CAPITAL ONE CUP
WEDNESDAY 21st JANUARY, 2015
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0) SHEFFIELD UNITED 0(0)
Townsend (pen), 74
Referee:- Neil Swarbrick
Assistants:- Darren Cann & Simon Bennett
Fourth official:- Roger East
Spurs (4-4-1-1):- Vorm; Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies; Townsend, Stambouli (sub Paulinho, 75), Mason (sub Dembele, 65), Eriksen; Kane; Adebayor (Capt) (sub Soldado, 65)
Subs not used:- Friedel; Rose, Kaboul; Lennon
Booked:- Adebayor (foul on Reed)
Sheffield Utd (4-2-3-1):- Howard; Flynn, Basham, McEveley, Harris; Reed, Doyle (Capt.); Campbell-Ryce, Scougall (sub Wallace, 87), Murphy; McNulty (sub Baxter, 83)
Subs not used:- Turner; Alcock, Higdon, Kennedy, Adams
Booked:- McEveley (foul on Townsend)
Advantage Spurs - just.
Spurs take the narrowest of margins to the second leg at Bramall Lane next week, courtesy of a penalty needlessly conceded by Jay McEveley, but convincingly converted by Andros Townsend in the 74th minute.
Nigel Clough's Sheffield United started the game attacking the Paxton End with plenty of adventure, but little threat, whilst Spurs struggled to get a foothold in this game against League One opposition. United had brought plenty of fans with them (at least 3,000), and they made themselves heard virtually all night. The kick-off had been delayed by fifteen minutes, due to traffic problems.
The rehabilitation of Emmanuel Adebayor continued, as he not only started, but was Captain. Adebayor blotted his copybook early on with a booking for an errant raised arm, which may have been one reason for his replacement after 65 minutes by Roberto Soldado. The other reason might have been that he had not made much headway, but in fairness, neither had his team-mates against a Sheffield United side which formed a resilient defensive dome, but which also threatened when breaking forward.
The truth is though that goalkeeper Michel Vorm did not have a save of note to make, whilst Spurs did at least have three close calls in the first half, one of which fell to Adebayor.
Spurs won their first corner after 7 minutes, and around this time, the visiting fans lauded their former player Kyle Walker with chants of "Kyle Walker - he wants us to win"
Eric Dier had some nervous touches tonight, and Ben Davies was leaving a little too much space at times for Jamal Campbell-Ryce, who threatened down the right wing.
Spurs had a good move after 20 minutes through Stambouli and Eriksen, before Townsend seemed to be brought down just outside the box. Spurs' appeals to referee Neil Swarbrick were to no avail.
Campbell-Ryce nearly took advantage of being afforded acres of space, but fired his effort wide across Vorm's goalmouth.
Dier had a good header well saved by Mark Howard, diving to his left, after Townsend's free kick on the right. Townsend himself had a right foot shot go wide, after he received the ball from the left.
Adebayor then had a great chance to score. The referee had waved play-on in Spurs' favour and Eriksen chipped a long ball to the edge of the area, where Adebayor scooped his shot over the bar, under pressure from Howard and a defender.
An error by Davies led to Scougall getting a shot on goal, but he fired wide of Vorm's left post. Dier had another header go wide from a Spurs free kick in first half added time.
After the break, Spurs had a patient build-up (they had been dominating possession) before Eriksen chipped a ball for Townsend, who was flagged offside.
There were a couple of times when the referee's assistant Mr. Bennett could not make a decision to assist the referee, and one in particular when he eventually decided a Spurs corner was a Sheffield United goal kick. He did get the penalty right though!
That penalty came when Vertonghen chipped a ball for Soldado, who was deep in the United area. The ball might have run out of play, had Soldado not kept it in with a high foot. McEveley raised one arm appealing (unsuccessfully) for offside, and with the other arm, put the ball out of play for an easy penalty decision. Once again, Andros Townsend confidently stepped up, and powerfully converted into the goalie's left corner.
To be honest, there was little significant action after the penalty. Substitute Paulinho had a good little run deep into the box, after a throw on the right, but had no power in his shot.
The "Blades" won several corners, and gave Spurs some pressure, but caused no problem to Vorm in goal.
Spurs will take a massive number of fans to Sheffield next Wednsday, where they will only need a draw to reach another Wembley final. One would expect United to come out more than they did tonight, which would lead to a more open game, and perhaps a better chance for Spurs to seal the tie convincingly.
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