huddlestone (Lennon 62), Bale; Pavlyuchenko (Crouch 88), Defoe. Subs not used: Cudicini (gk), Jenas, Bassong, Pienaar.

ALBION (4-4-1-1): Carson; Reid (Jara 45+1), Meite, Olsson, Shorey; Brunt, Mulumbu, Scharner (Cox 77), Thomas (Morrison 70); Vela; Odemwingie. Subs not used: Myhill (gk), Fortune, Ibanez, Tchoyi.

GOALS: TOTTENHAM - Pavlyuchenko (27), Defoe (67). ALBION - Odemwingie (5), Cox (81).

BOOKINGS: TOTTENHAM - Dawson (foul 89). ALBION - Scharner (foul 45+4).

REFEREE: S Attwell (Warwickshire).


ALBION STARMAN: Peter Odemwingie.

PIC: OFF TO A FLYER...Odemwingie curls Albion in front in the fifth minute

To buy a DVD copy of this game for just £4.99, plus postage, click hereor visit Albion stores.

    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.