Tottenham 0 Hull City 0: Brown lavishes praise on hero Myhill
IF the incredulous look on Robbie Keane's face did not tell the story of an absorbing 90 minutes, his plaintive cry of 'not again!' that filled the air certainly did.
Hull City's Boaz Myhill was behind the Tottenham Hotspur captain's frustration after capping a truly amazing display with another world-class save to keep out Peter Crouch's header.
The stoppage time save was the eighth time the Tigers goalkeeper had kept out a goalbound effort from the home side and Keane, who had been substituted just after the hour mark, could not believe it had happened again.
So sure had the Republic of Ireland international been that Crouch's header was destined for the net that he had already jumped to his feet from the bench in anticipation of celebrating a dramatic winner.
Instead, as the ball bounced to safety after being clawed away by Myhill, all Keane could do was turn to his team-mates and curse Spurs' misfortune of having come up against one of the best goalkeeping displays of this or any other season.
Myhill was, quite simply, outstanding and in such unbeatable form that Spurs could have played until midnight on Saturday and still not have scored.
Time after time, he kept the Champions League hopefuls at bay with one double save from Vedran Corluka and Keane during the first half leading a grateful Phil Brown to later draw parallels with how Jim Montgomery famously denied Leeds United's Peter Lorimer during the 1973 FA Cup final.
Praise indeed, though the player himself was quick to acknowledge the role of his team-mates in Hull collecting what was only their third point of the season away from the KC Stadium.
He said: "The boys played well and I think that was one of our more resolute defensive performances.
"The manager will have been pleased because everyone worked really hard and we got our just rewards.
"We believe in ourselves and we came here to try and frustrate Tottenham. The manager wants us to have a clean sheet mentality and we had that against Spurs.
"We proved what we can do as a team. We have set down a marker for ourselves. And while I am sure we won't always reach that mark, if we are close then we will be okay."
Myhill was beaten five times by the Spurs attack earlier in the season so the clean sheet was redemption not only for the Tigers but for their goalkeeper as well.
He added: "The thing I remember most about that night in August when we lost 5-1 is that I didn't save anything. I couldn't get near any of the goals.
"They would have scored five goals against anyone on that form. They were awesome and the strikers were on song so to keep them out this time was great.
"It was my best performance and probably the one I have enjoyed the most, though I was still glad when it was finally over. It was a big relief to hear the final whistle and I suppose it was just my day."
Myhill's assessment that it was his day was difficult to argue with, especially as after speaking to the media after the game, he walked back down the tunnel at White Hart Lane and found a 10 note that had been dropped on the floor.
The suspicion was it had come from a Spurs member of staff, and if that was the case then it was the second time the Hull goalkeeper had effectively picked the pockets of the London club.
His heroics began seven minutes before half-time with the double save that so impressed Brown. The initial block to keep out a drilled effort from Corluka was impressive enough, but to then regain his feet and race across the six-yard box to get two hands to a stinging drive from Keane was something else.
Jermain Defoe was then left frustrated on the stroke of half-time by Myhill, who continued in a similar stunning vein after the break.
The best of those second-half saves came nine minutes after the restart when he again kept out two efforts in quick succession, Keane again the fall guy with his follow-up to Luka Modric's blocked shot striking Myhill in the face and bouncing to safety. It was a lucky break, though one both the goalkeeper and his hard-working Hull team-mates had earned.
City could, in fact, have claimed all three points had Nicky Barmby taken a fantastic opportunity on 57 minutes after being played through by Stephen Hunt.
The Tigers veteran had just Heurelho Gomes to beat but could only find the side-netting after snatching at the chance.
It was a wasted opportunity, though thanks to the heroics of Myhill at the other end, it did not prove too costly in the end.
Hero: Boaz Myhill
The City goalkeeper made eight stunning saves to frustrate Spurs with the reflex effort that kept out Robbie Keane in the first half being the pick of the lot.
Villain: Tom Huddlestone
Lucky to escape with a yellow card after hacking at Stephen Hunt midway through the second half and then kicking the grounded City winger.
54th-minute: After keeping out a drive from Luka Modric, Boaz Myhill gets to his feet and blocks Robbie Keane's follow-up with his face. It was a stroke of good luck, but one the goalkeeper had earned.
Martin Atkinson: Acted swiftly to what Spurs believed were time-wasting tactics by booking Nicky Barmby just a minute after warning captain Anthony Gardner during an efficient display. On the whole, had a good game.
Hull fully deserved to leave north London with a point after a display packed full of endeavour and character. Myhill will get the headlines but this was a true team performance.
Quote of the day
Not with my Welsh heritage, mate.
– Boaz Myhill's response to a post-match question from a London-based reporter as to whether the Welsh international was expecting a phone call from Fabio Capello after his heroic display.
Manchester United v Hull City, Saturday, Premier League.
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