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Spurs v Charlton - FA Cup Rd 3 - 09.01.11

(1.30 P.M.)

Townsend, 49
Defoe, 58,60

Attendance:- 35,698

Referee:- Mr. M. Oliver
Assistants:- Mr. J. Flynn & Mr. D. Bryan
Fourth Official:- Mr. G. Ward

Spurs (4-4-2):- Cudicini; Corluka, Dawson (Capt.), Bassong, Ekotto; Townsend (wearing 31), Sandro, Palacios (sub Modric, 46), Kranjcar; Pavlyuchenko, Defoe

Subs not used:- Pletikosa; Hutton; Lennon, Jenas, Van der Vaart (Only 6 substitutes named)

Booked:- Sandro

Charlton (4-4-2):- Elliot; Francis, Doherty, Dailly (Capt.), Fry; McCormack (sub Reid, 61), Semedo, Racon, Jackson; Wagstaff, Anyinsah (sub Sodje, 70)

Subs not used:- Worner; Llera, Fortune; Jenkinson, Abbott

No bookings

Harry’s Modric injection works a treat!

19 year old Andros Townsend might make a few headlines with his first goal on his debut, and with a performance that improved with gained confidence in the second half, who would begrudge him some glory. However, it was Harry Redknapp’s half-time injection of Luka Modric that inspired Townsend and the whole Tottenham team to a convincing win. Harry had made 9 changes to the team that played on Wednesday night at Everton, and they had their chances in the first half, but just lacked that bit of gusto. Up popped little Luka, and up went the tempo and the effort and along came the result.

Unlike some stadia around the country on FA Cup week-end, White Hart Lane was packed, and with some season ticket holders choosing not to attend there was a chance for fathers to bring sons and daughters to see their heroes old and new, at decent prices too! Even Charlton fans turned out in force, taking up their full allocation. I’ve never seen so many fans from The Valley at The Lane, as in their Premier League days they rarely bothered to attend in numbers. They enjoyed their day out and were very vocal, ribbing the home support, but getting their come-uppance in the end.

Spurs fans gave fond welcomes to both Johnnie Jackson and Gary Doherty (“The Ginger Pele”) when their names were announced. Doherty played beside Charlton Captain Christian Dailly, now a veteran 37 year old, who played for Harry Redknapp in his West Ham days. Jackson featured on the left side of midfield.

Although left footed and preferring the left wing, Andros Townsend played on the right, and in his Academy days did play on both flanks for Spurs. Sandro partnered Palacios in the middle and Niko Kranjcar was given the left side behind Jermain Defoe and Roman Pavlyuchenko. Defoe was making a welcome return after serving his three match suspension. Townsend got off to a good start too, beating a couple of defenders and taking the ball to the bye-line inside the area, before hitting a low and powerful cross that eluded those in front of goal – mostly Charlton defenders. A minute later Palacios fed Pavlyuchenko who gave a clever left footed pass to Defoe, who was thwarted only by the alert advance of goalkeeper Rob Elliot, who took the ball off Defoe’s feet.

After a foul on Townsend, Kranjcar took a free kick with his right foot, and the shot passed outside the keeper’s left post. Elliot fumbled a Pavlyuchenko shot after 17 minutes, and Spurs kept the pressure on before the ball reached Palacios, whose shot was well wide of the mark. Pavlyuchenko back-heeled to Defoe, on the left side of goal, and Jermain’s shot was blocked for a corner. Kranjcar skied a free kick from 28 yards after 29 minutes.

It wasn’t all one way traffic, with Jackson giving Corluka some work to do, and McCormack and Wagstaff posing a threat down the other flank. From a cross from that side, Spurs had to defend stoutly against Jackson and Anyinsah. Typically, Michael Dawson was usually Spurs strongest rock at the back, with some timely tackles. Jackson got round Sandro’s outside after Palacios had lost the ball in the middle, and Wagstaff’s shot from the cross passed wide. At the other end, Pavlyuchenko had a shot blocked and saved after Sandro’s deep cross to the back post from Spurs’ right flank. Pavlyuchenko had a header glanced over the bar from Townsend’s cross after an excellent pass from the middle by Kranjcar to the right wing.

Luka Modric entered the fray after the break to great cheers, and proceeded to run the show from the outset, probing down the middle but firing passes long and short that were accurate and penetrative. Modric was involved in just about every attacking move for a while, and had been part of the build up before Sandro’s final ball to Townsend in a central position. Andros hit a low and accurate shot that beat Elliot low to his right. Understandably, the youngster was greeted with great affection by his team mates, cheers from the crowd, and as a result he played with more and more confidence as the game progressed, regularly making ground down the right flank.

Corluka gave Pavlyuchenko a chance and the goalkeeper was down to his left to push Pav’s right footed shot round for a corner. Corluka next found Modric in the area, and the little magician got around 4 defenders in one sweep and hit a low shot wide across goal. Then it was the Defoe show for a while. After one effort that went wide, he hit two goals in quick succession, both of which included some solo skill in passing close defenders and creating room for his successful shots. It was game over with half and hour to go, despite the Charlton chants of “We’re gonna win 4-3”

Caretaker manager Keith Peacock (much loved by the Charlton fans) put on Kyel Reid for McCormack to boost the attack, but firstly we were to see more good work from Townsend, hitting a left foot cross from the right flank, from which Modric had a shot blocked by a packed Charlton defence. Even Ekotto wanted to get in on the act, and he hit a shot that we thought had hit the net, but it had rebounded into the wrong side of the net off some hoardings behind the goal.

Reid got the better of Corluka after 75 minutes and hit a rising shot that Cudicini covered well. Carlo had to make another excellent save late in the game from second substitute Akpo Sodje. Before that though, Defoe and Ekotto had a friendly argument standing over a free kick just outside the area, before Ekotto hit a rasping effort that Elliot did well to push round the corner. The “Ginger Pele” himself had a late effort for the visitors, which Cudicini reacted to well to keep a clean sheet.

The draw was made as we were on our way home, and Spurs face another London side – Fulham (away). Bearing in mind our league double this season, and cup victories last year and 4 years ago, I feel confident. In fact, we’ve never lost an FA Cup game against “The Cottagers”, so go forward with confidence Spurs. Just remember to take Luka with you!

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