Defoe strike eases Tottenham woesJanuary 19th, 2009 - 4:01 pm ICT by IANS
London, Jan 19 (DPA) Jermain Defoe scored against his former team as Tottenham Hotspur moved out of the Premier League relegation zone with a 1-1 draw against Portsmouth.David Nugent had put Portsmouth ahead, before Defoe levelled with 20 minutes remaining Sunday.
Tottenham lost striker Roman Pavlyuchenko to an ankle injury, while defender Ledley King, who has had such a frustrating time with injury, limped off with a hamstring strain.
Nugent had missed two presentable chances in the first half, but he struck 14 minutes after half-time.
Goalkeeper David James made a superb save to keep out a deflected effort from Aaron Lennon, Portsmouth broke and when Vedran Corluka’s challenge on Armand Traore fell for Nugent, he sent his first Premier League goal skimming in from 20 metres.
The ball took the slightest flick off the heel of Gareth Bale who, remarkably, is still to finish on the winning side for Spurs after 21 league appearances.
Defoe had had two great chances to score against the club he left earlier this month in the first half.
The first he put wide; the second was tipped over by James, who enjoyed a fine afternoon.
But finally, when teed up by Luka Modric, Defoe made it count, drilling a shot between Sol Campbell’s legs and past an unsighted James.
From then on it was all Tottenham as Modric came increasingly into the game.
James saved well from David Bentley, Sean Davis headed off the line from Corluka, and Darren Bent put a free header wide, but Portsmouth held out to end a run of four straight league defeats.
In the day’s other game, West Ham United eased their relegation fears with a 3-1 victory over Fulham.
Mark Noble restored West Ham’s lead from the penalty spot after Paul Konchesky had cancelled out David Di Michele’s early opener.
Carlton Cole added a third to make the game safe with 14 minutes remaining.
The victory lifts West Ham to eighth, eight points off the drop zone.
Fulham, unbeaten in their previous nine, are three points behind but have two games in hand.
Forward Craig Bellamy was left out of the West Ham squad, apparently a reaction to the way he stormed out of training Friday.
The Wales international has been angered at West Ham’s refusal to sell him, despite interest from Manchester City and Tottenham.