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16:59 11th September 2010

Albion 1 Tottenham 1

CHRIS Brunt's 41st-minute equaliser preserved Albion's proud eight-month unbeaten home league record - but the Baggies were mightily unlucky not to pull off a famous win. Champions League outfit Tottenham started the game impressively and took the lead in the 27th minute through Croatia star Luka Modric's brilliant volley. But Albion fought back strongly and Brunt restored parity 14 minutes later with a close-range header - his first goal of the season. Chances came at both ends in the second half but it was Tottenham who were more relieved to hear the final whistle after somehow weathering a late Baggies bombardment. Roberto Di Matteo rang two enforced changes, with Graham Dorrans (family bereavement) and James Morrison (suspension) replaced by new boy Paul Scharner and fit-again Jerome Thomas. Harry Redknapp made five alterations as Roman Pavlyuchenko, Modric, Vedran Corluka and new signings Rafael van der Vaart and William Gallas came in for injured duo Jermain Defoe and Michael Dawson plus Ledley King, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Peter Crouch. Spurs started the game with a long spell of keep-ball, which culminated in Modric poking well over from Gareth Bale's pull-back. Albion soon found their feet but had a lucky escape on 7. A slick Tottenham move down the right led to debutant van der Vaart back-heeling to Aaron Lennon who fired wastefully over from 12 yards. The Baggies enjoyed their first moment of note on 11 when Scharner towered at the back post to head Thomas' free-kick goalwards and keeper Carlo Cudicini did well to pluck the ball off Peter Odemwingie's head. Tottenham looked increasingly dangerous as the half crept on, with the Baggies struggling to contain their pace and movement. And although Scott Carson had not been tested, it wasn't a major surprise when Redknapp's men broke the deadlock in the 27th minute. Neither Jonas Olsson nor Gabriel Tamas were able to get enough purchase on their attempted clearances as they challenged Pavlyuchenko for van der Vaart's aerial ball into the box. Modric was onto the loose ball in a flash and gave the Baggies No.1 no chance with a vicious 15-yard volley. Albion regrouped and Scharner wasn't too far away with a near-post header from Brunt's corner which looped just wide. Goalscorer Modric's afternoon was cut short by injury moments later and his replacement Niko Kranjcar soon tested Carson with a 25-yard free-kick, which the England keeper did well to hold. Scharner was enjoying a productive debut and had the home hordes on their feet in the 40th minute with a 30-yard excoet which flew inches over. The Baggies were level less than a minute later. Marc-Antoine Fortune, making his second home debut after rejoining the club on a permanent basis, charged past Gallas before seeing his low shot well blocked at the near post. Odemwingie beat both Younes Kaboul and Cudicini to the rebound to head goalwards and Brunt towered above Bale to nod home from a yard. Albion suddenly looked a different team and Cudicini had to make a vital save to deny Odemwingie, who had jinked past Wilson Palacios before firing goalwards from 25 yards. Van der Vaart's 25-yard free kick, which flew straight at Carson, proved the final action of the half. Albion started the second half brightly and great build-up play by Gonzalo Jara and Brunt set up a shooting chance for Odemwingie, who fired wide from 25 yards. But the Baggies got caught on the break on 50 and from van der Vaart's defence-splitting pass, only Carson's brilliance in a one-one-one with Bale, pushing the dangerous left-back's effort wide, kept Albion level. Carson had to be on his toes again moments later to palm away Kaboul's ferocious 30-yard free-kick. Back came Albion and Odemwingie wasted a glorious chance on 54 when he directed a free header over from Brunt's dipping corner. The second 45 was proving a cracker with the action swinging from end to end. Tottenham threatened next on 64. Kranjcar headed Bale's free-kick downwards and Gallas swivelled sharply before firing just over from eight yards. Moments later, more neat Baggies build-up play created a half chance for Thomas, who dragged his shot wide of the near post from 18 yards. At the other end, Tom Huddlestone tried his luck with a 30-yard volley but Carson had it covered as it crept wide. Spurs threatened again moments later when van der Vaart saw his shot clip Tamas' heel and bounce beyond the far post. Albion then took the game by the scruff of the neck and the Spurs goal lived a charmed life during the dying stages. Cudicini pulled off a terrific reaction save to keep out Olsson's close-range header from sub Giles Barnes' corner. A minute from time, the Italian pulled off an even better stop to palm away Odemwingie's 18-yard curler after the Nigerian had left Palacios for dead. Gabriel Tamas looked certain to bag a goal-of-the-season contender when he charged forward, exchanged a neat one-two with Odemwingie and raced into the box - only to stab wide with only Cudicini to beat. Albion's late bombardment didn't yield the extra two points it deserved, but this was still a mightily impressive display against last season's fourth-placed side. ALBION (4-1-4-1): Carson; Jara, Tamas, Olsson, Shorey; Mulumbu; Odemwingie, Scharner (S Reid 73), Brunt (Barnes 78), Thomas; Fortune (Tchoyi 86). Subs not used: Myhill (gk), Bednar, Cox, Ibanez. TOTTENHAM (4-4-1-1): Cudicini; Corluka, Kaboul, Gallas, Bale; Lennon (Crouch 77), Palacios, Huddlestone, Modric (Kranjcar 32); van der Vaart; Pavlyuchenko (Keane 64). Subs not used: Pletikosa (gk), Jenas, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto. GOALS: ALBION - Brunt (41). TOTTENHAM - Modric (27). BOOKINGS: ALBION - Jara (foul 45), Brunt (deliberate handball 60). TOTTENHAM - Gallas (foul 55). REFEREE: H Webb (South Yorkshire). ATTENDANCE: 23,642. ALBION STARMAN: Marc-Antoine Fortune. PIC: CHRIS OF LIFE...Brunt nods home Albion's equaliser   To buy a DVD copy of this game for just £4.99, plus postage, click here.
    Data provided by Press Association


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