Monday, February 15, 2010

Jussi Jaaskelainen saves a penalty

- Davies, K 34

- Defoe 61

**When Bolton Wanderers travel to White Hart Lane for an FA Cup 5th round replay neither of these sides will want, Tottenham are unlikely to hold out much hope of sneaking through on a penalty shoot-out.

Tom Huddlestone, drafted in to replace Jermain Defoe on spot-kick duties after the striker had missed six of his last 10 attempts, passed a simple effort straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen, spurning the chance to kill the tie after Defoe had equalised Kevin Davies’s opener.

Such is Tottenham’s luck at the Reebok Stadium. Spurs have won just once here - in the Carling Cup - since Bolton relocated here. That they do not enjoy their trips up the M61 was evidenced by a first half in which Owen Coyle’s side overpowered, overran their more illustrious guests.

Johan Elmander saw one effort blocked by Vedran Corluka in the opening exchanges, Zat Knight sliced wildly after Spurs failed to clear a Paul Robinson free kick. Elmander would go one better, though, ballooning an effort when Ricardo Gardner’s clever through ball had left him with just Heurelho Gomes to beat.

The Swedish striker, at £9 million Bolton’s record signing, became a cross for Coyle’s predecessor, Gary Megson, to bear, his very presence seemingly confirming his wastefulness, his failure to use what resources he had correctly.

But here, Elmander at least offered glimpses of what made him so coveted in his time at Toulouse. It was his charge, his one-two with the ever-excellent Chung-Yong Lee, which created Davies’s opening goal after a move comprising 17 passes, and it was he who was at the heart of Bolton’s surge to extend their lead after the break. Twice they went close, twice Elmander was at the heart of the moves.

The scare seemed to galvanise the visitors. Tottenham’s much-vaunted attacking quartet, conspicuous by their absence for much of the opening hour, suddenly clicked into gear. Twice in little more than 60 seconds Redknapp’s side hit the bar, first as Peter Crouch beat Jussi Jaaskelainen to Defoe’s chipped cross, then when Paul Robinson stumbled onto Wilson Palacios’s cut-back and contrived to clip the ball over Jaaskelainen.

The warning signs, certainly, were there. Spurs, so anaemic before the break, matched Bolton’s commitment, both sides pouring forward. David Bentley, for once foregoing his repertoire of unnecessary, pointless step-overs, launched a heat-seeker which only narrowly evaded Defoe. The striker, tacitly criticised by his manager before this game, looked pained at his failure to judge the flight of the pass. A moment later, he would not be so profligate.

Bale, impressive on the left, scampered down the touchline, eased past Gretar Steinsson, sauntered into the box and picked out Defoe, inexplicably unmarked on the penalty spot. One touch to set himself, little or no backlift, and a fearsome, fizzing, rising drive past Jaaskelainen. Spurs, in the ascendancy, had ample opportunity to settle the tie.

Jaaskelainen dived at full stretch to deny substitute Niko Kranjcar, Palacios rocketed a left-footed effort just over. Then Crouch, indulging in a little light ball-juggling, dancing towards goal, found Sam Ricketts’ outstretched arm, Phil Dowd pointed to the spot and Huddlestone, replacing Defoe, found himself with the best chance of all. The Finn, low to his right, pushed his weak effort away.

Teams :

Bolton Wanderers :
Jussi Jaaskelainen, Paul Robinson, Samuel Ricketts, Zat Knight (Andrew O'Brien 63), Gretar Rafn Steinsson, Matthew Taylor (Tamir Cohen 88), Ricardo Gardner, Fabrice Muamba, Chung-yong Lee (Mark Davies 74), Kevin Davies, Johan Elmander

Tottenham Hotspur : Gomes, Ledley King,Michael Dawson, Gareth Bale, Vedran Corluka, David Bentley, Tom Huddlestone, Luka Modric (Niko Kranjcar 63), Wilson Palacios, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe


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