Stoke end losing streak as Spurs held in Premier League

LONDON (AFP) – Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp lashed out at World Cup final referee Howard Webb after Spurs dropped precious Premier League points in a 1-1 draw with Sunderland on Tursday.

Redknapp was left fuming after Webb failed to award Spurs a penalty when David Bentley was brought down by a challenge from Boudewijn Zenden, booking Bentley instead for diving.

Sunderland's Ghanaian player Asamoah Gyan (C) shoots and scores a goal past Tottenham Hotspurs' Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes (L) during their Premier League match at White Hart Lane in London. AFP

And the Spurs boss also condemned Webb for only giving a yellow card to Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole, who triggered a second half melee after clattering into Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric.

Speaking about the penalty incident, Redknapp commented: "It was a penalty, a blatant penalty, wasn't it? I just watched the replay of it.

"He's not got anything against Tottenham or anybody else but it's how he saw it. I've never been one for criticising referees; it's never been my game.

"But it was a blatant penalty tonight. If you get the penalty, it could make a big difference."

Redknapp was also incensed by Webb's handling of Cattermole's challenge on Modric, which had sent the diminutive Croatian star crumpling to the turf.

"I don't know what (Cattermole) does other weeks; I'm only interested in that tackle today and it was a bad tackle in my opinion," Redknapp said.

"Could have broken his leg easily. He's (Modric) got some bad marks on his leg but he was lucky he didn't break his leg.

"He (Webb) has to understand the difference between going over the top of the ball and playing the ball."

Earlier, Redknapp had watched in frustration after a defensive blunder involving William Gallas and Younes Kaboul allowed Sunderland's Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan to score and cancel out Rafael Van der Vaart's opener.

Boos rang out amongst frustrated Spurs supporters as the match finished deadlocked -- another factor that left Redknapp seething.

"What have they got to moan about? We couldn't have done any more tonight; we couldn't have tried any harder," Redknapp said.

The result left Spurs in sixth place in the standings after 12 games, nine points behind league leaders Chelsea and four points adrift of Manchester City, who occupy the fourth Champions League qualifying spot.

Sunderland are just behind Spurs in seventh, level on points and goal difference but trailing by virtue of fewer goals scored.

In Tuesday's other game, Stoke ended their four-match losing streak in an entertaining 3-2 victory over Birmingham at the Britannia Stadium.

Stoke looked to have squandered a certain three points after Birmingham fought back from 2-0 down in the second half.

But a winner five minutes from time by Dean Whitehead sealed maximum points for the Potters, who moved up to 15th place. The loss left Birmingham hovering just above the relegation zone in 17th.

Stoke had taken the lead on the stroke of half-time, skipper Robert Huth lashing in from close range after a Ricardo Fuller shot had cannoned off two Birmingham defenders.

The Potters looked to be cruising to victory midway through the second half when Fuller curled in a superb shot from distance to make it 2-0.

But Fuller's strike was the signal for a spirited Birmingham fightback. Kevin Fahey pulled one back for the Blues, slamming in from 18 yards and two minutes later Birmingham were level.

An exquisite Sebastian Larsson cross to the far post was met by Cameron Jerome, rising high to glance in past Asmir Begovic.

Yet just when Birmingham had clawed their way back into the game, Whitehead struck to ease the pressure on Stoke boss Tony Pulis.

"Our main priority was to get the three points and we got that in the end," Whitehead told Sky Sports. "They put us under a lot of pressure and pushed us back but it was nice to get the win in the end."

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