Woodgate dents Hull's survival hopes

A late goal from England defender Jonathan Woodgate gave Spurs what could be a crucial three points in the fight against relegation as they beat fellow Premiership strugglers Hull 2-1 on Monday.

Woodgate’s header—in what was his 50th appearance for the London club—four minutes from time gave Spurs only their second win in their last 10 Premier League matches and first away win since beating West Ham on December 8 last year.

For Hull relegation appears to be a real possibility as they have registered just one victory in their last 17 Premier League games and are now just six points above the drop and one above Spurs.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said he believed that his side had deserved the victory but bemoaned the fact that ahead of him and the club this week lies a Uefa Cup second-leg clash with Shakhtar Donetsk, who beat them 2-0 in last week’s first leg, on Thursday and then their defence of the League Cup against Manchester United on Sunday.

“We’ve got to play on Monday and Thursday and we’ve got a Cup final on Sunday. It’s ludicrous,” said Redknapp.

“We are trying to figure a team out for Thursday. It’s a tough week but it’s a great start.”

His Hull counterpart, Phil Brown, said his side had been unfortunate and insisted they had what it took to escape relegation.

“This has been a progressive season,” said Brown.

“We can’t lose games like that.

“We’ve got to learn minute details we need to pick up on.

“They know full well they didn’t deserve to lose that game.
I believe we have enough ability and character in the camp.”

Hull had gone close to taking the lead a quarter of an hour in but it was not of their making, as Woodgate’s header back to Spurs keeper Carlo Cudicini went past the Italian, but he recovered to avoid conceding an embarrassing own goal.

However, Spurs were ahead two minutes later as Hull inexcusably left Aaron Lennon unmarked at a corner and Croat Luka Modric, seeing his teammate unattended, passed to him and he made no mistake with an impressive shot.

The hosts recovered their composure after that blow—which had come against the run of play—and 10 minutes later they were deservedly level as Michael Turner turned the ball into the net after a corner kick had been missed by Cudicini and the ball had cannoned off Spurs midfielder Wilson Palacios.

Spurs Croatian international fullback Vedran Corluka was just the woodwork away from restoring his side’s lead in the second half when his header from Modric’s freekick beat Matt Duke but came back off the crossbar.

Hull hit back, though, as Kamil Zayatte put in a good header with just under a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, only for it to come off the far post as both sides pressed for what would probably be the winner.

That eventually came four minutes from the end and to the disappointment of the home fans it was Spurs who grabbed it as Woodgate rose to meet Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s cross to beat Duke—though the central defender had to leave the pitch a couple of minutes later with a head wound.—AFP

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