With three first half goals, Spurs turned around a rousing start by
Doncaster Rovers to put them on the way to a Third Round League Cup
place with some clinical finishing.
A much changed Spurs team were finding it
hard to establish their credentials inside the first five minutes of the
game, relying on Carlo Cudicini to pull off two outstanding saves to
stop Doncaster getting a foothold in the game. His first stop from
James Hayter's volley was top class and his reflexes to stop the ball
from six yards out were razor sharp considering the game was only 80
seconds old. The back-up keeper pressed his place for a regular
start when he produced another similar save four minutes later, this
time disappointing Oster, who struck Chambers' right wing cross sweetly
towards the keeper's left hand post.
When a goal came it was against the run
of play, as Tottenham had been unable to break out of their own half
until Tom Huddlestone robbed the ball as a pass by Adam Lockwood failed
to reach its target in Sam Hird, courtesy of the rain on the turf
slowing it down. This allowed Tom to stride forward and place his
shot out of the reach of keeper Ben Smith to put Spurs 1-0 up in the
Before Rovers could re-group, it was 2-0
to Spurs. David Bentley did well on the right to produce a low
ball into the path of Jamie O'Hara, via Crouch's touch, who had time to
put the ball in the top corner of the goal in the 11th minute. It
was a considered finish that put Tottenham into a comfortable position
and allowed the side to go forward with vigour.
Bentley put a cross over from a free-kick
that Corluka headed without too much power, letting Smith save the ball
in front of the line, but then Doncaster came back into the match.
Hayter knocked the ball on for Oster to shoot to Cudicini's left and the
goalie was sharply down to turn the ball wide of the goal. The
roles were reversed with 15 minutes on the clock, but this time Carlo
did not need to save, although the ball narrowly missed the target.
Getting a rare start in the side, Giovani
dos Santos showed what Ipswich fans had witnessed last season, when he
drifted in from the right to fire a shot on goal, but it was blocked for
a corner, but from it, Bentley's short ball allowed the Mexican to come
in from the right flank to hit a shot that Smith saved. The loose
ball ran out to Roman Pavlyuchenko, but it must have got to him a bit
quicker than he expected as he could only hit it way over the bar from
about 10 yards out from goal.
A sweeping move that saw Bentley put Kyle
Naughton away down the right and his cross was kicked out by Hird for a
corner, which Bentley put onto Peter Crouch's head to nod past Smith
despite having his shirt pulled by Woods. 3-0 and not even
half-time. With another corner routine and the Doncaster defence
tied up watching Crouch again, the ball was pulled back to O'Hara on the
edge of the box to volley sweetly, but his shot hit the side-netting.
The maker of that chance, David Bentley, was on the end of the next
cross from Gio, but the ball went over the bar. In the last minute
of the half, Alan Hutton made ground on the left and his low cross
headed towards Crouch who shot wide from close in.
The second half started the way the match
had begun. Doncaster forward Guy broke free of a grapple from Bassong to
bend a shot over Cudicini only to see it miss the goal by inches.
Tottenham hit back, with Jamie O'Hara and Hutton working a chance on the
left, that ended with the midfielder bending a shot onto he top of the
net. Spurs then sealed their passge through to the next round with
a fourth goal in the 53rd minute.
Giovani played with his marker on the
left wing and his skill earned him the space to put a cross to the far
post, where Bentley collected the ball and put a left foot curler into
the top corner to record a fine goal. Harry Redknapp took
Sebastien Bassong off to rest him, with Kevin Prince Boateng coming on
in his place, although a reshuffle in the side meant he didn't literally
slip into the centre-half slot. However, with a minute, he found
himself there and a low cross saw him slip and the ball hit his arm that
was propping him up as he slipped. The referee had no sympathy and
despite letting Rovers have a shot from the advantage, pulled the game
back to give a penalty. Martin Woods slotted past Cudicini to give
the home side a foot back in the door.
With the game almost done and dusted,
Rovers showed that they would continue to play their football rather
than resorting to the long ball, as it paid off with a shot against the
bar by Guy bounced back agonisingly out of reach of Hayter who was
following up. Smith made a save from Pavlyuchenko at the other
end, but was helpless when Huddlestone picked off the ball in his own
half, played it on to Boateng. The German-Ghanaian picked out a
long pass along the ground that found Pavlyuchenko's astute run and he
took the ball to the edge of the box before sliding it through Smith's
Spurs were then reduced to long shots, as
Roman and Bentley both hit shots too high, while Doncaster went closer
with a Webster header bounced away off the post. There was just
enough time to allow Giovani to come inside from the right to hit a
trademark shot just wide and to show what he is capable of.
Fielding a weakened team, the players who
came in showed that they are capable of doing a job if they are called
upon and with games against lesser teams, they may be needed to do so.
Good of Harry to give David Button few minutes of first team action to
get him used to it should he be needed and the 5-1 win puts the team
into the next round with a confidence that winning brings.
benny the ball