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Spurs v Portsmouth, 07.01.23


Kane, 50

Attendance:- 60,161

Referee:- Thomas Bramall
Assistants:- Derek Eaton & Steven Meredith
Fourth Official:- Carl Boyeson
VAR:- Graham Scott
AVAR:- Darren Cann

Spurs (3-4-3):- Forster; Tanganga, Sanchez, Davies; Emerson Royal, Sarr, Skipp, Sessegnon (sub Spence, 77); Gil (sub Devine, 90+2), Kane (Capt.), Son

Subs not used:- Lloris; Romero, Lenglet; Doherty, Hojbjerg, White, Mundle

Booked:- Davies (foul on Koroma)

Portsmouth (3-4-3):- Griffiths; Morrison, Raggett (Capt.), Ogilvie; Swanson, Tunnicliffe (sub Thompson, 75), Morrell (sub Jacobs, 85), Hume; Hackett (sub Koroma, 75), Bishop (sub Pigott,85), Dale (sub Curtis, 87)

Subs not used:- Oluwayemi; Freeman, Payce, Dockerill

Booked:- Thompson (foul on Gil)

Quality goal by Kane wins the game

Spurs v Portsmouth, 07.01.23

Harry Kane’s 50th minute goal was a moment of pure quality and enough to win a game which never set the pulses racing. Portsmouth brought over 8,000 fans who occupied three tiers in the North-East corner. They had a marvellous day; I am sure, and they never stopped singing. They would have been particularly happy to have had a former Southampton player to boo which they did with every touch Fraser Forster made. Thankfully, the Pompey bell was not in evidence! They had their own moment of quality in the first half when Forster was required to make a decent save. That was something Portsmouth keeper Josh Griffiths didn’t have to do in the first half, as he was not stretched by a Spurs team that once again took until the second half to get going. Spurs v Portsmouth, 07.01.23

Antonio Conte made 7 changes, all of which were behind the front three of Gil, Kane and Son for whom there was no adequate cover available. Many fans were upset that Djed Spence did not get a start under the circumstances, but he did replace Ryan Sessegnon thirteen minutes from the end of the game. Alfie Devine had been given his Spurs debut by Jose Mourinho in January two years ago against Marine. Alfie got a very brief second appearance in added time, courtesy of another top-line manager two years later. Bissouma had been due to start but, due to an ankle problem, was replaced at late notice by Skipp. Romaine Mundle was given the benefit of a place on the bench. Pape Sarr made his first start for Spurs.

On the whole, I have to say that most of those starters behind our front three were being given a chance to prove their worth, and I don’t think they offered much in the way of persuasion that they should be automatic starters.

The Portsmouth team was a little late on parade, keeping the Spurs team waiting in the tunnel before kick-off. Portsmouth kicked off, playing away from their fans, towards the South Stand. Looking around me there were quite a few regulars absent and plenty of unfamiliar faces. If that was reflected around the ground, perhaps it had something to do with a flat atmosphere from our fans, although the lack of quality football did not help. Portsmouth of course were happy to criticise our lack of atmosphere, and they also crowed about a certain ex centre-half of ours lifting the FA Cup in 2008, no less that 17 years after we last managed that feat.

Portsmouth even won an early corner after which Spurs countered with a clever back-heel from Son to Kane forming our first attack. Portsmouth cleared. One of their back three was former Spurs academy player Connor Ogilvie and on their bench, they had another former Spurs junior – goalkeeper Josh Oluwayemi.

Spurs’ first corner was won and taken on the right by Heung-min Son. Unfortunately, too many of his crosses and corners became fodder for Griffiths in the Portsmouth goal. A short corner (Son to Sarr) was also wasted.

Spurs v Portsmouth, 07.01.23

Portsmouth’s great moment came after eleven minutes when top scorer Colby Bishop met a cross and headed it to Reeco Hackett who tested Forster with a what was almost an overhead shot. Forster had to save low to his right near the post, conceding a corner.

Spurs had a chance at the other end when Griffiths failed to hold a Son corner and Kane pounced but had his short range shot blocked. Zak Swanson brought cheers from the travelling fans when he deprived Son of the ball on the edge of the Portsmouth area. Generally, there was a lack of urgency by Tottenham.

Spurs had a free kick after 39 minutes, following a foul on Son. Kane took the kick which was blocked. the ball ran to Sessegnon who crossed , but Sanchez headed over the target. Sarr hit a shot from distance which passed just wide, and a curling right-footed shot by Son passed wide of the far post.

The great Pat Jennings, now 77 years old, was recently awarded the CBE and he was interviewed at half-time by Paul Coyte. Pat’s Irish brogue accent is as distinct as ever.

Spurs kicked off but soon had to defend a free kick after a foul by Davies. Hackett crossed and Connor Ogilvie headed over, failing to score what would have been a dream goal. At the other end, a deep cross from the left by Son was met by Emerson Royal at the far post. Royal’s header rebounded off the inside of the other post and into the grateful goalkeeper’s arms.

Harry Kane’s 265th club goal (now just one behind Jimmy Greaves’ record) followed shortly when Harry came in from left of the area, took a wall pass from Sessegnon, then unleashed an unstoppable shot into the net to the left of the keeper.

Spurs were camped in the Portsmouth half for most of the second period of play. Son hit a free kick from 25 yards just off target. Kane fed the ball to Gil on the right and he cut inside before hitting a short pass to Skipp who fired over when he should have scored.

Dale had a shot which looked on target at the other end, but Sarr made a good block. For all their control and possession in the Portsmouth half, Spurs were not giving us the end product, in particular the second goal which would have allowed us to relax more. I suspect they were always in control and that interim coach Simon Bassey’s substitutions were about giving minutes on our prestigious pitch to all of his players.

Spence was our only substitute until Devine’s late cameo, and Djed was involved in a decent attack soon after he came onto the field of play. He was involved in the attack down the right flank along with Gil, before Tanganga passed to Kane, whose shot hit the side netting from an angle on the right. Devine also had a run in a late attack, but Portsmouth cleared.

The Fourth Round draw is being made on Sunday afternoon. Our next game, of course, is the little matter of the North London Derby next Sunday!

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