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Spurs v Nottingham Forest, 24.09.14


Spurs scorers:-
Mason, 72
Soldado, 83
Kane, 90

Forest scorer:-
Grant, 61

Attendance:- 31,912

Referee:- Andre Marriner
Assistants:- Marc Perry & Edward Smart
Fourth official:- Michael Bull

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Vorm; Naughton, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies; Stambouli (sub Mason, 65), Bentaleb; Townsend, Paulinho (sub Kane, 64), Lennon (Capt.); Soldado (sub Lamela, 85)

Subs not used:- Friedel; Chiriches, Dier; Eriksen

No bookings

Nottingham Forest (4-5-1):- De Vries; Harding, Lascelles, Wilson (Capt.), Fox; Paterson, Grant (sub Burke, 85), Vaughan (sub Tesche, 46), Osborn, McLaughlin; Veldwijk (sub Blackstock, 74)

Subs not used:- Darlow; Collins, Halford, Walker

No bookings

Mason sparks victory

Just when it began to look as if Spurs would succumb to lesser opposition for the second time in 4 days, on came 23 year old Ryan Mason, and Harry Kane to spark a rally by Spurs in which they not only equalised, but ultimately scored three goals to make the scoreline convincing in the end. If only it had been that easy!

Ryan Mason was probably unknown to most of the Spurs crowd. He has come up through the academy, and first appeared as a 17 year old in a European away game at N.E.C in The Netherlands in November, 2008. Ryan has made rare appearances at senior level in the club's colours since then, and has had successful spells on loan at clubs such as Yeovil, and Swindon.

This year, Mason has clearly caught the eye of Mauricio Pochettino, who has named him in our 25 man Premier League squad. Well, Ryan certainly caught the eye of the crowd, and Sky TV viewers with a superb equaliser, scored from at least 25 yards, beating Forest goalkeeper Dorus De Vries inside his right post.

It was nothing like a full strength Forest side, well drilled by manager Stuart Pearce, who made 8 changes, some of which were enforced, due to injuries, such as that which kept former Spur Andy Reid out of the frame. Forest's highest scoring strikers, Britt Assombalonga and Michail Antonio were also nowhere to be seen. Pearce clearly has a bigger fish to fry, and that is to gain promotion back to the Premier League, from which Forest have been absent for 14 years.

Once again, Spurs dominated possession, but gained little in the way of penetration and clear scoring chances, whilst Forest got men behind the ball, and hoped (and succeeded) to score on the break.

With the exception of Vorm for Lloris, and Soldado for Kane, Spurs fielded the same side as had played in Belgrade last Thursday. Vorm was making his debut, but was rarely tested.

Despite this match being included on the season ticket, there were many empty seats, especially in the West Stand, but it is the Jewish New Year, which explains that.

There was little to excite in the early exchanges. Forest fans were present in force, and as promised, many wore commemorative green tops, as worn by Brian Clough, being remembered at this time, after the tenth anniversary of his passing.

Paulinho had an early free kick blocked. Naughton's cross led to a corner taken by Bentaleb, which was cleared. I thought at this stage that both Bentaleb and Stambouli were playing well. Stambouli made several good interceptions, and Bentaleb linked well with the attacking players. Mistakes did tend to creep in as the game progressed though.

A decent effort by Vertonghen was deflected then saved by De Vries. After 20 minutes, Paulinho seemed to get a tug in the box, but referee Andre Marriner chose to ignore Spurs' claims for a penalty.

Two minutes later, Forest worried the Spurs defence, when Osborn's shot beat Vorm, but rebounded off the bar. Then Grant had a shot, which Vorm held. Fazio just managed to sweep the ball off the feet of Lars Veldwijk, as he threatened the Spurs goal.

Spurs had an excellent move from the back, started by Vertonghen's ball to Bentaleb, who in turn fed the ball to Paulinho. The ball was sent to Townsend on the right, but his shot was wide of the goalkeeper's right post. Townsend had further chances. Firstly, he skied a left foot shot, before, following a move featuring Lennon and Naughton, he cut inside, before hooking his shot wide of the other post. Apart from the shot option, Townsend had two or three men in the box, and he really should have done better, I felt.

Fazio tried a shot from distance, which passed only a little wide, following a cross from Davies, and a pass by Paulinho. Townsend had another shot off target, after being fed by Bentaleb.

Ten minutes into the second half, Spurs had their best chance yet. Davies hit a useful cross from the left, and Paulinho tried a clever flick, which passed just wide of the far post.

Forest shocked Spurs, but delighted their fans at the Park Lane end with a goal scored on the break, with the Spurs defence offering too much space to the participants, McLaughlin and Veldwijk were involved in the build-up, and the final cross came from near the bye-line, with Grant making an easy conversion from close range. A shock was on the cards.

Paulinho had another effort on goal. This time it was a header which went wide, after the ball had been crossed from the right. Despite Paulinho looking the most likely to score for Spurs, Pochettino replaced him with Harry Kane, whilst Mason replaced Stambouli.

At last, Spurs started to press the Forest goal with some purpose, having previously dilly-dallied with plenty of passing, but so little penetration.

Vertonghen had a good shot blocked from distance, before Kane headed a Davies cross straight into the goalkeeper's arms. Then came that stupendous equaliser by Mason, which led him, and his team-mates to run for the north-east corner to celebrate. This is where players' families are usually accommodated, so hopefully members of Ryan's family saw his first senior goal for his parent club. It was as memorable as that scored by Danny Rose against Arsenal In 2010.

After 75 minutes, Townsend's free kick from just outside the box rebounded off the bar. The ball was subsequently fielded by Lennon, and fed via Kane to Mason, who fired wide.

Now Spurs took the lead, after Mason back-heeled to Townsend who was in an inside left position. Townsend hit a powerful shot which was heading wide, but was diverted into the net very deliberately by Roberto Soldado. Cue the "He came from sunny Spain" chants.

Soldado was soon replaced by Lamela for an exciting end of game cameo, which he capped with a fine threaded ball for Harry Kane, on the right of the box, where he fired low past the goalkeeper's right hand to make the scoreline comfortable.

Lamela even had time for a fine solo effort, ending his run with a shot that just skimmed the outside of the keeper' left post.

The draw for the Fourth Round was made after the game, and we have been drawn at home to Brighton in the week commencing Monday 27th October.

Before that, of course, we face Arsenal on Saturday for what looks like an awesome challenge in our current form.

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