Tottenham 1-1 Norwich City: Dembele debut strike not enough due to Snodgrass stunner

A debut goal from Moussa Dembele was not enough to claim three points at White Hart Lane on Saturday as Robert Snodgrass' late goal pegged back 10-man Tottenham and claimed a much-deserved point for Norwich.

Spurs improved on a flat first-half performance to take the lead through an excellent Dembele strike but Norwich, who hit the bar in the opening stages, found the resolve to hit back with five minutes to go – dramatically equalising. The hosts found further woe as Tom Huddlestone received his marching orders for a foul on Steve Morison.

Andre Villas-Boas named the same starting XI that drew 1-1 with West Brom last weekend as Dembele took his place on the bench, whilst Chris Hughton also stuck with the same side that claimed their first point of the season against QPR.

The hosts started slowly, struggling to find a rhythm, which allowed the Canaries to get an immediate foothold in the game. Though the first half was short on chances, Hughton's team conjured the first major opportunity on the eighth minute as Jonny Howson stood over a wide free-kick.

His well-delivered in-swinging ball from the right flank was met by right-back Russell Martin no more than 10 yards out but despite connecting well, he watched as his header cannoned back off Brad Friedel's crossbar.

Tottenham had the larger share of possession but seemed short on ideas, leaving Gareth Bale with few chances to get on the ball. Their best opening was created and taken by Jermain Defoe who wriggled into enough space on the edge of the box to fire a low left-footed shot marginally wide of John Ruddy's goal.

But the visitors responded well with a series of excellent balls from the wide areas. First, Snodgrass delivered a ball into the six-yard box that was well diverted by Jan Vertonghen but with Brad Friedel in no-man's land, Bradley Johnson arrived to strike a left-footed shot marginally over the bar.

Although, Gareth Bale briefly responded with a fierce drive from 20-yards that was parried by Ruddy, Norwich were to feel aggrieved that they went in at the break level.

Anthony Pilkington showed great vision to spot and deliver an inch-perfect cross to Snodgrass and although the midfielder headed firmly back across Friedel, the American shot stopper – playing in his 307th consecutive Premier League game – pushed the ball to safety with an outstretched right arm. Friedel was up swiftly to combine with William Gallas to deny Simeon Jackson on the line.

Villas-Boas made the inevitable change at half-time, replacing Sandro with Dembele, giving the £15 million Belgian his debut.

And though it did not come directly from the midfielder, Spurs fashioned an early chance as Benoit Assou-Ekotto's cross from inside the box deflected into the air and to Gylfi Sigurdsson on the edge of the box. However, his well-struck volley was watched carefully by Ruddy and gathered safely into his chest

Norwich remained a threat though and Grant Holt would have been disappointed to see his header from 10 yards sail high and wide given he was under little pressure.

Spurs continued to enjoy more of the ball but the Canaries remained the bigger threat and although Villas-Boas moved to 4-4-2 with the introduction of Emmanuel Adebayor for Sigurdsson, it was the visitors that came close again.

This time, Snodgrass weaved his way past two challenges on the right before teeing up Pilkington for a first-time strike at goal. Friedel, again, stood defiant to turn the ball away to safety.
 
Though Norwich were pressing for the crucial opening goal, it was a moment of brilliance from Dembele that put Villas-Boas' side in front.

The Belgian initially sent Defoe too wide with his pass but was found by the striker on the edge of the box. A clever stepover and turn later, Dembele had the ball on his left-foot and enough space to fire low and hard into Ruddy's far corner.

But that was not enough to suppress Norwich and the introduction of Morison for Jackson almost yielded an immediate response as Assou-Ekotto tangled with the Welshman in the box. Mark Halsey was perhaps a little lenient to wave play on.

This did not deter the Canaries though and with five minutes to go, they drew level. A deep cross was headed back into the middle of the box by Martin and kept alive by Holt, whose header fell at the feet of the impressive Snodgrass. The summer signing guided the ball into the bottom right-hand corner to record his first goal in a Norwich shirt and send the away fans into raptures.

With time ticking away, Huddlestone, who had come on just before the equaliser for Defoe, lunged into a 50/50 challenge with Morison on the halfway line. Although the tackle was late and did not appear overly dangerous, Halsey deemed it worthy of a red card, reducing Spurs to 10 men for the final stages.

With four minutes added on and Tottenham surprisingly pressing for a winner, Hughton's side almost sucker-punched the hosts as the ball fell to Johnson on the edge of the box. Fortunately, Friedel was alert enough to parry to safety, closing a dramatic and ultimately fruitless half for Spurs.

The Canaries played with a confidence and intensity that set the tone for the game. Spurs, meanwhile, looked as if they had spent last night alongside chairman Daniel Levy trying to conclude early morning deals. It was a lackadaisical and stale performance and in truth, they were fortunate to emerge with a point.

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