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Match Reports
Spurs v Southend, 27.01.07


Spurs scorers:-
Keane, 12
Jenas, 50
Mido, 76

Southend scorer:-
Eastwood (pen), 69

Attendance: - 33,406

Referee: - Rob Styles

Spurs (4-4-2):- Cerny; Stalteri, Dawson, Rocha, Lee; Ghaly (sub Malbranque, 73), Jenas, Zokora, Lennon; Keane (Capt.) (sub Defoe, 79), Mido (sub Huddlestone, 85) NB: - Captain’s armband was given to Jermaine Jenas Subs not used: - Alnwick; Gardner

Booked: - Ghaly, Keane

Southend (4-4-2):- Flahavan; Hunt, Clarke, Barrett, Hammell; Campbell-Ryce, Maher (Capt.), McCormack (sub Guttridge, 89), Gower (sub Hooper, 82); Eastwood, Bradbury (sub Harrold, 67)

Subs not used: - Welch; Sodje

Booked: - Barrett

After a Keane start, followed by a touch of Jenas, and finally a Mido “shuffle” (there’s an idea for a chant!), Spurs ultimately coasted past Southend into the fifth round of the FA Cup. The star of the show however, was Aaron Lennon, who started on the left to accommodate Hossam Ghaly, but who found room to manoeuvre everywhere, causing havoc to the Southend defence, and directly creating two of Spurs goals. Lennon sailed on again!

Lennon had been one of the Spurs absentees for the Carling Cup game against this opposition in December, and perhaps his presence was the main reason that Spurs got off to such a good start, and whilst they should have had the “Shrimpers” three or even four down at half-time, Lennon’s taunting of the Southend defence led to Spurs second-half dominance. There was a moment though, after Rob Styles awarded a generous penalty, converted by Eastwood, when Spurs might have worried, but the two goal cushion was soon restored, and the path was clear to the last 16 of Spurs third cup competition interest.

With Wednesday’s second leg against Arsenal in mind, Martin Jol rested Robinson, Chimbonda, Ekotto, Huddlestone and Defoe, and of course Dimitar Berbatov is one of those on the injured list, that we hope to see at The Emirates. Spurs were able to introduce new signing Ricardo Rocha, and welcome back Jermaine Jenas, who got a rousing cheer from the Spurs crowd when announced. As those who frequent message boards know, Jenas is often the subject of criticism from his own fans, and his enforced absence seems to have made many realise how much he was missed. Jenas looked very fit; played the 90 minutes, and will also be in contention for Wednesday’s game. Apart from getting on the score sheet, he was as usual treading a busy path up and down the full length of the pitch, and on the whole intercepting and passing well.

Rocha will face sterner tests than that of today, but there was some physical stuff for him to prepare for the English game, and he looked comfortable for 99% of the time.

Whilst the Spurs side was considerably different from that which struggled to beat Southend before Christmas, the opposition today was much the same as in that first game, and yet they formed nothing like the threat they had in December. This time they were captained by another ex-Spur, Kevin Maher, and this time right winger Campbell-Ryce was kept pretty quiet by Young-Pyo Lee. When the winger did get past lee, Rocha was alert and swept up the danger.

Southend’s keeper was kept busy throughout, and was ready when Mido hit a ball over the defence for Robbie Keane. Mido hit a 6th minute header over the bar from Jenas’s free kick taken on the left side, and after 10 minutes, when the ball broke in the middle for Jenas, his threaded ball for Keane was intercepted. Two minutes later, Spurs had the lead, in front of the mass of Southend supporters, when Zokora broke from his half, and carried the ball forward, passed to Keane on the right channel. Keane’s shot was deflected past Flahavan by his left back, Hammell.

After 15 minutes, Eastwood did get the better of Rocha on the Spurs left flank, and crossed deep for Gower, whose shot was easily held by Radek Cerny, making only his third start of the season. One of Cerny’s gifts is his distribution, and he tries to roll the ball to his defence if possible for certain possession. Robbie Keane could, or even should have had a hat-trick in the first half alone. Firstly, after 16 minutes, Lennon sent Ghaly to the bye-line, and the ball was cut back to Robbie, who fired wide. Late in that half, Keane received a ball over the top from Ghaly, but fired miles over the target.

Rocha’s best piece of work in the first half was to win the ball off Campbell-Ryce, as he entered the area, and send away Didier Zokora with the clearance. Zokora again carried the ball for a distance, then fed the ball to Ghaly on the right, His cross was flicked goalward by Keane, but saved in a flash by Flahavan, tipped onto the bar and over.

Spurs increased their lead soon after the break, after great work by Lennon, picking up the ball deep on the left, beating a defender or two, then crossing deep, where Jenas had made ground, stuck out a foot and got the touch that carried the ball past the keeper’s left hand. Jenas even got cheered when he came to take corners after that!

Cerny was called upon to make a great save from Maher, who had been left too much room on the right of Spurs area. Cerny pushed Maher’s shot over the bar for a corner. It was time for the Spurs number eight (Jenas) to try his hand again. Space opened before him as he ran down the middle, and his shot was tipped over by the Southend guardian. Lennon and Zokora nearly provided Keane with yet another chance, and then referee Styles gave Southend an opening, when he awarded handball against Ghaly, fielding a free kick on the left side of the Spurs area. Skipper Keane vehemently argued the Spurs cause to no avail. I thought he got booked at that point, but it came later when he was frustrated with the linesman.

Rob Styles has not refereed a Spurs home game since he sent off Mido at the start of last season, and after this award, he will not be welcomed back too soon, either. Eastwood was happy to convert to get on the score-sheet for the first time since early December. Spurs might have responded immediately, as Robbie Keane looked as if he was through, and being impeded as he fired over the bar. This was when he got booked, as no foul was awarded in his favour.

Malbranque replaced Ghaly, who was treading dangerously, having been booked in the first half. Lennon switched to the right, and within minutes, had provided the cross for Mido, who came to the near post and with his right foot, swept the ball high into the net. For the rest of the game Lennon toyed with the Southend defence. Barrett got a booking for a cynical body-check, and the visitors were on the back foot, except in added time, when Cerny and Dawson had a mix up over trying to clear the ball, which ended with shot by Hooper and a good save by Cerny.

We can look forward to the fifth round draw on Monday lunch-time, but more importantly, it looks as if Martin Jol has more options open to him for the Arsenal game on Wednesday night.

· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
· Read the preview for this game.

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