Spurs rediscover scoring touch

 

Jermain Defoe strengthened his case to be included in England's World Cup party with a two-goal performance against Charlton.

 The 3-1 victory at White Hart Lane also made sure Martin Jol's side put distance between themselves and Arsenal, who had moved to within a point of their rivals in the battle for fourth place and the Champions League spot that comes with it.

Jermaine Jenas was the other Spurs scorer, with substitute Jerome Thomas netting a consolation effort for the lack-lustre visitors on a day when Addicks striker Darren Bent - Defoe's main rival for an England place - failed to make any impact.

Spurs, who had agreed not to play new signing Danny Murphy against his former club, had gone almost five hours without a Premiership goal but needed just 14 minutes to take the lead.

Jenas played the ball through for Defoe who turned Jonathan Fortune inside out but the shot that followed needed a deflection off another defender, Luke Young, to make sure it foxed goalkeeper Thomas Myhre and went in off the underside of the bar.

Spurs were forced into a change after 25 minutes when the recalled Teemu Tainio, who passed a fitness test on his ankle before kick-off, had to be replaced by Tom Huddlestone.

The enforced change did not affect Spurs as they continued to attack relentlessly, although Robbie Keane was guilty of over-elaboration by electing to pass when a shot was the better option.

Charlton had been reduced to pot-shots from free-kicks, none of which managed to get past the wall, and suffered a rash of bookings midway through the half.

Bryan Hughes was perhaps fortunate to stay on after impeding Paul Stalteri before he could canter into the box and Hermann Hreidarsson soon followed him after committing an offence right in front of a linesman.

There was nothing wrong with the pass that Keane played forward in the 41st minute however as Spurs doubled their lead through Jenas, although Charlton defender Chris Powell had looked the favourite to get there first and clear up.
After he failed to do and had shrugged the veteran off, Jenas calmly stroked the ball past the exposed Myhre.

Charlton had hardly had a sniff of a goal yet in stoppage time almost pulled one back out of the blue when Marcus Bent accepted a knockdown from namesake Darren and let fly from outside the box. Goalkeeper Paul Robinson, who had been a spectator for the previous 45 minutes, could only watch as the ball cannoned back off the woodwork.

It took Spurs just 46 seconds to go 3-0 up and again Defoe was the man on target. Keane won the ball in midfield to allow Huddleston to send Defoe away beyond the last defender and although Myhre came out to meet him, a deft flick of the boot enabled the England man to steer it home.

Charlton became more adventurous and Jerome Thomas replaced Radostin Kishishev in the 53rd minute but although Hreidarsson forced Robinson into a save Spurs looked more than comfortable.

Hughes almost gifted Defoe a hat-trick opportunity when a pass came off an opponent to find the striker in front of goal. Defoe was able to get his shot in but Hreidarsson had reacted quickly to block.

The Iceland international repeated the trick a few minutes later with a block on the line to deny Keane, who had rounded the goalkeeper after Paul Stalteri had put him through.

There was another magic moment from Defoe when he turned his marker in the box with ease but this time Myhre was behind the shot and Charlton replaced the flagging Powell with Jonathan Spector in the 68th minute.

Thomas provided a consolation effort two minutes later that was all his own work with the substitute cutting in from the left at speed, evading first Stalteri and then Ledley King and planting a low shot past Robinson at his near post.

Suddenly Spurs looked vulnerable and Fortune planted a header just wide from a free-kick as striker Jay Bothroyd prepared to replace Darren Ambrose for the final 15 minutes.

Robinson pulled off a smart stoppage-time save to keep out a Hreidarsson header and ensure the points were banked.