CARLING CUP RD TWO
WEDNESDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER, 2004
OLDHAM ATHLETIC 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 6 (1)
Kanoute, 37, 90
Referee:- Mr. R. Beevy
Oldham (4-4-2):- Mawson; Holden (Capt.), Haining, Arber, Griffin; Eyre (sub Barlow, 86), Appleby, Boshell, Eyres; Johnson, Killen (sub Jack, 63)
Subs not used:- Treacy (GK); Hall, Lomax
Spurs (4-4-2):- Keller; Mabizela, King, Gardner, Bunjevcevic; Davies (sub Ricketts, 71), Redknapp (Capt.) (sub Mendes, 60), Brown, Jackson; Kanoute, Keane (sub Defoe, 66)
Subs not used:- Robinson; Pamarot
What sort of point was Jacques Santini making last night? Was it to remind us of what we used to put up with from "Old" Spurs? All eleven of the starting line-up for Spurs were on the books before "the revolution", and for the first hour, despite the 37th minute lead through Kanoute's first goal since January, Spurs had looked quite unconvincing. Keller had failed to cleanly hold a ball till the 43rd minute by my reckoning. Mabizela sadly failed comprehensively to take advantage of a first team chance, although in fairness when he impressed with the reserves last week, "O.J" played in midfield. Last night, Mabizela suffered quite regularly at right back against Oldham's David Eyres. Understandably, the defence (without its three new members) was a little scary at times, against Chris Killen and Jermaine Johnson, although, as the game wore on, they became more and more assured, and of course did attain the club's fourth consecutive clean sheet to maintain their unbeaten record in ultimately emphatic style.
The midfield and strike force tried some clever things, but they did not come off as a rule in that first hour. Then, after 60 minutes, Santini replaced Jamie Redknapp with Pedro Mendes, who graced the field with style and panache. Was it a coincidence that Spurs then scored FIVE more goals? I don't think so. Oldham flagged once they went two goals down, and they were then steam-rollered into submission. Although Mendes was the only "new boy" to get a game, perhaps there was a not too subtle reminder of the benefit we are getting as a result of the Spurs re-construction programme.
Oldham have been the victims of massive Spurs victories more than once. In their last Premiership season in 93-94, they lost 5-0 at The Lane, and in all meetings, Spurs have now scored 5 or more goals against the "Latics" in 7 matches. This has happened twice in two seasons, and in 1933 Spurs won the league game 5-1, and then beat them in the FA Cup by a 6-0 margin. Legendary centre-forward George Hunt scored 6 of those goals!
Oldham's side last night featured one time Spurs junior Mark Arber at centre back, who will have enjoyed his first half display against Robbie Keane, but may have nightmares about the second half. Skipper Dean Holden previously played for Bolton, as did Jermaine Johnson, now 24, who has scored 4 goals for Oldham this season. Johnson was impressive and had great success shielding and passing long balls, particularly against Gardner, who probably got too close to the striker. John Eyre, wearing number 10 was the oldest man on the park by a country mile (40), and surely Spurs were not going to face too much of a test, were they?
Well, the blues gave us plenty to think about in the first half. Shortly after the start, Keller advanced just outside his area to challenge Johnson chasing a long ball, and the ball went through Keller's legs, but Gardner recovered the situation. Mark Arber might have scored a dream goal, but his header to David Eyres' free kick was wide with no power. Spurs threatened at times, and the first potent attack came after Robbie Keane switched the ball to Jackson, and then received Jacko's low ball in, hitting a shot held by substitute keeper Craig Mawson. Oldham's regular Australian keeper, Les Pogliacomi was not available.
After 14 minutes, Kanoute sent a ball across the area from the left, met by Keane, but hit too high. Now Spurs started to show their flair, with a good build from left to right. Davies' deep cross reached Jackson who hit a low shot in front of goal. Oldham had Spurs under pressure mid-way through the half, with a free kick and 2 corners. David Eyres' shot ended the attack, and went over the top. Spurs took the lead in the 37th minute, as Kanoute rose to meet Keane's corner at the near post and headed home to end that barren spell. Oldham immediately had a good chance to equalise with Eyres' beating Mabizela and crossing for Killen who had time to fire home, but fluffed his opportunity. Just before the break, Keane should have finished off a Kanoute header, but hit too high over the bar.
After the break, Spurs had another good passing session, ending with a Michael Brown curler just outside the post. A half-clearance from King was collected by Killen who hit a good drive, which worried Keller enough to dive, but the shot was wide. Then Johnson got round Mabizela, and managed to find room for a shot despite King's presence, failing to hit the target.
Kanoute demonstrated good skill inside the area to find a shooting chance, which went just over the bar, then Mendes entered the arena, with only one goal on the board. Oldham's defence failed dismally to deal with Jackson's ball into the box, and Robbie Keane was on hand to sweep up after the mess, with little difficulty. Oldham weren't down and out yet though, as Spurs had to defend as strongly as they have all season, to block three shots in quick succession. However, Spurs class was shown supremely with a quick counter-attack, and Jermain Defoe (who had replaced Robbie Keane) was left with only the keeper to beat. Defoe did not fail, and from here on it became a procession.
Rohan Ricketts replaced Davies for his first appearance of the season, and he managed some show-boating down the right flank to please the fans. Goran Bunjevcevic was also making his seasonal debut for the first team, and he started to get forward, being at the start of a good move featuring Defoe and Mendes, before Kanoute's effort was saved. Bunjee even capped his appearance with a goal from a corner, when the defence failed to clear and the left back had space to pick his spot from just outside the box. As injury time beckoned, Anthony Gardner was fed the ball by Bunjevcevic, and he scored possibly the best goal of the night with a great left foot shot from 25 yards.
Those who left early had already missed two goals, but there was one more in stoppage time, as Kanoute doubled his tally with a powerful shot to the roof of the net, after Ricketts' pass, to send the Spurs fans away with plenty of cheer, a song, a smile, and hope of maintaining their unbeaten record on Saturday against Manchester United. After all, as we sang last night - "We are unbeatable"!
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