FA CUP 4TH RD REPLAY
WEDNESDAY 3RD FEBRUARY, 2010
LEEDS UNITED 1 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (1)
Referee:- Mr. A. Marriner
Assistants:- Mr. D.S. Bryan & Mr. A. M. Garratt
Fourth Official:- Mr. G. Salisbury
Leeds (4-4-2):- Ankergren; Bromby, Naylor (Capt.), Michalik, Hughes (sub White, 76); Snodgrass, Howson, Doyle, Johnson (sub Crowe, 86); Beckford, Becchio (sub Grella, 86)
Subs not used:- Martin; Robinson, Somma, Hatfield
Booked:- Johnson, Beckford
Spurs (4-4-2):- Gomes; Corluka, Dawson (Capt.), Bassong, Bale; Bentley, Jenas, Huddlestone, Kranjcar; Defoe, Crouch
Subs not used:- Alnwick; Dervite; Palacios, Modric, Parrett, Rose, Fredericks
Our Jermain the hat-trick hero!
Spurs conquered the intimidating atmosphere of a packed Elland Road, the weather and ground conditions and not least a battling and competitive Leeds side who showed they had no intention whatsoever of rolling over to make way for these Premier League giants.
There was plenty of snow in the hours before the game, but the pitch was playable, as the snow had stopped. The ground did however look quite heavy and sodden, but ultimately I think this tested the fitness of the League One players far more than it did the Spurs thoroughbreds. The stadium certainly cranked up the volume levels in the build-up to the game, and ignited the atmosphere with some ancient video on the big screen of goals scored when Leeds were a team to be reckoned with. The home crowd were convinced they’d be “Marching on Together”, but eventually Spurs were the team “marching in” and “on their way to Wembley”
The only down side for the thousands of Spurs fans who had made the trip, and who had been allocated the whole of the South Stand was the frustration of being detained by police inside for a good 45 minutes after the game, then being abandoned to the local yob element outside the stadium having led them part of the way down Elland Road. I witnessed scenes of hostility and threat of violence that I personally have not experienced, well, since the last time we played at Leeds! It’s an intimidating place in all senses, and whilst in a football sense I wish Leeds well, my heart tells me to wish never to have to go to this place again.
There was to be no holding back by Leeds manager Simon Grayson for this game, as he deployed both Beckford and Becchio up front in a 4-4-2 formation. Leeds were missing Kisnorbo and Kilkenny though and made one or two adjustments from the team that played at White Hart Lane with Bromby at right back and the big Michalik marking Crouch – nearly matching his height! Harry Redknapp fielded as strong a side as he could muster apart from reserving Palacios and Modric for the bench. Youngster Dean Parrett and Ryan Fredericks were also amongst the seven substitutes, none of whom were used. It was Fredericks’ first inclusion in a first team squad, and had you seen him, you would have found him a speedy will o’ the wisp on the right wing. It would probably not have been the best environment for his introduction, but the experience must have been awesome for the lad.
Initially, the Spurs centre-back pairing of skipper Dawson and Bassong looked somewhat hesitant and uncertain against the pace and the forays of Jermaine Beckford, and it was Leeds who had the first attempt on goal with Howson trying a curler of a shot from just outside the box after a Leeds corner. The shot passed outside Gomes’ left post. In the first half, Leeds consistently got good possession in key areas, whilst Jenas and Huddlestone failed to master that midfield zone.
David Bentley had a very successful night down the right wing, in partnership with Corluka. Bentley’s delivery was far more threatening than of old, and here is a man seeking to take maximum advantage of this rare opportunity to have a run in the team, and to impress. Bentley even won the ITV man of the match award, but this was announced before Jermain Defoe’s final hat-trick goal to seal the tie. Bentley took a free kick after 7 minutes, which was firstly deflected for a corner, taken by Bentley, but scooped over the bar by Bassong. Spurs’ best chance yet came after 12 minutes, with Bentley and Corluka combining before “Charlie” sent over the cross from which Crouch headed down and Defoe fired wide.
At the other end, Spurs had a brief period of pressure, and Tom Huddlestone hit a poor ball at Doyle who tried a long and low shot through the melee in the Spurs box, which Gomes spotted and picked up comfortably. There was excitement after 18 minutes, when from a high cross from the Leeds right wing hit Gomes’ bar, but Leeds were adjudged to have impeded the keeper unfairly. Gomes was now starting to complain a bit to the referee about Beckford’s physical challenges and obstruction before Leeds corners. Grayson obviously thought he had found one of Gomes’ weak traits.
Bentley delivered a free kick after 21 minutes, from which Crouch’s header was cleared, but there was still plenty of pressure on the Spurs defence, as Gareth Bale did well to recover against Snodgrass on the Spurs left. Bale was then under pressure from two men but got the ball to Jenas, also being pressured. Jenas’s attempted clearance actually rebounded off a Leeds player and let Defoe away in the Leeds half with no fear about offside. Defoe advanced upon goal but Ankergren came out to his feet to make a crucial save, conceding a corner. Soon after that Kranjcar sent a ball down the left flank for Bale, who hit a low hard cross/shot at the keeper, who made the save from which Leeds cleared their lines. Jenas made a good run ahead of Kranjcar down the same flank, but made a mess of his pass inside for the Spurs forwards.
From my position it looked as if Defoe was elbowed in the back as he sought to take advantage of a poor defensive ball. Jermain went down under the challenge but the referee saw no foul. Defoe then had another shot saved after Corluka’s cross and good control and a final pass by Tom Huddlestone. Spurs took the lead in the 37th minute as a result of a slightly freakish goal by Defoe. He received the ball with his back to goal, flicked it over his head and turned but then miss-hit his shoot which looped over the defence and just dipped into the top corner into the net.
Spurs seemed to make the mistake of sitting back on their lead, whilst a fired-up home side tried to get back into the game, and succeeded before the break. Dawson conceded the free kick, taken by Howson and headed goalward by Michalik. Gomes made his best save of the night though as he dived to the left to pluck the ball out of the air just inside the post. Dawson then had to make a great tackle inside his area on Bromby. Crouch provided another header for Defoe, whose effort was saved, before Leeds threatened the Spurs box again, but Gomes was down to a Johnson shot taken from a distance. Spurs suffered a blow and Leeds got back on terms in added time. Firstly they were awarded a corner that should clearly have been a goal-kick, and from the ensuing pressure a high ball was lifted over the defence where Beckford looked offside, but was allowed a shot which Gomes could not hold. Strike partner Becchio was on hand to fire home from close range.
It had been an enthralling first half, and Leeds belied their League One status. Clearly Harry Redknapp had fired up his players to an appropriate degree, as they fought harder and harder, winning more and more of their 50/50 challenges, and started to dominate the game against what looked like the tiring legs of the home players. Defoe was once again fed by a Crouch header and made space for his shot which went over the bar. Then it looked as if Spurs must score as Bentley passed inside for Defoe, who thought about a shot, but then passed to Kranjcar. Niko should have scored and I think his shot was miss-hit a little falling for Crouch at the far post close in, where he managed to fire wide too.
Beckford wasn’t giving up though and managed to collect a pass between the two Spurs central defenders forcing a corner with his deflected attempt on goal. From the corner, Spurs just about managed to scramble the ball clear, under great pressure. Beckford and Becchio tried again, won a corner, and Gomes had to make another save from a close range effort at the far post.
Michael Dawson hit a near post header just over the bar from a Spurs corner, and then Huddlestone hit a rising shot just over the corner stanchion after Bentley’s cross and some battling by Crouch. Bentley got the better of his marker and cut inside from near the half-way line before unleashing a powerful left foot shot that was tipped over the bar. Defoe got the ball in the net after 67 minutes, when Bale and Kranjcar worked the ball down the left, before Defoe converted Bale’s hard low cross. Spurs were denied by the offside flag.
The Spurs possession and pressure finally told, and they got the crucial second goal in the 73rd minute. After a short corner by Bentley and Jenas, Jenas eventually hit a short pass back to Bentley who hit an excellent low driven cross into the 6 yard box, where Defoe got the touch that sent the ball into the net at the far post. That really was the telling moment of the game, and one felt that Spurs really were on their way to Bolton at least for the next round.
Leeds took a couple of bookings (Johnson and Beckford) in the face of Spurs pressure, and it was Spurs who came closest again when Bale lifted a cross over the keeper for Crouch to hit a header that landed on the bar. Leeds did have a couple of late corners, from which Spurs managed to clear, and the coup de grace was delivered on the counter from a final Leeds rally. The ball was cleared to the un-marked Defoe who raced towards goal with only Ankergren to beat. Jermain rounded the Dane to complete his hat-trick and a convincing Cup victory for Spurs, who now travel on St. Valentine’s Day to Bolton
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