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Stoke v Spurs, 20.09.11

My thanks to Declan Mulcahy for this report

Tuesday 20 September 2011, 7:45p.m.
Carling Cup Third Round
Stoke City (0) 0 Tottenham Hotspur (0) 0
(After Extra Time Stoke City won 7-6 on penalties)

Stoke City (4-4-2):
Sorensen; Shotton, Huth (capt), Upson, Wilson; Pennant, Palacios (Diao 66), Whelan, Etherington; Jones (Crouch 12), Jerome (Walters 74).
Subs Not Used: Nash, Pugh, Delap, Wilkinson.
Booked: Huth (71 foul on Pavlyuchenko)

Tottenham Hotspur (4-5-1/4-4-2):
Gomes; Corluka, Bassong, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Giovani (Townsend 95), Livermore, Sandro (Luongo 71), Carroll, Van der Vaart (Capt.)(Defoe 63); Pavlyuchenko.
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Ceballos, Falque, Kane.
Booked: Livermore (65 foul on Jerome)
(Armband to Defoe)

Britannia Stadium, Attendance: 15,023.
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).
Assistants:- Mr. D. Richardson & Mr. B. Smallwood
Fourth official:- Mr. N. Miller

Penalty shoot-out details - Walters (1-0, Stoke), Defoe 1-1, Pennant miss 1-1, Pavlyuchenko miss 1-1, Whelan 2-1 Stoke, Townsend 2-2, Wilson 3-2, Corluka 3-3, Crouch 4-3, Kaboul 4-4, Etherington 5-4, Livermore 5-5, Upson 6-5, Carroll 6-6, Shotton 7-6, Luongo saved by Sorensen. Stoke win 7-6.

TH: Black shirts, shorts and stockings SC Red and white striped shirts, white shorts and stockings

Another Penalty Shoot-Out Defeat

This match was a dull affair enlivened only at the end by a penalty shoot-out. There were ten Carling Cup Third Round matches played tonight. Eight of them produced three goals or more, the other one had two goals but at the Britannia Stadium there were no goals. Given that the main strikers on either side were Pavlyuchenko and Crouch the lack of goals was hardly a surprise to anyone who watched Spurs last season.

Harry Redknapp made nine changes from the team which performed so well against Liverpool two days earlier with only Kaboul and Ekotto retaining their places. Sandro appeared for the first time this season having recovered from injury. (Sporting distinctly blue hair!) It had been thought that Gallas might also return. However he clearly was not fit enough and instead played in a friendly against Brentford today. Tom Carroll was the only inexperienced youngster in the starting XI. However the bench contained four youngsters Harry Kane, Yago Falqué, Massimo Luongo(45) and Cristian Ceballos (44). The latter two were appearing on the bench for the first time.

Tony Pulis made seven changes from the Stoke team which lost by the same score on Sunday as Tottenham had won by. There were two former Tottenham players in the Stoke starting XI, Etherington and Palacios. The latter had an undistinguished game and was substituted after 66 minutes. Peter Crouch did not start the match but came on after only 12 minutes when Jones suffered a leg injury.

There was not a lot of notable action in the first half. Midway through the half Corluka evaded two tackles in a run down the right and was aiming for the Stoke penalty area before being stopped by a sliding tackle from Crouch of all people! Sandro had a 25 yard shot saved by Sorenson and in injury time an Etherington shot was narrowly wide.

Spurs were the better team early in the second half and Sorensen tipped a Pavlyuchenko 25 yard shot over the bar. Livermore and Huth were booked for fouls. After 71 minutes Massimo Luongo, the young Australian player, came on to make his debut replacing Sandro. The second half ended scoreless and the match went to extra time.

Walters should have scored for Stoke just before the interval in extra time. He was clear in the box with only Gomes to beat but shot wide.

In the second half of extra time Carroll and Etherington both had good efforts which were narrowly wide.

So the match went to a penalty shoot-out which was held at the Marston Pedigree Stand end where the Spurs supporters were located. Walters and Defoe converted the first round of penalties. Pennant and Pavlyuchenko missed the next two, the former hitting the bar and the latter blazing the ball over the bar. The next five rounds of penalties were all scored. All credit to three younger players Townsend, Livermore and Carroll who all stepped up to the plate and scored. Shotton then gave Stoke City a 7-6 lead. At that point there were four players who could have taken the next Spurs penalty: Gomes, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto or Luongo. The brave young debutant Luongo stepped forward. Unfortunately Sorensen saved his shot. However no blame can be attached to a young player making his debut who had only spent 59 minutes on the pitch and had the character to volunteer to take a penalty.

In his post match comments Harry Redknapp said much the same thing. “In the end the young lad Massimo stepped up and took the last one. He had the bottle to step-up and take one, as did Andros, Jake and Tom so that was good. He did well though, Massimo, he came on and played his part.”

The midweek team has now played 300 minutes over three matches with no goals being scored at either end and not a lot of entertainment being provided. While the team has performed well in terms of defensive capabilities, Redknapp needs to address the fact the no goals have been scored.

Unfortunately Spurs continued some negative trends tonight. The poor cup record against Stoke continued. Spurs have now lost five out of six cup ties against Stoke with the only win coming in 1950.

The penalty shoot-out hoodoo also continued. Tottenham famously won their first penalty shoot-out against Anderlecht in the 1984 UEFA Cup Final. They also won the next one. However they have now lost the last six against Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Liverpool, PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United and now Stoke City.

Finally Spurs rarely get a good result when Lee Probert is the referee and tonight was no exception. (This is not to suggest that the poor results are the referee’s fault).

It was frustrating to lose in this manner. However the Carling Cup is clearly the third priority after the Premier League and the Europa League. The team is now free to concentrate on those two priorities.

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