A brace from Jermain Defoe and a penalty from Emmanuel Adebayor proved to be enough for Tottenham Hotspur to progress to The FA Cup with Budweiser quarter-finals, but not before they suffered a scare against a brave Stevenage side.
Tottenham welcomed Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and Scott Parker back into the side as Harry Redknapp’s men looked to prevent a third straight defeat and a Cup giant-killing against their League Two opponents, but their night got off to a nightmare start.
Cheered on by a large vocal support, Stevenage went on the attack early and found themselves in dreamland two minutes in when they were awarded a penalty after Ryan Nelson’s sliding challenge on Chris Beardsley. The striker picked himself up to send Spurs goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini the wrong way and White Hart Lane into disbelief.
Things got worse for Tottenham before five minutes were up as captain Michael Dawson was stretchered off the pitch after landing awkwardly when challenging Beardsley for a header. Scott Parker took over as skipper as Kyle Walker entered the fray to replace the injured Dawson.
Spurs looked shell-shocked and the quick, attacking play many have become accustomed to seeing this season failed to develop as the Stevenage defence easily cut out any attacking threat, and they continued to press forward in search of a second.
Stevenage had usual full-backs Lawrie Wilson and Scott Laird deployed as wingers, and they were causing problems for Spurs down both flanks, winning several corners and launching a series of attacks. On 17 minutes good work from Wilson down the right resulted in the ball finding Michael Bostwick, and the midfielder came close as he fired a 30-yard strike wide of the post.
The Boro’ had another good chance to double their lead on 25 minutes, an inswinging corner from the right was met by the head of Bostwick, but again he saw his effort fly wide, and within a minute the scores were level.
From the resulting restart, Jermain Defoe latched onto Bale’s long ball forward, and he took one touch before smashing a 20-yard, left foot drive past ex-Tottenham man Chris Day in the Stevenage goal.
23 Carlo Cudicini, 3 Gareth Bale, 4 Younes Kaboul, 7 Aaron Lennon (10 Emmanuel Adebayor 38 minutes), 8 Scott Parker, 11 Rafael van der Vaart, 18 Jermain Defoe, 20 Michael Dawson (C) (28 Kyle Walker, 6), 21 Niko Kranjcar (29 Jake Livermore, 80), 25 Danny Rose, 33 Ryan Nelsen
Substitutes not used 24 Brad Friedel, 13 William Gallas, 14 Luka Modric, 17 Giovani Dos Santos
16 Chris Day, 2 Lawrie Wilson, 3 Scott Laird, 4 Darius Charles (11 Jennison Myrie-Williams 61 minutes), 5 Jon Ashton, 13 Joel Byrom, 14 Mark Roberts (C), 20 Chris Beardsley (10 Craig Reid 61 minutes), 24 Michael Bostwick, 25 Ronnie Henry, 32 Robin Shroot
Substitutes not used 1 Alan Julian, 6 Phil Edwards, 8 Stacy Long, 12 Ben May, 17 Peter Winn
Referee Mr M Oliver
Assistant Referees Mr A Garratt, Mr S Ledger
Fourth Official Mr J Moss
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