DATE Sunday 18th February 2018
VENUE Crown Oil Arena
3.  Kgosi HTLHE
4.  Jimmy McNULTY
5.  Niall CANAVAN
6.  Harrison McGAHEY
7.  Stephen HUMPHRYS
8.  Reece BROWN
9.  Calvin ANDREW
10.  Callum CAMPS
12.  Scott WISEMAN
14.  Oliver RATHBONE
16.  Matt DONE
17.  Brad INMAN
18.  Keith KEANE
19.  Steven DAVIS
21.  Ryan DELANEY
22.  Brendan MOORE
23.  Steve COLLIS
25.  Daniel ADSHEAD
27.  Andy CANNON
28.  Aaron MORLEY
30.  Billy KNOTT
31.  Sam HART
32.  Mark KITCHING
33.  Mihai DOBRE
36.  Matty GILLAM
PREVIEW This sort of tie is what the FA Cup is all about.  David v Goliath.  Favourite v Giant-killer.  Top dog v Minnow.  All the cliches come out to encompass the emotion that the competition brings out when a big club is drawn against a little 'un.  And the stories that come out of a game between two such disparate sides can sway neutral's support.  Rochdale have a double cancer survivor and a teenager, who will be back at school at nine o'clock Monday morning.

Of course, there is the other side, with Premier League players having to muck it in the cramped changing rooms with only cold water and the state of the pitch, but we have been through the latter and the vast strand of yellow sand that Millwall were knocked out on has been replaced with greensward, but how it has knitted, we will find out on Sunday.  Some players will not have experienced the lower leagues and for Lucas Moura and others, it will be a shock to their system after recent games at Wembley and Juventus.  However, Harry Kane will be used to it having made his debut at Spotland, even though the members of the home club's staff who were involved that day for the visit of Leyton Orient (where he was on loan) claim not to remember it.

Rochdale may see this is  their biggest day as a club for a number of years, but sitting in a precarious position in League One, they have split ambitions.  With veteran striker Calvin Andrew (formerly once of Crystal Palace) out injured and a number of their loan players already cup-tied, Keith Hill has a considerably reduced squad to pick from.  There are not many household names in the Rochdale team, but Ian Henderson scores a lot of goals for them and Matt Done is accustomed top popping up in the right place at the right time to join him on the score-sheet, but this has been a tougher ask for the Dale this season.  Bottom of League One, Rochdale have scored only 29 goals in 28 games and  have won as many games in the FA Cup as they have in the League this season (five).  However, in the FA Cup, they have scored twelve goals and only let in two, but their opposition has been Bromley (home 4-0), Slough Town (away 4-0), Doncaster Rovers (away 1-0) and then Millwall (away 2-2, replay at home 1-0). 

The home side will play a direct game, using the width of the pitch to get balls into the box, where there will be a presence to challenge for them.  If Tottenham can get their passing game going, the effort Rochdale will have to put into defending that style may well wear them down in the latter stages.  A heavy pitch might well have taken a tougher toll on all the players involved, but with the new grass laid, it is supposed to be a fine playing surface and we will find out who it suits most..

When Cup ties like this are thrown together, the pitch is often the leveller when played on a tight heavy surface, but the newly laid Spotland turf might reduce the effect on Spurs, who must approach the game as professionally as they have done those over the last two weeks and I am sure Mauricio Pochettino will have them well prepared.  Even though it might not be a first choice Xi who start, those selected should still be good enough to win, but as we saw at Newport, that doesn't always go to plan.   Rochdale have nothing to lose and can have a go, but Spurs must be ruthless and clinical to ensure they don't go 0-2 down here, as it could be tougher than Juventus to come back.

Poch will have enough on the bench should the team he picks be unable to break Rochdale down, but I expect the tie to go our way and give the star names a bit of a rest.

PREDICTION Rochdale    0        Tottenham Hotspur    4
Calvin Andrew (Achilles tendon) has been ruled out of the match against Spurs, with loanees Scott Wiseman, Alex Dobre, Billy Knott and Sam Hart all cup-tied. 
A number of players will be rested for the game, but Toby Alderweireld, Michel Vorm and  Lucas Moura could start alongside Fernando Llorente and Moussa Sissoko.

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Rochdale  2 (1)  

FA Cup Fifth Round
Sunday 18th February 2018
Crown Oil Arena
Tottenham Hotspur  2 (0)

Kick off 16:00
Henderson  44m 22s
Davies 90+2m 37s
Moura  58m 58s
Kane (p)  87m 49s
Rafferty (foul on Rose)  73 
Rathbone  (foul on Rose)  85
McGahey (foul on Dele)  88 


Alderweireld  (foul on Humphrys)  64



Crowd :   8,480 Weather :  dry, chilly
Referee :  Robert Madley (Wakefield) Assistant Referees :  Mr. S. Bennett; Mrs. S. Massey-Ellis
Fourth Official :  Stephen Martin  
Rochdale kicked off and played towards the Pearl Stand in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 7 minutes.
Rochdale : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Josh LILLIS

  2  Joe RAFFERTY       (14  Oliver RATHBONE  81     )
  6  Harrison McGAHEY     
  Jim McNULTY  (17  Brad INMAN 89)

27  Andy CANNON
  7  Steven HUMPHRYS  (19  Steve DAVIES  75  )
10  Callum CAMPS
16  Matt DONE

40  Ian HENDERSON     

Unused subs: 
22  Brendan MOORE
  3  Ngosi NTLHE
25  Daniel ADSHEAD

  13  Michel VORM  (c)

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER
1  Juan FOYTH
  3  Danny ROSE

12  Victor WANYAMA
29  Harry WINKS  (11  Erik LAMELA  62)

  7  Heung-Min SON
7  Moussa SISSOKO
27  Lucas MOURA    (20  DELE Alli  71)

18  Fernando LLORENTE  (10  Harry KANE  (p)  76)

Unused subs: 
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ

Manager :  Keith Hill Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Crown Oil
Shirt back sponsor : Andrew Kelly Lettings
Sleeve sponsor : JD
Shirt sponsor :  AIA

Kit Supplier :  Errea Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

In a typical cup-tie, it was the underdogs who had their day, coming back with a last minute equaliser to take the tie to a replay at Wembley, although they had led the game until Spurs hit back with two second half goals.  The much criticised pitch had been re-laid and played well, although some Spurs players had trouble keeping their feet, as it cut up from the start, but the level of performance was below what Pochettino would have expected and they were made to pay by Rochdale's willingness to keep going until the end.

Poch had changed all eleven starters from the Juventus game, saying that they are mostly internationals, so should be able to cope with the demands of a game at Rochdale.  At the very start of the game there were a couple of unsure touches by Spurs players on the new Rochdale pitch which looked fantastic, but Lucas Moura showed a good touch, as he sprinted away after winning the ball and almost set up a chance for Son, whose touch just allowed a defender to clear the ball.

Rochdale had done their homework and were pressing Tottenham high up the pitch and their closing was a little too aggressive when Moura made direct runs at their defence and this looked like the greatest danger to the home back line. A good run by Sissoko, who was sent away by Lucas, led to Son and Llorente playing a one-two, but Son again couldn't control the ball when a shot looked on. Straight away Rochdale broke and a long Rafferty cross from the left had to be well defended by Trippier under pressure, at the cost of a corner.

A foul on Moura by Delaney gave Spurs a free kick on the right to allow Trippier to cross one in, There was a lot of blocking off by Rochdale players, but Alderweireld won it and the header looped to the keeper, who then kicked it out, but Llorente stuck out a leg and the ball just went wide of Lillis' goal. It was a free-kick, but it was a bit moot.

Dale started to press forward and had a penalty claim when Toby slipped in his own box and fell on the ball, with a hand involved somewhere, but it would have been harsh. Henderson had a good shot after Wanyama seemed to be pulled back in losing the ball, but it was straight at Vorm.  The referee started to have a word with a couple of players from the home team after late challenges, but they had the best of the middle ten minutes of the half. Foyth played a long ball to Llorente, whose flick found Son. The Korean's shot was blocked by a flying body for a corner and although nothing came of it, it was all a but hustle-bustle, with no team holding the ball for long periods. With 25 minutes gone, Son was released into the area, but his low shot was saved. Son got the rebound and played it short in the box to Sissoko, who then set up Llorente, who had to make himself a yard to shoot, which he did, but put his effort wide of the keeper's left hand post by a foot.

Spurs were starting to get in behind the defence, with Son's cross-field ball to Trippier played first time across the face of goal and when it was recycled, Moura wriggled to shoot over. Rochdale should have tested Vorm, when Camps dinked a pass over the back three for Henderson, but he slashed at it to the left of the goal and it sliced away and didn't even go off on the far side. When Rochdale did get balls into the box, Trippier was winning more than his fair share of headers in the Spurs area.

Moura was enjoying running at the defence and drifted past Delaney, but his ball to the near post was kicked out for a corner. Wanyama found Son with a square ball 25 yards out and he opted to exchange passes with Llorente rather than shoot and he was then crowded out in the area. One better one-two saw Son played in by Moura, but Camps' tackle robbed him of a shooting opportunity and it was a vital tackle.  When Winks lost the ball just over halfway, Rochdale broke and Cannon's pass from the right picked out Henderson on his own in the box to the left and he buried the ball past Vorm level with the penalty spot to give the home side the lead a minute before the break.  It was just 24 seconds from Son's blocked effort to the ball ending up in Tottenham's net.  Spurs should have been a bit more secure than that.

Son had been finding space about 25 yards from goal and Moura's running was a problem for Rochdale, but we were trying to walk the ball in. Llorente was lacking the touch needed in the box and Spurs were not trying to open the defence up by taking players on in wide positions. Sloppy passing and loose tackling were making problems for ourselves.

Spurs kicked off the second half, with no personnel changes, but with Moura lining up on the left. The referee was giving Rochdale the benefit of the doubt on decisions at the start of the half, with Tottenham's passing not being accurate enough to get through to the final third and the space was tight in front of goal and only Winks's driving run forward brought s shot on goal, quickly followed by Son almost creating a chance for Moura, but his pass was too heavy. Rose's passing was especially poor and any forward movement was swiftly curtailed.

It took a well worked move to get us level. Foyth put the ball forward to Llorente, who laid it off first tie to Sissoko and he played it on to Moura, who moved into the box and lifted the ball over the keeper to score from 10 yards out. It had taken a little time in coming, just before the hour, but one good flowing move showed how it should be done.

Rochdale hit a high free-kick into the box soon after the goal and Henderson went down when he ran into Foyth, wanting a penalty, but the ref wasn't interested. He was when Toby tried to knock the ball over Humphrys head 25 yards from the Rochdale goal, but lost out and brought him down. He had trouble standing up all day, but this wasn't one of the incidents he slipped over.

Rochdale had dropped a little deeper and were starting to play passes out of play, whereas the first half's performance saw them finding blue shirts. Camp did have a go from a free-kick wide on the left, when he tried to catch Vorm out, but the effort was off target.

Working the ball made Rochdale run hard and Dele came on for Moura with 71 minutes gone, to try and find the deciding goal. A corner directly after the substitution was flicked on by a Rochdale head that went through to the far post, where Wanyama knocked the ball over the bar from a yard out with his knee. it was a great chance and harder than the one he scores at Anfield with. Dele almost made a chance for himself, when he nut-megged McGahey and shot, but Kitching blocked it and it came off Dele for a goal-kick.

Pochettino called on Harry Kane, replacing Fernando Llorente, with 15 minutes left. Harry won a free kick straight away, but Trippier hit the wall with it. The second half performance by Spurs had been at a different tempo and had pushed Rochdale back as much as they tired and dropped back deep, with Rose making more ground on the left as the game went on.

Erik Lamela was looking sharp again and went close when he played the ball wide left to Son, who found Dele and his cheeky back-heel cross went in front of Lamela, who shot and it looped up towards goal, but it was headed off the line at the far post.  Dele found space when he got behind the Rochdale defence when he was in on goal was deflected into his path eight yards out and McGahey rashly dived in to bring him down. When everyone was expecting the referee to pull out a yellow card, after Wenger's recent comments. but he pointed to the spot and Harry Kane dispatched it to the bottom corner to keeper's right to give Spurs the lead with 83 minutes on the clock.

Spurs were pressing and Rochdale's desperation was giving away the ball and free-kicks, but 30 seconds before the final whistle, a cross came in from the left from Done and Alderweireld didn't get a decent header on it, just glancing the ball and it dropped to substitute Steve Davies and he took a touch and drill it low off Vorms's left hand post for an equaliser at the death. Spurs had looked through, but were now facing another game in trying to get through to the Sixth Round in the replay at Wembley.

The League One side deserved their day in the spotlight and have another one thanks to their determination and the way they went about it. Yes, they were physical and struggled in the second half, but they did try and play football, which in the final outcome won them another go and lots of friends.

It was much the same as Newport in the Fourth Round. Not a great performance and it should have been enough, but Rochdale did to us what we did to Liverpool. It was loose play that cost us and that was up front as well as at the back. Too often players were looking for fouls, when the referee let play go and that took them out of the play.

On the plus side, Lucas Moura looked like he could add something to our game and there was more playing time for Winks, Vorm, Alderweireld and Llorente, but Fernando still looks off the pace and Toby had a torrid time. Sonny looked slightly off his best and Spurs had to bring on Dele and Kane to get them into a winning position and that is a little damning on the eleven who started. Too many passes were poorly weighted and too often players were not making runs they would in bigger matches. Some of that was down to Rochdale's approach, but crisp passing and better movement off the ball would have given the hosts more to think about.

Some of the problem cold have been 11 players who were not used to playing as a team and finding it hard to link up play, but they should have been tried out in training to make it work,  But at, least Spurs live to fight another day and while it is another game, at least we are still in the competition and at Newport we were minutes from going out.

Wembley will need a different approach and if nothing else, they need to show the difference between the two teams is not just 63 places in the league ladder.

The Heathrow Spur


Tottenham's draw was the first time in the club's history they have drawn five successive away games (in all competitions).

Harry Kane's penalty was the club's 450th since they started playing.




Rochdale's ground Spotland was originally called Gracie  Fields.


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What you thought
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Other scores in this round :
Brighton & Hove Albion 3 Coventry City 1 Saturday
Chelsea 4 Hull City 1 Friday
Huddersfield Town 0 Manchester United 2 Saturday
Leicester City 1 Sheffield United 0 Friday
Sheffield Wednesday 0 Swansea City 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 1 Southampton 2 Saturday
Manchester City - - - -day
Wigan Atheltic - - - -day


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone might think so.


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