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Doncaster Rovers v Spurs
Carling Cup Rd 2 - 26.08.09


Doncaster scorer:-
Woods (pen), 61

Spurs scorers:-
Huddlestone, 9
O'Hara, 11
Crouch, 37
Bentley, 52
Pavlyuchenko, 69

Attendance: - 12,923

Referee: - Mr. R. Booth

Doncaster (4-4-2):- Smith; Chambers, Lockwood (sub Webster, 46), Hird, Roberts; Spicer, Oster (sub Fortune, 58), Stock (Capt.) (sub Fairhurst, 58), Woods; Hayter, Guy

Subs not used: - Sullivan; Wilson, Shiels; Heffernan

No bookings

Spurs (4-4-2):- Cudicini (sub Button, 82); Naughton, Corluka (Capt.), Bassong (sub Boateng, 59), Hutton; Bentley, Huddlestone (sub Rose, 72), O'Hara, Giovani; Pavlyuchenko, Crouch

Subs not used: - Palacios, Lennon; Defoe

No bookings

Spurs go nap at Donny!

After almost being caught napping in the early stages by a keen and speedy home side, when Cudicini had to make three vital saves, Spurs forged their way to a convincing margin of victory with goals being scored with almost every chance they created. This too with a side which featured 7 faces that had not started at West Ham. Harry Redknapp gave opportunities to players who had had little competitive football so far. The opportunity was grabbed by the impressive Giovani Dos Santos, who had such an impressive summer with Mexico in the Gold Cup, and who last appeared for Tottenham in February against UEFA Cup winners Shakhtar Donetsk.

Other players had a less convincing time, particularly at the back, where Spurs were being pulled left and right by the movement of Hayter and Guy, who were prompted in particular by John Oster. Vedran Corluka was given the honour of skippering the team, but once again looked suspect as a centre-back. Kyle Naughton was given a debut at right back, which led to Alan Hutton playing in an unfamiliar left back role. Bassong partnered Corluka, but he too had lapses in those early stages.

The bottom line was that Spurs looked impressive going forward, but missed the grit in the middle of Wilson Palacios, who with Lennon and Defoe was one of three un-used substitutes. Ledley King, Luka Modric and Robbie Keane were rested completely for Saturday's Premier League game against Birmingham.

Whilst he got a big cheer from the Spurs fans when his name was announced, former Spur Neil Sullivan was on the bench, and must have fancied his chances of saving one or two of the Spurs efforts, although his replacement Ben Smith was not culpable as such.

The Keepmoat Stadium is a two-year old "template" stadium, so similar to any new stadium around the country. It has a single tier, but no doubt could be built upon if ever Doncaster made the top tier of football. The evidence though is that such an event is a long way off, and after the first fifteen minutes, Rovers rarely threatened the Spurs goal effectively. There was a healthy crowd of nearly 13,000 in a stadium where the capacity is some 15,000.

Cudicini's first reflex save came after only one minute, when the ball was played quickly through the Spurs midfield to Guy on the left flank. He got a quick ball in, and Hayter fired a shot just to Cudicini's left. Carlo made a great reflex save with an out-stretched left arm, but I suppose you could say that the ball was at a good saving height. Nonetheless it is just as well that rookie keeper David Button was not given a baptism for the whole game, as Spurs might have gone behind. Cudicini had to save again after 5 minutes from a close range effort by Oster after the ball was sent in by Chambers on the right.

After those early scares, Spurs took the lead with almost their first attack. Crouch should probably be given credit for putting pressure on Lockwood, whose error led to the ball reaching Huddlestone lurking just outside the area on the right side of the box. Huddlestone unleashed a right foot shot that beat the keeper to his right. Two minutes later after an exciting run by Giovani the ball reached Bentley on the right channel, who passed inside to Jamie O'Hara. Jamie scored with a curling right foot shot - not even his strongest side. The shot went above the keeper's out-stretched arms, and suddenly Spurs were looking comfortable.

Cudicini had another save to make after Huddlestone failed to properly clear a Doncaster ball in from the wing. The ball fell at Oster's feet, and Cudicini saved the shot on target. Hayter had a right foot shot across the goalmouth, after Hutton and Corluka were not tight enough on the striker. Donny were not giving up yet! Giovani had another exciting run down the left, cutting in to win a corner, after which he had a pop at goal, which Smith saved.

Brian Stock hit a low drive which passed just outside the post before Spurs made it 3-0 before half-time. Bentley took a corner from the right, and Crouch rose at the near post to head home across the keeper. Bentley then delivered a corner to the back post, where Jamie O'Hara hit a shot wide.

Jamie O'Hara had a good effort after 49 minutes, having started the move from the middle sending the ball to the left where Hutton and Giovani combined before Giovani got the ball into O'Hara, whose shot went just over the corner of the goal. The fourth goal came following a great ball from Naughton across to Giovani, who crossed after a little bye-line trickery to the back post where David Bentley fired home off the post. Bentley reciprocated the applause of the visiting fans, but maybe he hadn't heard a new chant that went on the lines of "Bentley, you swerve to the left, you swerve to the right, your driving is shite!""

As the hour mark approached and with a good lead, Harry Redknapp started to rest some of his other first choice players. Firstly Bassong was replaced by Boateng, who took Huddlestone's midfield place whilst Hudd moved back. Boateng's first touch was to handle the ball (possibly after slipping on the heavily over-watered surface) and after a delay in which the referee tried to play advantage, the home side were awarded a penalty, fired home by Woods. Donny also had a shot that hit the under-side of the bar three minutes later only to go clear.

Pavlyuchenko and Crouch started to interact well, and after an exchange about 25 yards out, Pavlyuchenko hit a good shot, well saved by Smith in goal. "Super Pav" then got on the score-sheet after receiving an excellent pass down the right channel by Boateng, before firing home with his right foot to the keeper's right.

With the four goal lead restored, next off the bench for his debut was Danny Rose, playing in front of his friends and family, replacing Tom Huddlestone. Now Hutton moved to centre back and Danny played at left back. He had little defending to do, and worked the left flank in conjunction with Giovani, before a switch took place and Gio played on the right. Reserve keeper David Button also got a debut, but hardly had a touch of the ball in the closing ten minutes. Spurs had one more chance after a great run by Giovani who had received the ball from Hutton (who spent a little time down injured) before feeding Bentley, whose shot from the edge of the area skimmed the bar.

This was Spurs' second consecutive mid-week 5-1 away win, and of course their fourth win on the trot. To be honest the scoreline flatters us a bit, because Rovers had those early chances, and had one or two gone in, then a shock could have been on the cards. The Third Round draw is on Saturday lunch-time. West Ham away, anyone?

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