While it was a confidence boosting win in terms of it being a victory,
it did come against a poor Newcastle United side, who looked like they
ought to be outside the Premier League, but are, in fact, sitting just
above Tottenham in the league table. If only we could play them
while they are in such a slough of despair rather than having to settle
for this 2-1 win in the League Cup.
It was two teams who looked way out of form
and lacking confidence who played out a first half which was as bad as
you might have seen in this competition or any other.
The only thing that woke any of the
players up was the kick in the balls that Pavlyuchenko got from
Collocini, but he got his revenge later in the half when he elbowed the
Argentine in the nose and drew blood. Pav looked keen to shoot on
sight, but was too far away from the goal and usually only succeeded in
hitting a defender. The closest they came to scoring wasn't that
close. Bale bent in a free-kick from the left hand side, with
Woodgate getting across his marker, but could not get the ball to go in
the direction of the goal and it went about ten yards wide.
Newcastle matched Tottenham's ability to give the ball away and too
often Spurs players had the ball taken off them without much resistance.
N'Zogbia tried from distance and made
Gomes react to hold the effort, but the biggest hits were on the Spurs
players, as Butt took the ball and the player from behind and saw
yellow. This was after Taylor got his arm into Gomes' chest in the
air to try to put him off his game, but the keeper came for crosses and
in the second half, he rushed from goal to intercept a through ball
outside his area and also made a good low save from Martins.
Pavlyuchenko hinted at future threats
when he managed to get away from Collocini to head O'Hara's corner just
over the angle of crossbar and post on the half hour, but that was
really the last bit of decent action as the third full stadium echoed to
Spurs fans' chants and the home side were reduced to booing Jermaine
Jenas and the referee's decision.
The second half started much livelier.
Within two minutes, Duff was put through by Martins and his shot
by-passed Gomes, but former Magpie Jonathan Woodgate dashed back to turn
the ball wide as it looked like it might go in at the far post.
That was an important interception, but the turning point came when
Gareth Bale made way for Giovani, who took up an attacking midfield role
on the right, with Lennon moving to the left.
Ten minutes into the second half, Jenas
fed Benoit Assou-Ekotto and he went forward and unleashed a shot that
Given had to take at the second attempt. Then Giovani got away
down the right, putting in a waist high cross and unfortunately Pav got
just goal-side of it and could not get enough of a contact on the ball.
The home side then attacked, with Michael Owen going through the right
hand channel, shepherded wide by Woodgate, allowing Gomes to beat away
the England striker's shot from a tight angle.
With 61 minutes on the clock, Tottenham
went ahead. Jamie O'Hara, who had a hard-working game in midfield,
played the ball wide to Aaron Lennon. He cut back onto his right
foot and crossed to the centre of the goal, where Pavlyuchenko again
lost Collocini and powered his header past Given for his first Spurs
goal. It was a relief more than anything, as the stalemate was
only helping Newcastle.
Immediately, Ramos took off Lennon and
brought on Fraizer Campbell. The loan striker failed to have a
similar impact as he did on Sunday, with the home side hitting back
straight away with Geremi looping a cleared free-kick goal-wards and
Gomes had to dive to his right to grab the effort. But within four
minutes of the first goal, Spurs were 2-0 up as they made the most of
Newcastle's sloppy play. A free-kick deep in their own half saw
the ball passed across the pitch to Steven Taylor, who was closed down
by Jamie O'Hara and robbed of the ball, about ten yards outside the box.
Without anyone in front of him, O'Hara took the ball on and as Given
came out, the midfielder slid the ball to the keeper's right and into
the net. It was reminiscent of Steed's goal that won it for Spurs
at Manchester City in last season's competition. It was
well-deserved by O'Hara, as he worked hard and looked comfortable on the
ball all game long.
Spurs were looking happy to pass the ball
around. Martins was restricted to hitting a 25 yard effort
straight at Gomes and N'Zogbia tried to hit the target from wide of the
penalty area, but only hit the advertising hoardings. But
Tottenham never do things the easy way. With a minute left of
normal time, a through ball on the right saw Geremi get behind
Assou-Ekotto and his low cross was knocked out by Gomes, but it went to
Owen, who had hung back around the penalty spot and struck the ball
precisely to make sure he missed the players in front of him.
2-1 and three minutes to be added.
A free-kick was softly awarded to Newcastle and even though it was
straight, the ball had to be headed out by O'Hara for a corner.
The corner kick failed to beat the first man and the ball was kept away
from the penalty area long enough for Chris Foy to blow the final
Once more, it was a relief, but how this
result will affect the team from now on will be put to the test by
Portsmouth on Sunday. But a win, a couple of goals and some more
practice of playing this system might help the side settle to make some