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Rochdale v Spurs, 18.02.18

THE EMIRATES FA CUP FIFTH ROUND
SUNDAY 18TH FEBRUARY 2018
(4pm)
ROCHDALE 2(1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(0)

Rochdale scorers:-
Henderson, 45
Davies, 90 +3

Spurs scorers: -
Lucas Moura, 59
Kane (pen), 88

Attendance:- 8,480

Referee: Bobby Madley
Assistants: Simon Bennett & Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth Official: Stephen Martin

Teams:-
Rochdale (3-4-2-1):- Lillis; McGahey, McNulty (sub Inman, 89), Delaney; Rafferty (sub Rathbone, 81), Camps, Kitching, Done; Cannon, Humphrys (sub Davies, 75); Henderson (Capt.)

Subs not used: - Moore; Ntlhe; Thompson, Adshead

Booked: - Rafferty (foul on Rose), Rathbone (foul on Rose), McGahey (foul on Dele)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Vorm (Capt.); Trippier, Foyth, Alderweireld, Rose; Wanyama, Winks (sub Lamela, 62); Lucas Moura (sub Dele, 71), Sissoko, Son; Llorente (sub Kane, 76)

Subs not used: - Gazzaniga; Sanchez, Walker-Peters; Dier

Booked: - Alderweireld (foul on Humphrys)

Heroes Rochdale make a late booking for a replay at Wembley

There is a massive cemetery not far down Sandy Lane from Rochdale’s Spotland ground, re-named the Crown Oil Arena. Spurs nearly booked themselves a place in the graveyard in football terms, going a goal down just before half-time to Rochdale captain and top scorer Ian Henderson. They managed a comeback in the second half with a goal on his full debut for Lucas Moura, and a late penalty won by Dele Alli (for which the offending Rochdale player was booked) and converted by Harry Kane. Both Dele and Harry plus Lamela had been inserted in the second half, as Pochettino’s second team failed to make headway against “The Dale”, who are currently at the bottom of League One. We thought we had the game won, and although there would have been no glory in victory, even that was snatched away in the third minute of added time when “Dale”’s substitute Steven Davies grabbed a glorious equaliser. Thus, Spurs have once again given a lower league side the opportunity to visit Wembley – probably on Wednesday 28th February.

Mauricio made eleven changes from the team which had started in Turin, and despite that I felt the players on the pitch (newly laid this week, and fully grassed!) ought to have been capable of beating this League One side. Lucas Moura made a bright start, and certainly shows promise for the future. He’s a player who runs at people and goes around or through them. The majority of his passes gave Spurs further opportunities.

I thought Llorente did okay for most of the time, laying off several balls for those around him, principally Son, but Son was too often the player where our attacks stopped. The bottom line really is that we missed the creative spark usually offered by the likes of Eriksen, Dele, or perhaps Lamela. Rochdale had kicked off, playing towards the Pearl Street Stand. Spurs fans were housed along the side of the pitch in the Willbutts Lane Stand.

After good play by Lucas from the half-way line after only two minutes, Son had a chance on his left foot, but this was cleared, before the goalkeeper was tested – something we failed to do for so much of the time.

My perception was that Rochdale were set up with three at the back, and four in midfield, and perhaps this is why Spurs struggled to make enough headway. Wanyama made an early needless foul on Kitching, who along with Camps was strong for the home side.

Harry Winks brought the ball out of his own half and found Trippier on the right. Trippier crossed to Sissoko, whose pass was touched on by Llorente to Son, who once again failed to get a shot in that counted, with a goal kick resulting. After a foul on Lucas on the right, Trippier took the free kick and Alderweireld glanced a header from the near post. The goalkeeper’s clearance rebounded off an advancing defender I think, and actually hit the post!

Rochdale fans wanted a handball in the Spurs are but got no change out of referee Bobby Madley. The referee had “words” with McGahey over his over-strong challenge in the Spurs half. Kitching was in space to the right of the Spurs area after 17 minutes, passing inside to Henderson, whose shot was held by Vorm. At the other end, Trippier hit a short cross to Sissoko who chipped to Llorente. His header went over anyway, but there was also an offside flag waved by assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis, who we haven’t seen for a while. Llorente headed down for Son again but his right foot effort was blocked by McGahey, at the expense of a corner.

Son seemed to have the goal at his mercy after another Llorente header, but the South Korean did not take the opportunity, choosing to return to Llorente, whose effort passed wide. Son and Trippier combined on the right. Trippier’s cross was too deep and it was returned by Llorente, before Lucas fired wide.

Spurs then lost the ball in their own half with Lucas’s attempted header going to Camps, who chipped a ball to Henderson, who was through but missed to the right of goal. On the plus side Lucas won a corner when he got into the box at the other end. Wanyama fed Llorente who touched the ball to Son, but again there was in decision and failure. Son did have an exchange with Lucas on the edge of the box, but again there was no shot and Lillis in the Rochdale goal had hardly been tested in the first half.

On the other hand, Rochdale did hit the target and it was Cannon who was the provider on the right with Henderson hitting a fine shot past Vorm. The home fans retired for half-time drinks happy, chanting “Dale! Dale!”

Pochettino made no early second half changes, but Lucas was now operating on the left. It took a while for Spurs to forge an opening and after 54 minutes Harry Winks carried the ball forward and had a one-two with Llorente before hitting a left foot shot which the goalkeeper held.

At last Spurs were level, after an hour, and the goal followed good close play by Lucas, Llorente and Sissoko before Lucas was into the box on the left and hit a rising shot past the goalkeeper.

Now Winks was replaced by Lamela and Sissoko took up defensive midfield duties next to Wanyama. Alderweireld had played the first half on the left and hadn’t looked over comfortable, so he swapped with Foyth at half-time. Danny Rose did not seem to be over-exerting himself and sometimes left his defence exposed. Perhaps he is still short of full fitness.

Alderweireld took a yellow card “for the team” when preventing Humphrys from making a break out of the Rochdale half. Sissoko made a good run down the right channel passing to Trippier who hit a low cross which did test the keeper and won a corner. At the other end, Trippier was penalised and Camps hit the free kick just wide of Vorm’s right post.

Dele replaced Lucas Moura, who got a great ovation from the travelling support. Trippier took a corner on the left and after Llorente’s touch Victor Wanyama fired wide when he should have at least hit the target.

Danny Rose started to get stuck in a bit and was fouled at least twice where his opponent was booked. After one such foul, Trippier took the free kick but the ball was blocked by the Rochdale Wall. Llorente was replaced by Kane, who was immediately fouled about 25 yards out. Trippier’s kick was blocked.

There was good combination play between Dele and Son on the left before final ball by Dele to Lamela, who also had a shot blocked. After another foul and booking for the offender who has stopped Rose, the free kick went to Sissoko who hit a right footed shot which took a deflection and was saved.

The penalty was awarded after 86 minutes. Danny Rose had got forward; I think Lamela was also involved but it was Dele Alli who was clearly fouled. Up stepped Harry Kane who convincingly beat the keeper just inside his right post. At least Harry can say he has scored in every round so far. I am sure he is determined to carry on the run.

Whilst we cannot say there would be glory in such a victory, it did look as if victory was ours, but that was grasped away dramatically in the third minute of added time when substitute Davies was unmarked at the back of the area on the right when the ball was crossed by Done from the left, and he fired hard and low past Vorm into the net inside the left post.

Thus, Rochdale have had their day, and I am sure it will be one remembered for many years to come, as grandparents tell grandchildren of the heroics when their team met the “mighty” Spurs for the first time. Of course, we know that Spurs today were not that mighty. We shall have to wait and see whether the same players get the chance to win the replay, but I am sure we will see the first team in the re-arranged Premier league game next Sunday lunchtime at Selhurst Park.

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