I went to White Hart Lane to watch today's match for my upcoming birthday.
However, I wasn't really brimming with the same confidence I had when Spurs faced Liverpool at the first game of the season. I had reason to be like that.
I seem to find that Spurs give the 'major' sides more of a game (remember last season, unbeaten by the top four until the second meeting with Manchester United?) and then rest on their laurels when facing 'lesser'/newly-promoted teams.
This week's match just happened to be one of those matches with a potential shock result, which would dash Tottenham Hotspur's hopes of winning the League...
VERY luckily, Aaron Lennon once again saved the day with a goal out of nothing at the very last second. I'll lead up to it:
It was all Spurs for 45 minutes. A full first half of the type of football which made Spurs famous; sexy, fluid passing and movement, yes I am grooming Modric's ego in this, but he is usually my first port of call for marvelous passing and vision.
Joe Hart had a firing squad of players directing shots at his goal, but his luck came in the form of Spurs' terrible finishing and some brilliant saves.
Keane, once again looked like a fish out of water when he received each pass. Defoe was a little too greedy at times as well.
Aaron Lennon opened proceedings with a 20 yard shot on 7 minutes. It was parried by Joe Hart.
Tom Huddlestone attempted a strike, but was easily saved by the Birmingham City goalkeeper. You could say he knew what to do "off by Hart."
Birmingham's Sebastian Larsson made sure Spurs knew City were still there by shooting at Carlo Cudicini, who parried the shot confidently.
Jermain Defoe then went on the run during a Spurs counter attack. He had Keane to his left for support, but greedily went it alone and made a poor shot as well.
If there was ever a better chance during that match to score, I'd like to hear it.
Modric got up to try a header shortly after, but the ball bounced across the wrong side of the post.
Palacios, at 27 minutes, tried to make his mark on the scoresheet with
one of his bespoke cannonball shots, but it was obstructed by a very brave
He got hit harder than a Canary against the 08:47 German I.C.E. Train into Munich.
An effort from Luka Modric went just round the post, simply making the wait for a goal more agonising.
Chance after chance after chance went by. I tell you, I have never been so frustrated and nervous in my life.
Birmingham City's chances, despite the limited number that they had in the first half looked better attempted. Most of them forced Cudicini to wake up from his earlier slumber as Spurs fired from all angles before.
To make matters more annoying, Luka Modric was tackled hard in the first 10 seconds of the second half, forcing him to come off and allowing Peter Crouch to come on as a substitute.
Whilst the attacking force was being replenished, the defensive presence of Spurs looked to be depleting.
King had to come off to make way for Hutton and ease his knees. However, problems were caused when Christian Benitez (subbed on for Carsley) outfoxed the entire back four and shot low on the left side, clipping the outside corner of the net.
Crouch was on the other end doing what he does best, getting up above defenders and heading the balls on target. He had to keep knocking on the door though (twice), as one was parried away from the left side of the goal, hand on Hart (Okay, I'll stop the puns now).
Another Crouch header bounced off the crossbar, immediately causing 36,000 pairs of hands to spring up and onto 36,000 heads in disbelief.
The third time was clicheically lucky. A free kick for a minor foul on Lennon was taken.
Spurs aren't good when it comes to defending against set-pieces, but they can definitely dish them out.
The ball was launched high into the box and across goal on 71 minutes. Crouch (ironically named) jumped up and headed into the net. It was definitely worth the wait.
Birmingham replied within 3-4 minutes. Lee Bowyer tapped the equaliser in after
a misunderstanding between Alan Hutton and Carlo Cudicini (then again, when you have a Scotsman and an Italian trying to speak to each other, it can be
a bit of a mess).
After 80 minutes, Roman Pavlyuchenko was brought on to replace a worn-out and injured Jermain Defoe.
Birmingham forward Garry O'Connor had the chance to steal a win from under Spurs' noses from inside the box, but his effort veered just off to the left of goal.
Spurs continued to press, but each attack was either blocked by the Brummies'
dogged defence, fruitless due to Spurs' terrible finishing or slowed down due to excessive passing amongst the back-four.
The four added minutes of injury time had passed and Spurs were now on bonus time.
With one more roll of the dice, Aaron Lennon had wormed his way up into the box like a left-footed Lionel Messi, passed two defenders on the way into the box, switched to his preferred right-foot and drove a great shot low into the net.
Hart got a full hand to the ball but the velocity kept the ball almost straight as it went into the net at the last second, sending the stands into a frenzy of applause and YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYO!!!
I had never been so stressed and frustrated at the lack of finishes in all my life.
I had also never been so happy when a winning goal was scored.
Maybe it was because of the match being a birthday day out for me :)
(Sept. 2, but there aren't any matches that week apart from a friendly England match)
Aaron Lennon: Always around when you need a last minute goal.