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Spurs face another cup replay after being held up at Rochdale

Tottenham come from behind at Spotland only to slip up in dying seconds

19 February, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

FA Cup 
ROCHDALE 2 (Henderson, 45 Davies, 90+3)
SPURS 2 (Moura 59, Kane 87 pen)

ROCHDALE earned themselves an evening out at Wembley as they held Tottenham to a 2-2 draw in a well balanced FA Cup fifth round tie.

The League One side took the lead against their Premiership opponents at the end of first half through Ian Henderson but it looked like their dreams of a stunning cup upset were to be scuppered when Spurs hit back twice in the second half. A last minute equaliser, however, from substitute Steven Davies evened things up.

Spurs looked disjointed in the first half with Mauricio Pochettino choosing a group of players who, for all their individual talent, did not gel as a make shift team.

Fernando Llorente had a good chance mid-way through the opening period but shipped his effort narrowly wide, while Heung-Min Son also saw a shot saved. Tottenham had the firepower, but they looked a little meek when opportunities presented themselves.

This is to take nothing away from Rochdale, who have won just five times all season in League One. They set about their illustrious opponents with purpose and the newly laid pitch also acted as a leveller: the ball bobbled across the turf and players looked at times unsure of their footing.

It was a free flowing move from the home side that got them in front. Spurs were hit on the counter attack on 45 minutes and Henderson was played into space. His effort, his sixth FA Cup goal in this year’s competition, gave Michel Vorm no chance.

A half time reorganisation by Pochettino took effect, and Lucas Moura stepped up when they needed some zip. Spurs had begun to take control as the half wore on and a dinked ball into the debutant’s path – his first start in a professional match for 274 days – was finished well. Suddenly Spurs scented blood and when Dele Alli and Harry Kane came on, the chances piled up. With three minutes of normal time remaining, Alli was played in and unceremoniously upended by the cantering Rochdale defender Harrison McGahey.

Kane duly despatched the spot kick and it looked like Rochdale hearts were to be broken. Then, as Spurs seemed to be casting their minds to what seat they’d be choosing on the team bus home, a last ditch Rochdale attack saw the ball lofted over. Tottenham’s defence were guilty of ball watching and Davies thumped home – earning a well deserved replay and a windfall at Wembley.

If Tottenham do find themselves in the final come May, they will look back at two early rounds where they stumbled their way past lowly opposition and rode their luck. Such is the nature of the FA Cup.

ROCHDALE: Lillis, Rafferty (Rathbone 81), McNulty, McGahey, Humphrys (Davies 75), Camps, Done, Delaney, Cannon, Kitching, Henderson.
Sub not used: Ntlhe, Thompson, Inman, Moore, Adshead.

SPURS: Vorm, Trippier, Alderweireld, Foyth, Rose, Wanyama, Winks (Lamela, 62), Sissoko, Moura (Alli 71) Son, Llorente (Kane, 76).
Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Walker-Peters, Dier.

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