FA CUP 6TH ROUND REPLAY
WEDNESDAY 24TH MARCH, 2010
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (0) FULHAM 1 (1)
Referee:- Mr. M. Atkinson
Assistants:- Mr. S. Child & Mr. S. Beck
Fourth Official:- Mr. L. Probert
Spurs (4-4-2):- Gomes; Corluka (sub Pavlyuchenko, 53), Dawson (Capt), Bassong, Ekotto (sub Huddlestone, 46); Kranjcar (sub Bentley, 46), Palacios, Modric, Bale; Crouch, Gudjohnsen
Subs not used:- Alnwick; Rose, Livermore, Townsend
Fulham (4-4-2):- Schwarzer; Kelly (sub Dempsey, 69), Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Duff, Murphy (Capt.), Etuhu, Davies; Zamora (sub Okaka, 77), Gera
Subs not used:- Zuberbuhler; Baird, Smalling; Riise, Greening
Booked:- Kelly, Zamora
Dream night for Spurs!
It was a dream night for Spurs last night, both at White Hart Lane and elsewhere. The main attraction was of course the quarter-final reply, and a blistering second half spell of 20 minutes in which Spurs put Fulham to the sword, after succumbing to a first half goal by Bobby Zamora. I’ve never seen goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer quite as flustered as he was during this spell in which Harry Redknapp’s three master-stroke substitutions engineered the come-back then the victory with some great football. Elsewhere, our main contenders for the cherished fourth place in the Premier League – Manchester City – lost 2-0 at home to Everton, and Aston Villa were held by Sunderland. All this made our hold on fourth a little more secure. Spurs’ greatest season for years continues with the semi-final at Wembley entering our diary as a result of this win.
Harry Redknapp was able to include recent casualties David Bentley, Tom Huddlestone and Roman Pavlyuchenko on the bench, which gave Spurs more strength than anticipated. Eidur Gudjohnsen started in “Super Pav’s” place and added a goal to his personal CV to cap another good performance, both up front and in midfield, when Pavlyuchenko joined the fray after 53 minutes.
Roy Hodgson has a strong squad to play with and had Clint Dempsey on the bench, along with defenders Baird and Smalling, and Jonathan Greening in midfield. All this meant that the announcer’s line of “ …and it’s a big welcome back to White Hart Lane for…..” was used five times for Stephen Kelly, Paul Konchesky, Danny Murphy, Simon Davies and Bobby Zamora. With the exception of Kelly, who had a tough time against Gareth Bale, all the ex-Spurs contingent had a good game, with Danny Murphy pulling the strings at the age of 33, Davies hitting a decent shot and a cross or two, and Bobby Zamora getting the Fulham goal that stunned White Hart Lane in the 17th minute.
Overall, there is no doubt that Fulham played the better passing game in the first half, whilst Spurs did create several decent chances. Fulham had a better and more vocal support than usual, but they still did not manage to fill their FA Cup allocation.
Straight from the kick off Luka Modric sent Bale away for his first tussle with Kelly, winning an attacking throw. After 4 minutes after a Fulham cross from the left, Duff fed the ball to Murphy who tried a shot from distance, which Gomes saved getting down to his right. Palacios intercepted a poor Fulham ball in the middle and started a move that featured Modric and Kranjcar, before receiving the cross then hitting a left foot shot just wide of the post. Duff got the ball almost to the bye-line but then made the wrong decision with his ball back, which was cleared by Spurs.
Zamora won the ball out on the right touchline after 10 minutes and sent in a cross which Davies latched onto, hitting a powerful right footed shot, which Gomes saved with a dive to the left, a parry and then a hold of the ball. After a nice run by Ekotto, Gudjohnsen worked the ball to Luka Modric, whose right foot shot passed wide of the target. Gudjohnsen and Modric then had some nice inter-play, as Modric got into the area, but Fulham defended well.
There had been plenty of incident then, before Zamora gave Fulham their lead. Duff made a run in the middle, having been afforded too much space, directing a well aimed pass for Zamora on the right channel. Zamora hit an early and powerful shot beyond Gomes’ right hand into the net at the Paxton Road End to stun the home crowd and send the travelling fans into raptures and dreams which were to be unfulfilled.
Gudjohnsen had a couple of efforts. Firstly with a cross that Fulham cleared, then, after Crouch touched down a throw from the right, a close range effort which was smothered. Ekotto and Bale made tracks down the left, before Bale crossed, Gudjohnsen became provider and Modric’s shot was just wide. Crouch had a right foot effort from outside the box saved by Schwarzer. Schwarzer then made a poor clearance which led to a Spurs attack and a foul on Kranjcar outside the area. Bale’s free kick was well over the bar.
Three minutes before the break, Fulham won a corner after an attack which found Bassong out of position due to a forward run. Duff took the corner, and Hangeland headed over. Then after plenty of good possession by the visitors, Gera crossed but Zamora fired wildly over the target.
Harry Redknapp the gambler then made two incisive half-time changes. Huddlestone replaced Ekotto and took up his usual midfield station. Bale took over at left back, and Luka Modric was allowed his favourite role from the left of midfield. Bentley replaced Kranjcar on the right wing. Within the first minute of the half, Spurs were level. Kelly fouled Bale, and got a yellow card to boot. Bentley took the free kick from deep on the left, and Schwarzer was deceived by the flight and the fact that none of the advancing Spurs players made contact, as Bentley’s kick passed directly into the net to make it 1-1!
Spurs then put Fulham on the rack in the same way as they had pressured Stoke at the week-end. Modric and Bale combined down the left, before Bale’s great effort beat the keeper but went over the bar.
Fulham did respond with a cross from the right and shot from an angle on the turn by Zamora, but Gomes held the shot. Then Vedran Corluka had to hobble off to add to Spurs lengthy injury woes. In the meantime, Bentley hit another free kick which Schwarzer did save, before Roman Pavlyuchenko was introduced for Corluka. Now Palacios fell back to right back, and Gudjohnsen took over in midfield. Here Gudjohnsen was very effective, with astute passing and also a consistency in the air.
There was excitement when Palacios made a run before a pass to Bentley, whose cross led to panic in the Fulham area with Crouch and Pavlyuchenko trying desperately to get the ball in the net. Zamora and Bassong had a tussle down the Fulham right flank, which Bassong won, with the free kick going in his favour. However, the way in which the two players faced up to each other won them a place in Mr. Atkinson’s book.
Then came a fantastic White Hart Lane moment, as Roman Pavlyuchenko gave Spurs the lead on the hour. Huddlestone made a good stretch to reach and pass the ball to Bentley on the right. Bentley’s cross went beyond the back post and Pavlyuchenko hit a great shot on the volley which beat Schwarzer on his narrow side, squeezing inside the post. In real time the shot looked like a rocket, but on replay, the ball did bounce in front of Schwarzer, and then rocketed between him and his right post. It was a great goal for the player, team and exuberant fans, as the famous “Wembley” chants rang around the stadium.
Pavlyuchenko tried for another goal as he cut in from the left before firing a shot that Schwarzer could only push away for a corner. After the corner, which went deep, Crouch retrieved the ball and sent it back, where a Dawson header was blocked only as far as Modric, whose shot was saved by Schwarzer, who was looking like a rabbit in the headlights at this point.
Spurs capped this fine spell of excitement and domination with their third goal. Huddlestone and Bentley worked hard down the right, before passing inside. Gudjohnsen had an exchange with Modric, whilst making the telling run into the area, where he just about got the final touch as opposed to Hughes to claim the goal. For some reason this goal was not replayed on the Jumbotron, but I have read nothing of controversy surrounding this goal. Now Spurs chanted “1-0 and you f***ed it up” and the Fulham fans responded with “We’re all going on a European tour”, which is now their last hope of rare glory.
The game was far from over though. First Pavlyuchenko had a shot deflected for a corner, then Crouch hit a good low right footer from outside the area, which whistled just outside the post. Stephen Kelly was replaced by Dempsey, and with nothing to lose, Fulham went all out for a goal. Gomes made a good save from Duff’s shot after 70 minutes, which was more or less straight at him, but called for a quick reaction. Murphy then teed up Dempsey, whose shot went out for a corner. Zamora was replaced by another striker – Okaka – after 77 minutes. Gomes got down well to save from Gera. Spurs defended a Simon Davies free kick well, and then Gomes had to save a Danny Murphy 25 yard free kick.
There were worrying moments for Spurs as time was played out. First the referee had “words” with Wilson Palacios after a foul, thus avoiding that feared tenth booking. Then Sebastien Bassong had to hobble off, giving Harry Redknapp more fitness worries for Saturday’s game against Portsmouth. You could argue that it was “Harry’s game” thanks to his excellent substitutions, and our manager will continue to be a focus for attention as we face his old club on Saturday, and again on April 11th in our first FA Cup semi-final since 2001.
Wembley beckons then – not just once either! Come on you Spurs!
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