Fan Report: Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Leeds United

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“Oh well, these things happen” said the bloke behind me as Jermaine Beckford ran towards the partying Leeds fans after 96 minutes of rousing cup action at White Hart Lane. I’m not sure that philosophical view was taken by all Spurs fans who’d spent the previous couple of hours watching Tottenham promise but fail to deliver. 

Harry’s tactical gamble of leaving Palacios on the bench and giving starts to Hutton and Rose looked to be succeeding early on as we piled on the pressure. Unfortunately Casper Ankergren had taken on the role of the Unfriendly Ghost as the spirit of Boaz Myhill occupied the Leeds keeper. Early shots from Defoe, Kranjcar and Bale were all turned aside or over and when Rose was flattened in the box he flung himself to his left to turn aside Defoe’s penalty. Beckford’s late spot kick was in total contrast to Defoe’s timid side footed effort.

In the end our early domination dissipated with no reward and it was during Leeds best spell of the game thus far that we actually took the lead. Gareth Bale got past Howson easily and though Ankergren saved Kranjcar’s shot from his cutback, he could do nothing about Crouch’s follow up. Jenas had a great chance to make it two just before half time but scooped his left foot shot over from 10 yards.

Leeds scored straight after the break when we defended a corner in particularly indecisive fashion. It was a shitey goal to give away and obviously gave immediate encouragement to the away team and supporters. 

Leeds had been getting the better of us in midfield as Jenas and Modric failed to cope with their extra man in the middle. Rose had been ineffectual all game and was replaced by Palacios after 56 minutes. We looked better straight away without quite recapturing our early authority. Redknapp went for shit or bust after 71 minutes by bringing on Pav and Robbie for Crouch and Kranjcar. He looked like a tactical genius just a few minutes later as Super Pavlyuchenko combined well with Defoe after a typically forceful Palacios run and finished in the bottom corner. Oddly, he threw his gloves into the crowd during his goal celebration. It looked like normal service had been resumed as the Leeds players heads dropped and their fans quietened. Bale got to the byeline a few times and Defoe wriggled into space regularly but we couldn’t force the goal that would have killed the game off.

Beckford’s pace and confidence had been a source of danger all afternoon and both Bassong & Dawson had struggled to keep track of him. It was the latter who felled him in the box when he was going nowhere and that’s the reason we’re all going to Yorkshire next week to try again.

Overall we had the better of this game, that’s what the stats show certainly, but I don’t think we can moan overmuch about the result. We were outthought tactically for long periods & outnumbered us in midfield. We went route one way too often which is possibly why Harry took Crouch off even though it wasn’t his fault. Bale supplied the only real width as Rose struggled. Leeds were very physical (six yellow cards) and will be the same at Elland Road where we’ll be lucky to get as many decisions as we did in this game. Hopefully Harry has learnt a lesson and we’ll start with our strongest team in the replay. Also hopefully, that team will include Aaron Lennon.

By MF

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