Thursday, November 09, 2006

March Report - Spurs v Port Vale

8th November, 2006
Spurs 3 Port Vale 1 (aet) Carling Cup 4th Round

Spurs lost their perfect home record agaunst Port Vale over ninety minutes but proved too strong in extra time for the Coca Cola Division 1 side. Spurs had won all of their previous seven home League and Cup games against Port vale but had to come from a goal down and be satisfied with a 1-1 scoreline at full-time to take the game into an extra half-hour.

Martin Jol only selected Michael Dawson from the team which had played so well in the last two wins over Brugge and Chelsea - the others were either out through injury or rested. Cerny returned in goal and Ifil and Lee were the full backs with Dawson partnered by Dorian Dervite making his debut. The midfield was Davids who captained the side, Murphy, Huddlestone and Steed Malbranque who made his long awaited debut following his operation, having signed from Fulham in August. Defoe was partnered by Barcham as Mido was injured in training. Jol had experience in reserve with Lennon, Ghaly and Berbatov on the substitutes bench.

Spurs exerted most of the pressure throughout but in spite of winning a number of corners and creating half chances, they were unable to score through a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping by Mark Goodlad. Spurs were troubled little in defence but were unable to rais ethe game sufficiently to really worry Port Vale who worked very hard throughout.

Eventually, it had to happen. Port Vale scored, after 64 minutes when their leading scorer, Leon Constantine prodded the ball through Cerny's legs. Spurs were stunned and a packed White Hart Lane thought they were going to be looking at another giant-killing act to match Southend's victory over Manchester United.

Would the euphoria of the Chelsea win be swept away by Port Vale? Martin Jol was taking no chances - he immediately sent on Berbatov and Ghaly to join Lennon who had come on just before the goal. Spurs looked livelier but still couldn't score that vital goal. Time wore on and with only ten minutes left Tom Huddlestone put in a free kick which evaded everyone and ended up in the net. His first goal for Spurs was so important and gave Spurs the breathing space and confidence they needed.

Two minutes into extra time, Spurs went ahead. A Spurs' attack was cleared, Berbatov picked up the ball and rolled it out to Huddlestone who fired home from thirty yards. A late goal by Defoe from an Ifil cross secured Spurs path to the quarter finals, having overcome a very hard working Port Vale.


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