Monday, 7 January 2013

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur v Reading
Barclays Premier League
White Hart Lane
Tuesday 1st January 2013

Journey Time to the ground: 2 hours 30 minutes.  We left home at 10:50am and managed to get a lift to Winnersh Triangle station.  We caught the train to Vauxhall and jumped on the tube towards Seven Sisters.  As we had almost two hours to kill, we decided to get off at Highbury & Islington to have a quick look at the Emirates before getting back on the tube to Seven Sisters.  We got some food at a Colombian cafe before making our way to the ground.

The ground is about a twenty to twenty five minute walk away from the tube station, straight down the High Road  The ground is signed posted as soon as you come out on Tottenham High Road. 
Ticket Price: £32

Programme Price: £3.50

This is the second time I have been to White Hart Lane, but I was less impressed than on my first visit.  The ground is a good size with the stands all of an equal height, and is totally enclosed.  We were in the South Stand Lower Tier, right in the corner where the away allocation is.  We were row 25 and the view was very good with no obstruction.  I felt close to the action even being 25 rows back.  There is a small railing segregating the home and away fans, and a line of stewards, but the railing is so small that anybody could easily jump over it.  The South Stand has two tiers.

To the left of the South Stand is the West Stand, which is the main stand.  It has two tiers with a row of executive boxes running across the middle of the stand.  I had never noticed before, but this stand is slightly curved to allow a higher capacity than if the stand was straight.  To the right of the South Stand is the East Stand.  This is again a two tiered stand, but is slightly older, with a couple of supporting pillars.  Opposite the South Stand is the North Stand, which is identical to the South Stand, again with two tiers.  There is a television screen built into the roof of the North Stand.

The game got off to the perfect start with Reading taking the lead after four minutes.  Pavel Pogrebnyak went down quite easily to win a free kick on the edge of the area.  The free kick was taken by Ian Harte, who curled his shot up and over the wall, but a fraction too high, hitting the bar.  Pogrebnyak reacted fastest to nod the ball passed Hugo Lloris in the Tottenham goal.  I think that everyone in the away end was well aware that we had scored too early, and Tottenham equalised five minutes later, with Michael Dawson heading in a Gylfi Sigurdsson corner at the near post.  The rest of the half saw Reading repel wave after wave of Spurs attacks, with the scoreline somehow remaining 1-1. 
It didn't take long in the second half for Spurs to gain the lead.  On 51 minutes, Aaron Lennon's floated cross was met at the back post by Emmanuel Adebayor who powered his header passed Adam Federici.  Spurs continued to attack, but Reading had a couple of good chances to equalise with Pogrebnyak and Jimmy Kebe going close before Dawson cleared an Alex Pearce header off the line.  Almost straight after, Spurs extended their lead, with a deflected Clint Dempsey shot looping over Federici with just over ten minutes to go.  The game ended 3-1, but how Spurs didn't score more, I don't know.

Attendance: 36,180 with 1,679 Reading fans.

Atmosphere:  The atmosphere was very quiet.  I don't think Reading's early goal helped, as this seemed to subdue the Spurs fans.  It probably didn't help that it was New Year's Day either!  The away end sang pretty much the whole way through, but there was little in the way of chants coming from anywhere else in the ground. 

Journey Time home: 2 hours 45 minutes.  We decided to stop off in Oxford Street to have a look in the shops and get some food.  We caught the tube from Seven Sisters to Oxford Circus and spent a few hours in Central London.  It took around 45 minutes to get to Central London from the ground.  After spending a few hours on Oxford Street and around Piccadilly Circus, we caught the tube from Leicester Square to Waterloo at around 8pm then got the train to Winnersh Triangle.  We got a lift from Winnersh Traingle and got home at about 10pm.

This turned into quite an easy and enjoyable day.  White Hart Lane is relatively easy to get to, and travelling back through Central London was fun.  Although I was less impressed by the ground than I was on my previous visit, I still think that White Hart Lane is my favourite London away ground, although as I am yet to visit the Emirates, this could change.