With a trek to a new ground and the prospect of a few goals, it proved
to be a night to remember, but a team and a ground to forget, as Spurs
ran in five goals without reply at the "temporary home of football in
Milton Keynes", as the slogan over the turnstiles said.
Having lost at Grimsby Town last season, the
League Cup held some terrors for Tottenham and the first minute break by
the McDons might have signalled another uncomfortable night. Platt
played a pass along the ground to star striker Izale McLeod between the
two centre-halves, but Anthony got a long leg stretching to nick the
ball away at the last minute. It was a source of wonderment as to
why the McDons started humping high balls into the Spurs penalty box to
try and make some sort of breakthrough. Having gained a good
chance by playing the ball on the floor, it appeared that they resorted
to type to unsettle Tottenham at the back.
Needless to say, even with Gardner and
Davenport playing together for the first time in ages, it failed to reap
dividends. Long range shooting was the closest they came in the
first half after than. Platt and McLeod twice tested reserve
keeper Radek Cerny, but his handling on this very wet night was sound.
The closest the home side came to scoring was when Lloyd Dyer drifted
through the middle of the defence and was brought down by Tom
Huddlestone, which earned him a booking. The free-kick was curled
over with 25 minutes on the clock. He also stole into the area and
only a well-timed block by Davenport stopped the ball heading goal-wards.
Meanwhile, Spurs were gradually getting
their game together. With the swirling wind in the open stadium
and with the McDons putting in a lot of effort and adopting a physical
approach, the Tottenham players were aware of the likely of getting
caught by a tackle and their passing was a little hurried. Davids
drilled an effort a foot or so wide, before Defoe came inside from the
left wing to hit a low shot that brought the magnificently named Adolfo
Baines into action to dive to save.
However, the McDons goalie only delayed
the inevitable. With 34 minutes on the clock, Ziegler was set free
down the left wing by a Davids pass and his low ball into the area was
met at the near post, as Mido got across his marker to knock the ball
across the keeper and high into the net. It was a good move by
Mido to get into the scoring position and from this point, the game
opened up for Tottenham.
Panic in the McDons defence saw a
defender hack at a Ziegler free-kick that was played into the box.
The ball ballooned up into the air and with Baines watching it come down
closely, the ball bounced on the top of the bar before going behind for
a corner. The second goal came a few minutes before the break and
was another well-worked move. Mido turned creator and played the
ball expertly through the middle and despite some calls for offside from
the home support, Jermain took the ball on and then lifted it gently
over the goalkeeper as he raced out. It was an expert finish and
to go in 2-0 up at half-time gave Tottenham's much changed team the
opportunity to take it easier in the second period.
All nature of fal-da-ree took place at
half-time, involving small children kicking a football into a Bouncy
Castle, while people in clown trousers, seven foot tall mice and two
costumed people dresses as cows cavorted on the pitch. More
importantly, Michael Dawson replaced Davenport, as the threat from the
long ball failed to increase, but that didn't stop the League Two side
trying. As the attacks come in, they won a series of free-kicks
from an over-generous referee. One ended with Dean Lewington
curling one wide, but it did not threaten the goal that much. The
defender came closer near the end with a 35 yard shot that dipped just a
little too late.
Six minutes into the second half, the
game was effectively over. Hossam Ghaly tried to walk through two
defenders in front of him on the edge of the area, but the ball bounced
off a leg to Huddlestone, who lifted the ball over an outstretched MK
leg. It was a delicate pass and fell right into the path of Defoe,
who was just inside of the box and completed a double with a side-foot
finish past Baines to make it 3-0.
Eight minutes on and it was four.
Murphy's pass was inch perfect, as it looked for all the world that it
would be cut out by the defender, but it reached Defoe who bore dons on
goal from the left and hit a low shot that the keeper kept it out with
his legs and unfortunately, it fell right into Mido's path, who put it
low back past him.
Jermain was keen to hit his treble, with
another run in from the left, but he hit his shot across the keeper, but
too far wide and later lifted what looked to be a cross to the far post,
but probably was an effort on goal that drifted over Baines, but a yard
wide. Spurs were over-running the home team at this stage.
However, as Spurs made some
substitutions, they gave the McDons a chance to make a bit of a go of it
and McLeod shot wide, Cerny had to reach up to push over a Wilbraham
shot from close range and McLeod struck Crooks' low cross against the
post, when he should have scored and even managed to put the rebound
over the crossbar. McLeod was getting all the chances falling to
him and under pressure from Dawson pulled his shot across the goal when
well-placed and Cerny had to claw the ball out from under the bar, as
the striker moved in to finish it off, when the ball had been
pin-balling around the area.
Substitute Gareth Edds struck a fierce
shot, but Anthony Gardner got his body in the way. Robbie Keane
had come on for Defoe and although he tried a few flicks, which failed
to come off, when Drillo headed a through-ball up in the air, Keano was
first onto it and struck the ball low past Baines on the half-volley.
Luckily, the rain did not persist
throughout the game, as it would have made watching the match a
nightmare and luckily, the Spurs team put in a professional performance
to see off the side from the bottom league. What could have been
embarrassing, turned into a comprehensive win and in the grander scheme
of things, this is the way that things should end up.
With Watford to come, then Brugge and
after Chelsea Port Vale, it is time for a consistent run to bring in the
points and push forward on two cup fronts.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - HOSSAM GHALY