A replay in snowy Yorkshire is probably not everyone's idea of a good
night out, but that was what it proved to be after Tottenham ran out 3-1
winners against Leeds United with Jermain getting three goals from about
ten chances that he had alone. With some more clinical finishing,
the game could have been over by the 25th minute, but a goal just before
half-time kept the home team in it and then a late free-kick threatened
Leeds, it meant a third Spurs goal instead and the Fifth Round tie
against Bolton Wanderers was being heavily pencilled in on the Spurs
calendar. But the win was not a walkover and was only possible
through the hard work put in to match Leeds' effort.
The impressive performances all across
the pitch were there for all to see and no-one shirked the shift they
had to put in, with even the one player who gets it in the neck for his
seeming lack of effort - Tom Huddlestone - spending more time closing
opponents down than spraying passes around.
Inside the first minute, Richard Naylor
tried to find his keeper with a header from the left hand corner of his
box, but only played in Defoe, but the Spurs striker couldn't get enough
on his shot to take the ball much more than a yard past the goalie
Ankergren before it was hacked away by a defender. A corner in the
seventh minute found an unmarked Bassong, who could not keep his volley
down and looked stunned that the ball reached him in such a big space in
Leeds were passing the ball well and with
Tottenham players backing off, both Doyle and Snodgrass had shots from
distance. Leeds then thought they had hit the bar, but a free-kick
was given against Beckford for putting his arm over Gomes' shoulder.
Spurs also hit the bar later in the game when Crouch climbed all over a
defender and should have had a free-kick given against him, but didn't.
Defoe had cracked a shot inches wide, with Ankergren anchored to the
spot after Crouch had headed a Bentley cross down, then had a great
chance to score when through on the keeper. Gareth bale sold
Jermaine Jenas short with a pass inside Tottenham's own defensive third
and JJ had to quickly put his foot through the ball to avoid going in
half-hearted to the tackle. The ball flew up-field, where it
cleared the last Leeds defender and found Defoe latching onto the
opening. He took the ball through to the edge of the box, but
delayed too long in getting his shot away, allowing Ankergren to get his
body in the way and deflect the ball out for a corner.
The Danish goalie made an even better
save shortly afterwards, when Bale fired in a low cross and it deflected
off Leigh Bromby's knee towards the inside of the near post, but the
Leeds keeper dived in the opposite direction to that he had started to
go and blocked the ball at the foot of his post. A great break on
the left from halfway saw Jenas do what he does best and surge on past
the other side's players and he had the presence of mind to draw the
ball back to the edge of the box, where his pass was just a little too
far ahead of Crouch.
With half an hour gone, Huddlestone
played a perfect ball over the Leeds defence and Defoe raced through on
goal, but he ran too far into the defender's path and Michalek eased him
off the ball with a claim for a foul, but the referee - Andre Marriner -
was far too far behind play to have a view on it. And the lineman
wasn't going to give the decision. Defoe was thwarted by the
keeper again four minutes later, when Corluka's chip into the box was
controlled on Huddlestone's chest and laid back for JD to smash a shot
at goal on the volley, which Ankergren pushed out.
It was in the 27th minute that Defoe
finally got one past the United goalie. David Bentley, who had a
very good game on the right wing, beat Hughes and put in a low ball to
the penalty spot, where Defoe was waiting. The ball bobbled up in
the bumpy goal area and he was quick to get it onto his left foot and
get a shot off. Luckily for him, it sliced off his left boot and
left Ankergren stranded as it hit the net in the very top corner of the
Leeds almost hit back straight away and
the cross that came in from Snodgrass' free-kick perfectly picked out
Michalek's head and despite only being a few yards out, it was saved by
Gomes, who flung himself to his left to push the ball wide of the goal.
From the corner, the ball dropped at the far post for Bromby and as he
shaped to shoot, Michael Dawson and Vedran Corluka dived in to block him
out. Then Gomes did well to hold onto a long shot from Bradley
Johnson, as Becchio and Beckford were ready to pounce on any scraps that
might come their way.
However, the respite was short-lived,
with added time being played at the end of the first half when Howson's
ball was played in to Gomes' left hand post and Beckford got there with
a volley. It appeared that he was onside, while three players were
offside in the six yard box. Gomes made a reflex stop to keep the
volley out, but the ball went across the face of goal to where Becchio
was ready to slide the equaliser into the net. The whole "second
phase" offside argument was ready to be raised again. Spurs
players surrounded the referee at the break, but they appeared to be
complaining ab9out the possible penalty Tottenham should have had when
Defoe and Michalek came together.
The grievance seemed to fire Tottenham up
and they came out all guns blazing in the second half. Defoe went
on a solo run across the face of the penalty area before hitting a shot
over the bar, with Bentley well placed to his right, then the two linked
on the right, with Bentley pulling the ball back from the dead ball line
to Defoe, but he was closed down quickly. The England striker
managed to get a toe to it and nudge it over to the left of the box,
where Niko Kranjcar shot and squirted off his foot towards Peter Crouch
at the far post, but even his long legs could not diver tit into the
goal and the ball agonisingly went a yard wide.
Spurs were guilty once more of not
closing down a forward in a shooting position and Beckford's drive took
a deflection off Dawson and it went away for the corner. From
another corner shortly after, Michalek rose without challenge to head
goal-wards, but his effort was just too high. Then a corner at the
other end saw Dawson meet Bentley's near post corner and flick a header
that would have beaten Doyle on the line had Ankergren not got a hand to
it to take it over the bar. With Leeds not being allowed the
luxury of time on the ball, Spurs continued to attack and Tommy rifled a
shot from the edge of the box a foot or so wide and then Bentley ran
through form his own half, won a tackle as a defender came in and then
drove at goal, with the keeper pushing the ball over the bar.
In the 68th minute, it seemed that
Kranjcar and Bale's movement and passing on the left had opened up the
Leeds defence to create a second goal, but when Defoe was there in the
middle of the goal to turn it home, he was foiled by the linesman's
flag, as he had strayed offside. As if stung by the decision, he
then powered a chest down from Crouch straight at Ankergren, before
finally getting the second goal for him and the team in the 73rd minute.
Jermaine Jenas put David Bentley away on
the right and he played a low, pacy ball into the goalmouth, with Defoe
alert to the possibility and nipping across his marker to guide the ball
past the keeper off his shin. It was a fair reward for his
persistence and some great forward running by the little man.
Crouch's header hit the bar and then two
dead ball situations threatened to provide Leeds with an equaliser.
A corner was played into the Tottenham box and Bromby got highest to
head the ball with power, but he got under it slightly and it went too
high, while a free-kick in added time was pumped into the Spurs box from
his own half by Ankergren. A Leeds head won a flick on and there
was a little panic in the Spurs box before Bale humped it away and with
one bounce in the centre circle, it went over the head of the last
defender Doyle and the lone Tottenham forward - Defoe - was onto it like
a flash. Having run tirelessly, he made one final effort to get
ahead of the defender and ran across him, so that he couldn't bring him
down and then took the ball to his right as the goalie came out,
rounding him to pass the ball into the back of the net for his third
hat-trick of the season and to send Tottenham through to the next round.