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Spurs v Newport, 07.02.18

THE EMIRATES FA CUP
FOURTH ROUND REPLAY
WEDNESDAY 7TH FEBRUARY, 2018
(7.45pm - at Wembley)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(2) NEWPORT COUNTY 0(0)

Scorers:-
Butler (own goal), 26 Lamela, 34

Attendance:- 38,947

Referee:- Stuart Attwell
Assistants:- Stuart Burt & Harry Lennard
Fourth official:- Kevin Friend
Video assistant referee:- Graham Scott
Additional video assistant referee:- Darren Cann

Teams:-
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Vorm (Capt.); Aurier, Foyth, Alderweireld, Rose (sub Walker-Peters, 86); Wanyama (sub Dele, 78), Winks; Sissoko, Lamela, Son (sub Eriksen, 61); Llorente

Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Trippier, Sanchez; Kane

Booked:- Wanyama (foul on Labadie)

Newport (4-4-1-1):- Day; Pipe (sub McCoulsky, 67), White (sub O’Brien, 77), Demetriou, Butler; Willmott, Tozer (sub Dolan, 59), Labadie (Capt.), Bennett; Nouble; Amond

Subs not used:- Bittner; Reid; Sheehan; Hayes

No bookings

Lamela goal seals routine win for Spurs

It took the best part of the first half for Spurs to seal this FA Cup fourth round replay, but once Erik Lamela had added to the own goal by Newport left back Daniel Butler, the game was never beyond doubt. Newport’s army of 7-8,000 fans gave one or two renditions of “Amber Army” and wholeheartedly booed substitute Dele Alli when he made his late entrance, but otherwise even they were fairly quiet. The Spurs crowd was subdued, and below 40,000. Like the team, they have bigger fish to fry in the shape of Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime.

This was Mauricio Pochettino’s 200th game in charge of Spurs, and he was able to make 10 changes from the team which had drawn at Anfield, with Eriksen and Dele his high-profile substitutes. The Spurs team included five changes from the first game at Rodney Parade, whereas Newport manager Michael Flynn fielded the same side which had so scared Tottenham until that late Kane equaliser. Spurs welcomed Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose back to the fray. Toby was making his first appearance since 1st November, when he had to limp off against Real Madrid. Alderweireld was the master beside his apprentice Juan Foyth, who had another competent outing. Danny Rose had a few outings in December and hopefully is back for good this time after his long absence. Harry Winks was also appearing for the first time since December.

Erik Lamela was given the “number 10” role behind Fernando Llorente, who failed to win over the Spurs fans with a couple of misses late in the game. Son Heung-min was Spurs’ other bright spark, next to Lamela, operating on the left side. It was Son who had Spurs’ first effort after three minutes receiving out on the left before coming inside and hitting a shot over the target. Victor Wanyama took an early booking for a foul on the advancing Newport captain Joss Labadie. It was the only booking of the game. Newport’s free kick, taken by Willmott, was blocked by the Spurs wall.

Newport gave the Spurs defence a moment of worry when Willmott crossed from the right and Amond headed over. Harry Winks needed treatment after 18 minutes, but was able to resume. This game was another to use VAR, which needs almost an army of officials. I did not notice that VAR was used, although it did look as if referee Stuart Attwell was communicating via his microphone and earpiece a couple of times during the game.

After 22 minutes Son hit a deflected pass to Sissoko on the right. His low cross was met by Danny Rose beyond the back post, but fired into the side netting. The first goal came courtesy of the fifth own goal of the season to benefit Spurs. Toby Alderweireld got into the Newport half and his ball was carried forward by Aurier, given to Llorente, who passed to Sissoko on the right side. Sissoko hit a low cross and the ball went into the net off the unfortunate left back Daniel Butler. After 29 minutes, Son had the ball on the left and had a shot blocked. The ball ran to Lamela who hit a fine shot well saved by Day. Son picked up the rebound and took the ball close on the right of goal, with Son making another good reflex save. Son had another sot go just outside the post after Rose and Llorente had combined.

Spurs went two up in the 34th minute. Wanyama hit a pass to Son, again down the left, he came inside and passed to Lamela who closed in and hit a well-placed shot past the keeper. The game was over now as a competition, and I felt that Spurs always played within themselves thereafter.

Danny Rose was fouled just outside the box, but Son’s free kick was blocked. Son also had a cross/shot from the left held by Day in the goalmouth. Spurs were now well on top, camped in the Newport half, and after a prolonged passing move, Rose fed Son, whose shot from the edge of the box was held by Day. Day was in front of his own fans, as Newport had kicked off playing towards the West goal. Wanyama had a shot go miles wide after receiving from Son.

Cliff Jones, still looking so fit and dapper, celebrated his 83rd birthday and was interviewed by Paul Coyte at half-time. Cliff had of course been a part of the Spurs side which had beaten Newport 4-0 in 1960, playing against his brother Bryn. I couldn’t relay to you the content of the interview, but I could see that Cliff was presented with a framed programme cover by Pat Jennings, and of course there was a birthday cake too!

It was a bitterly cold night at Wembley and Spurs cheered their fans up with some clever flicks and passes. Four minutes into the second half a long passing move involving Lamela three times, Foyth, and Llorente, ended in son having a shot blocked. Spurs had a corner on the left won by Son and taken by Lamela. Wanyama’s header went into the arms of Joe Day in goal. After a move towards the right featuring Son, Sissoko and Aurier, the right back’s cross was defended and cleared.

After a free kick on the left given for Pipe’s foul on Danny Rose, taken by Lamela, Spurs had a move after Son’s touch and a chance for Llorente, pushed side, but offside anyway. Son was the first Spurs player to be replaced (by Eriksen) and no doubt will be required to start on Saturday. After 60 minutes, Llorente pushed the ball onto Lamela to his left. Erik had one shot well saved by Day before actually running the ball out for a goal kick. Llorente and Lamela combined when passing out to Danny Rose on the left. Rose’s ball inside went to Eriksen who pulled his shot wide. Michel Vorm was required to punch clear after a Newport attack, and Spurs made a beak through Eriksen. Lamela exchanged passes with Harry Winks, but was offside for the return ball. The game was looking more like a training exercise now with the Spurs passing game.

Sissoko passed to Lamela who chipped a ball to Llorente, who managed to head wide when he should have done better. Llorente had another perfect opportunity after a good ball by Eriksen, but fired wide across the goal. Eriksen provided another masterful pass to put Dele Alli through. Dele hit a rising shot which clipped the top of the bar. Dele had another good effort receiving from Aurier, hitting a shot which was well saved by Day, before Spurs won another corner through Lamela’s effort. Substitute Kyle Walker-Peters had a chance in added time at the end of another long passing move, but hit his right footed shot over the bar. Newport did have late efforts through Butler (blocked) and Amond (well saved by Vorm), but Spurs had secured their passage to the Fifth Round when they will play Rochdale for the very first time.

Already the Spotland pitch which is covered by a lot of sand is being mentioned as a risk for Spurs. I understand there may be 3,500 tickets available for Spurs fans so a good atmosphere is guaranteed!

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