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Spurs v Burnley, 06.01.09
Carling Cup Semi-Final, 1st Leg


Spurs scorers:-
Dawson, 47
O’Hara, 52
Pavlyuchenko, 65
Duff (own goal), 67

Burnley scorer:-
Paterson, 15

Attendance; - 31,377

Referee: - Martin Atkinson

Spurs (4-4-2):- Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate (Capt.), Bale; Bentley (sub O’Hara, 46), Modric, Zokora, Lennon; Campbell, Pavlyuchenko

Subs not used: - Alnwick; Gunter, Rocha; Boateng, Taarabt, Giovanni

No Bookings

Burnley (4-1-4-1):- Jensen; Alexander (Capt.), Carlisle, Duff, Jordan; Gudjonsson (sub K. McDonald, 29); Eagles, Elliott, McCann, Blake (sub Rodriguez, 74); Paterson (sub Akinbiyi, 85)

Subs not used: - Penny; Kalvenes; Mahon, A. MacDonald

Booked: - Duff (foul on Pavlyuchenko)

Super Sub O’Hara inspires convincing win

It looks like Spurs ARE on their way to Wembley – yet again! Burnley’s army of nearly 4,000 were in dreamland at half-time. Having conquered Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal on their way to this semi-final, the “Clarets” were deservedly winning at half-time thanks to Chris Eagles’ cross and top-scorer Paterson’s conversion. Burnley might have had a two goal lead too, had Robbie Blake’s glancing header gone inside and not outside Gomes’ post soon after that goal.

Spurs played with insufficient conviction in the first half, and David Bentley, playing on the left, offered little support to Gareth Bale, which led to Eagles’ first half impact. Harry Redknapp worked his magic at the interval, gave the proverbial kick up the backside and replaced Bentley with Jamie O’Hara, who scored one and had a hand in all four goals scored by Spurs.

The night had started so well, despite the sub-zero temperatures, with the re-introduction of Jermain Defoe, welcomed rapturously. Defoe will be eligible for the second leg if required, but Burnley have a three goal mountain to overcome now.

On the basis of their first half domination of Spurs, you’d have to fancy Owen Coyle’s side to battle through to the Premier League, but they have a hard enough job staying in the play off zone, let alone winning promotion. With former Leicester midfielder Joey Gudjonsson at the back of the midfield, Eagles, McCann, Elliott and Robbie Blake had licence to charge the Spurs defenders, and offer Paterson scoring opportunities. Lennon got forward regularly, but his delivery was sub-standard, and Danish goalkeeper Jensen was rarely worried in the first half. This was a game where Luka Modric did struggle a little in the four man midfield, with referee Martin Atkinson allowing some strong Burnley challenges to go un-punished. Zokora was inconsistent and Spurs were just not ticking.

It was an early Zokora mistake in the middle that allowed Burnley to break, and Eagles to try a shot that passed just wide. On the other hand, Didier made a good interception inside the Burnley half, and started a move which ended with Pavlyuchenko providing Bentley with an opportunity. Bentley hit a low drive held by Jensen. Bentley was predictably subject to ritual abuse from Burnley for his previous affiliation with their enemies “Bastard Rovers”. (Blackburn refer to Burnley as “Dingles”)

Elliott had a shot from the right of the area, having come in from the right. His shot was just outside the near post. Then Eagles left Bale and Bentley standing, before hitting a low cross that Paterson could not miss from close range, silencing the Spurs crowd. After 23 minutes, Gareth Bale came too far inside to defend a ball, and was left stranded again by a good pass over him to Eagles, who was in space. Eagles crossed and Blake hit a good glancing header that went just outside the back post. On another occasion, Bentley offered no support to Bale (who was still supporting the attack), and it had been left to Modric to cover his absence at the back.

Michael Dawson became more and more inspirational, and carried the ball forward and passed to Campbell, whose cross was headed by Pavlyuchenko, but deflected for a corner, from which Spurs came close in a goalmouth scramble. After a little Spurs pressure, Lennon crossed but Bentley hit a tame header. Burnley lost Gudjonsson to injury, but his replacement Kevin McDonald has also been a stalwart for Burnley this season.

Jamie O’Hara was called away from his half-time warm-up, and started the second half, with Lennon allowed to switch to the right. Jamie started on the left. Suddenly, Spurs were getting into the Burnley half in number, where there had been no commitment in the first period. The early pressure was rewarded with a corner, swung in by O’Hara from which Dawson powered a header into Jensen’s top right corner. O’Hara was soon in action again, after good work by Pavlyuchenko on the right, Jamie had a shot from beyond the back post, which was deflected for a corner. Three minutes later O’Hara had scored his third goal of the season. Modric started the move from the middle with a battle to win the ball, and feed to Pavlyuchenko on the right channel. Pavlyuchenko hit a low cross and O’Hara volleyed a shot that passed under Jensen, who should have saved but saw the ball hit the net. From this stage on Jensen looked a little shaken, and Spurs looked and played like winners.

There came a point where Jamie reverted to a role behind Modric. Jamie delivered the ball from dead ball situations with consistency, and hit a free kick from the right hand side which Pavlyuchenko headed to the left of Jensen, who looked uncertain, but did hold the ball. Blake had a good effort after a Burnley free kick, hitting a curling right footer that was only just outside Gomes’ post, with the keeper not too sure of his ground.

Spurs played the ball well out of defence after 61 minutes, and Pavlyuchenko and Campbell seemed to have developed a good understanding. Campbell took responsibility to try at goal, but his shot was wide to the left of the keeper. Burnley then claimed a short period of pressure, but Spurs increased their lead in the 65th minute. O’Hara hit a lovely ball from deep in the middle to Bale on the left. Gareth passed low inside to Pavlyuchenko who left his defender standing, got goal-side and hit a confident left footed shot beyond Jensen in front of the exuberant Paxton Road crowd. Two minutes later, it was 4-1, as O’Hara swung in another free kick from the right, and Michael Duff got the unfortunate touch that counted as an own goal, making it 4-1 to Spurs. O’Hara took the plaudits, quite justifiably.

From this point on, Spurs decided to secure their three goal lead without over-committing, and with little threat from the opposition. Burnley will need an early goal at Turf Moor, bit it would be utterly irresponsible of Spurs to lose their grip on another Wembley appearance. Now we look forward to Jermain’s second debut at Wigan. He does always score on a debut, you know!

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