Tottenham Hotspur were far from spectacular at Selhurst Park on Sunday, but they were able to hold on for a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. Dominant possession and shot numbers didn't help Spurs to a comfortable win, as they were made to sweat out the result until the very end.
The first half was rather uneventful, with Palace packing 10 behind the ball and playing a cynical game, which isn't exactly characteristic of Ian Holloway's teams. They were aided in their gameplan by Mark Clattenburg, who, while not demonstrating any kind of bias, let numerous fouls go on both ends in calling a consistently loose game.
Tottenham's best chance of the first half came in the 13th minute on a long-range effort by Moussa Dembele, who hit the top of the crossbar with a stinging shot. Otherwise, Palace looked comfortable in defense.
Spurs started the second half with a bit more purpose and only took four minutes to find what would ultimately be the winning goal, though they needed a bit of luck to get it. Palace left back Dean Moxey stuck up his hand and blocked a cross by Kyle Walker, leading Clattenburg to point to the spot. Roberto Soldado buried the penalty, notching a debut goal.
Palace stuck with their starting personnel initially, but Holloway saw the need for a change in the 65th minute. He made a dramatic adjustment, bringing on three attacking substitutes. Jon Williams, Kevin Phillips and Marouane Chamakh all entered, and from then until the end, Palace looked dangerous.
Tottenham had plenty of opportunities to put the game away, but never managed to do so and let Palace stick around until the very end. Gylfi Sigurdsson had a great chance in the 69th minute, set up by Soldado, but missed with the entire goal at his mercy. He had another shot blocked in the 87th minute and was joined by substitute Jermain Defoe in missing a chance a minute later.
Hugo Lloris was forced into a big save on Kagisho Dikagcoi in the 89th minute as part of a dangerous and dramatic set piece sequence at the very end of the game. It was a less than impressive way to close the match for Spurs, but all wins count the same.