Gareth Bale will undergo a scan on Monday to assess the ankle injury that forced him off the field after an hour of this hectic match. The players' Player of the Year departed on a stretcher in visible pain after Blackpool's Charlie Adam came down hard on his left ankle.
Bale left the stadium on crutches and is unlikely to take any further part in Tottenham's fading challenge for a Champions League spot. "He's done his ankle, it looks quite bad," said Harry Redknapp. "It's quite swollen but we're not sure whether he's done his ligaments."
The referee, Lee Probert, did not even award a free-kick against Adam for the tackle. However, television replays confirmed that the Scot caught Bale hard and late. "A few people told me it was nasty but I didn't have a good look at it," Redknapp said.
Kevin Keegan angered Ian Holloway, though, by intimating on television that Adam may have acted maliciously. "Everyone's entitled to their opinion but obviously he doesn't know the lad like I do," said the Blackpool manager before observing that Adam was the subject of a late transfer bid by Spurs on deadline day in January and has nothing but goodwill towards the club. "He nearly came to play for them, why would he want to hurt anyone?"
Adam's foul spared Tottenham's error-prone goalkeeper, Heurelho Gomes, from being again cast as the villain of the afternoon. The Brazilian seemed to have gone a small way towards atoning for the many costly mistakes that he has committed this season by performing a superb save from an Adam penalty in the 75th minute. However, he immediately negated that feat.
When Blackpool sent the ball back into the area less than a minute after his save, the keeper failed to cut out the cross and then barged into Gary Taylor-Fletcher while giddily attempting to retrieve the ball. "Everybody lost their cool when we saved the penalty and everyone got too excited," Redknapp said. DJ Campbell tried to persuade Adam to relinquish spot-kick duty but the Scot stepped up and sent Gomes the wrong way.
Holloway must at that point have fancied his side's chances of clinching their first victory since February and pulling further clear of the relegation zone. Spurs, despite enjoying long spells of possession, had not looked like scoring all afternoon, thwarted by a combination of errant finishing and fine defending. Their early shots were wayward efforts. Bale finally mustered the game's first shot on target in the 13th minute but Matthew Gilks pushed his 20-yard drive wide.
Blackpool used their few spells of possession to race forward. In the 24th minute they forged the best chances of the first half. William Gallas and then Michael Dawson repelled shots from inside the area with acrobatic blocks before Adam met a high spinning ball with a superb volley from 16 yards, bringing an equally excellent save from Gomes. Sergei Kornilenko rose to meet the resultant corner but headed wastefully over. Adam tested Gomes again in the 36th minute with a thunderous shot from 25 yards, but again the keeper beat it away.
Both managers replaced a striker at half-time but opportunities continued to come and go. Rafael van der Vaart shot weakly wide from 16 yards just after half-time and immediately afterwards Bale scooped badly over from a similar position.
The Welshman unleashed a much sweeter effort 10 minutes later, sending a swirling shot fractionally wide from 20 yards. That was his last notable contribution before his gruesome injury.
Blackpool immediately set about trying to rub salt into Spurs' wounds. Keith Southern presented Campbell with a glaring opening in the 73rd minute but Gomes saved well. Then came the barmy bout of play in which Spurs contrived to concede two penalties in a minute, Dawson giving the first one away with a needless handball before Gomes undid his save with his rashness.
In the penultimate minute Jermain Defoe, hitherto ineffective, received the ball 20 yards out and flashed a fierce low shot into the net. Alas, Redknapp admits the draw is unlikely to be enough to help Spurs overtake Manchester City in the race for the Champions League, saying: "It'll be very difficult now."
Holloway was more upbeat. "I feel like we're back on track," he said. On Sunday he will sit down to cheer for Manchester United against Chelsea, believing it could be in his side's best interests for United to win the title before they play Blackpool on the final day of the season. "They might be on a big party [when they play Blackpool] and maybe Fergie will even play himself and rest everyone for the Champions League final. When I spoke to him the other day he said he might do that. I said: 'You'll still beat us.'"
THE FANS' PLAYER RATINGS AND VERDICT
HUGH LINDLEY, Observer reader It was the same as usual for us against relegations teams. We had loads of possession until the edge of the areas and then we seemed to run out of ideas. A draw wasn't a fair result, we were the better the side on the day but we not as good as we could be. There's been too many draws recently and we have to blame the strikers.
The fan's player ratings Gomes 6; Kaboul 4, Gallas 6, Dawson 6, Rose 7 (Kranjcar 90 n/a); Van der Vaart 6, Sandro 8, Modric 8, Bale 7 (Crouch 64 5); Pavlyuchenko 3 (Lennon 46 7) Defoe 7
JOHN WOODMAN, AVFTT.co.uk From a neutral's perspective it was probably a great game to watch, but it doesn't do much for my blood pressure. I think we deserved to get the three points, but I reckon we would have taken a point before the game. We're back out of the bottom three and we've got to get a win against Bolton now and hope other results go our way.
The fan's player ratings Gilks 8; Crainey 9, Eardley 9 (Beattie 90), Evatt 10, Baptiste 8; Southern 8, Vaughan 9, Adam 9; Taylor-Fletcher 7 (Cathcart 77), Campbell 8, Kornilenko 7 (Puncheon 46, 7)
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