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Match Reports
Bolton v Spurs, 27.10.04


aet - score after 90 mins 2-2

Bolton scorers:-
King (o.g.), 27
Okocha (pen), 75
Ferdinand, 105

Spurs scorers:-
Defoe, 44, 103
Bunjevcevic, 84
Brown, 95

Attendance:- 18,037

Referee:- Mike Dean

Bolton (4-1-2-2-1):- Poole; Hunt, Ben Haim, Cesar, Gardner; Hierro (sub Kaku, 92); Okocha (Capt.), Nolan (sub Stelios, 70); Diouf, Pedersen; Davies (sub Ferdinand, 82)

Subs not used:- Jaaskelainen; Barness

Booked:- Nolan; Cesar; Hunt

Spurs (4-4-2):- Keller; Pamarot, Naybet, King (Capt.), Bunjevcevic; Davies (sub Brown 77), Davis, (sub Carrick, 91), Mendes, Ziegler; Kanoute (sub Keane, 62), Defoe

Subs not used:- Fulop; Jackson

In my preview for this game, I called for the team to "Do it for Bill!", and ultimately they did with a scoreline that featured several times in Bill Nicholson's days as Spurs manager between 1958 and 1974, mostly in Spurs' favour too. For so long in the first half, it looked like Bolton were going to continue their run in this competition, as Spurs consistently back-peddled in the middle, despite the change in personnel, with Sean Davis making a start in place of the now suspended Jamie Redknapp, and Reto Ziegler taking up the left side midfield role. Ziegler and the team were to get stronger and more competitive as the game wore on. The young Swiss International won many plaudits and will be holding the left wing position for the forseeable future, surely!

Both sides made 5 changes to Saturday's starting line-up, and in Bolton's case an extra change was required due to the collapse during the warm-up of Khalilou Fadiga, who apparently fainted and has a history of heart trouble, bringing back sad memories of the late Mark-Vivien Foe.

Redknapp will serve a further two match suspension following the FA Decision today in relation to his tackle on Everton's Cahill, so he will miss Fulham on Saturday, and no doubt Sean Davis will be bristling to take part in that one! Kasey Keller seems to be in Santini's "Carling Cup Team", and whilst he was a hero in those dying minutes of extra time, his uncertain touch in the box, and general lack of command only served to increase the tension for the large contingent of Spurs fans, who put the apathetic home support to shame. (Do not believe what Sky's Jeff Stelling told you last night. Spurs filled the upper and lower tiers of the away stand, with an allocation that must have been at least twice the usual away support.)

Gardner was nowhere to be seen, and Bunjevcevic also made a repeat Carling Cup appearance. Les Ferdinand could not get a start, and veteran Spaniard Fernando Hierro took on that Ivan Campo role with Gary Speed being rested. Bolton also played a second-choice centre back pairing. Sean Davis had an early shot just over the bar for Spurs, but it was a long time before they threatened Poole's goal again, as the home side dominated the early stages. Keller got down well to a Kevin Davies shot, and after 13 minutes Diouf's cross from the right passed both King and Naybet to give Pedersen a great close range chance, which was pulled wide. Twice during the first half, Pedersen raced into the area and late shoulder charges by Ledley King prevented an effective goal chance.

Pamarot had been having a hard time against Pedersen when he often made runs down the left flank. Bolton, in their all-white strip resembled Real Madrid in their appearance, and it has to be said their style of football is more and more continental, with a formation that demands great athleticism, and seems to ensure that they have more players around the ball wherever it is on the park.

The home side took the lead in the 27th minute, when Naybet was adjudged to have fouled the marauding Pedersen. Hierro took the free kick from near the left touch-line. Pedersen claimed a headed touch, but it was a back-header by Ledley King that beat Keller.

On the whole, Simon Davies seemed to be out of sorts, rarely, if ever, managing to beat his man on the outside. When he bottled out of a challenge near the half way line, Bolton attacked and Hierro's 35 yard shot was deflected goalward by Naybet into Keller's arms. At last after 38 minutes, Spurs broke out and Davies crossed for a Kanoute header which Poole saved. Pamarot upset the away fans, when he gave up on a ball, watching it go out of play for a throw, when he could surely have chased it and played up field. A Bolton throw led to Diouf getting behind the defence, flicking to Keller's right. Kasey did well to stretch out his right hand to save.

With a minute to go before the interval, Spurs got a goal out of nothing, as Mendes - out towards the right- put in a low ball, which Defoe seized upon in one movement, turning and shooting with his left foot just inside the keeper's left post. It was a great finish!

There was early pressure in the second half for Spurs, with a series of corners, but Bolton had the best early chance with a Pedersen shot that Keller held at the second attempt. Kanoute was replaced by Robbie Keane, and despite the lack of height this was one of those occasions when the twin strike force buzzed. There were times when either was through with a chance and they could have passed to the other, but the inter-play was there to encourage us for the future.

Spurs had a great escape with 18 minutes of normal time left, when Diouf left Bunjee behind, crossed and Pedersen somehow scooped the ball way over from close range. It was a miss of Acimovic proportions! Spurs were not let off for long though, as Bunjee was then adjudged to have pulled down Pedersen, who stayed down till the penalty was awarded. Okocha stepped up and hit the ball to Keller's right corner, ad it looked like Spurs were slipping out of the competition.

Back they came though, in dramatic style, as Bunjee redeemed himself with a great finish from 8 yards when Ledley King flicked on Keane's 84th minute corner. Keane had a great chance to snatch victory in normal time, as he got behind the defence, but his effort was turned away for a corner.

Michael Carrick replaced Davis at the start of extra time, and within five minutes, he had carved out a lead for Spurs taking the free kick from near the half way line where Ziegler had been fouled. Michael Brown ghosted in at the back post and headed home for just his second goal for the first team. Soon after that Ziegler hit a spectacular dipping shot from 30 yards that was only just over the bar. It was now hell for leather stuff, and Keller was flapping at times, nearly failing to reach a Pamarot back header that would otherwise have been going in for another own goal.Now there was considerable pressure from the home side, and Keller did well to get down and save a powerful drive from right back Hunt.

Just before the mid-way point of extra time, Hunt was the villain for Bolton, as he made a bad pass back that Keane flicked on for Defoe, who hit a confident goal to the right of the keeper. Ex-Spur Les Ferdinand ensured a nervous end to the game with a header from Hunt's cross at the back post. To his credit, Les did not celebrate this goal against his own favourite team, other than to shake Hunt's hand. Ferdinand has now scored three times against us for three different teams since he left nearly two years ago.

In that last fifteen minutes, Okocha had a shot blocked from a corner, then Keller made a great double save, palming Haim's cross to Ferdinand, and then making a great reaction save from Les's header. Carrick made a great disguised pass to Robbie Keane when he could have chosen Defoe who was also ahead of him. Keane missed the first of two great one-on-one chances, firing weakly to the keeper. Ziegler then set him up, but again Robbie's shot was saved. Defoe also should have had a hat-trick goal, but Poole saved the day again, before Keller had to make some last minute heroics to keep a desperate Bolton at bay.

The Spurs north-west Carling Cup tour continues in just two weeks' time, when we have a chance for revenge against Burnley, who knocked us out of the competition two years ago. Burnley were of course great opponents of Spurs in the sixties, and one of their sites paid a handsome tribute to our late President.

I personally look forward to a chance to meet some of the generous Burnley fans on Tuesday November 9th.

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