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Spurs march on despite Stevenage effort

Tottenham get there in the end but they had to come from behind.

Harry Redknapp with the FA Cup mascot.
Harry Redknapp with the FA Cup mascot.
Image: Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR WERE made to work hard tonight as they overcame Stevenage Borough 3-1 at home in an FA Cup fifth-round replay.

The League One visitors took a surprise lead just four minutes into the match at White Hart Lane, as Joel Byrom won and converted a penalty, before Jermain Defoe equalised mid-way through the first half.

Emmanuel Adebayor’s spot-kick gave Spurs the lead 10 minutes into the second half, and Defoe rolled in a third goal late on to seal his team’s place in the quarter-finals.

Gary Smith’s Stevenage made a dream start to the match when Byrom darted into the box and was tripped by Ryan Nelson, with referee Michael Oliver pointing to the spot.

Byrom the beat Spurs goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini to send the travelling support into riotous celebration. Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was dealt a further blow just minutes later when centre-back Michael Dawson landed awkwardly and had to be replaced by Kyle Walker.

Stevenage came close to doubling their lead when Jon Ashton headed Byrom’s deep free-kick over the crossbar. Spurs then levelled proceedings against the run of play.

Gareth Bale heaved a hopeful long ball forward to Defoe, who brought the ball under control with one touch before lashing a 20-yard shot past Stevenage goalkeeper Chris Day. Spurs were forced to make another change when Aaron Lennon limped off injured, with Emmanuel Adebayor introduced in his place.

Defoe had the ball in the back of the net three minutes into the second half after flicking home Walker’s cross, but the strike was correctly ruled out for offside. The visitors went close to taking the lead just moments later, when Byrom’s corner caused chaos in the Spurs area. Mark Roberts pounced on the ball, but his effort was smothered by Cudicini.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Jermain Defoe scores their first goal during their FA Cup fifth round replay. AFP PHOTO/GLYN KIRK

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From a chance to be the hero, defender Roberts then became the villain for Stevenage. He fouled Bale in the box, resulting in the second penalty of the match, which was confidently slotted home by substitute Adebayor. Bale could have made it 3-1 when he rattled the crossbar with an audacious 30-yard shot.  Despite falling behind, the underdogs were not finished yet, as Michael Bostwick stung Cudicini’s gloves with a long-range effort.

From the resulting corner, another scramble saw Walker’s header come off his own bar and nearly drop in, before Bostwick’s toe-poke was cleared off the line by Bale. Spurs finally gained a comfortable lead when Bale took a quick throw-in, launching the ball into the path of Defoe, who slotted past Day to earn his team a two-goal cushion.

Tottenham, who have not won the FA Cup since 1991, now progress to the last eight of the competition, where they will face last season’s semi-finalists Bolton Wanderers.

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