Stevenage stifle Spurs
League One outfit hold Premier League title-chasers
Last Updated: February 19, 2012 10:39pm
Luke Freeman and Stevenage were able to contain the threat of Jake Livermore and Tottenham
Stevenage will go to White Hart Lane for an FA Cup fifth round replay after holding Premier League title-chasers Tottenham to a goalless draw.
The League One play-off hopefuls more than held their own on home soil and they continue to cling to their dream of gracing the quarter-finals.
Louis Saha came closest to breaking the deadlock on Sunday, with the Frenchman finding the back of the net in the second half.
He was, however, to see his effort chalked off as it struck Scott Parker on the line and the midfielder had strayed into an offside position.
Tottenham, the highest ranked club left in the competition, were huge favourites to win against Boro, who only two years ago were playing non-league football.
Just eight days ago, Spurs waltzed past Newcastle with a fine display of attacking football, but on Sunday they looked out of sorts and never settled into their rhythm.
Credit must go to Stevenage, however. The Hertfordshire club, who are in contention for their third successive promotion, were given a massive reception from the 7,100 fans inside the packed out stadium and they responded with a gritty display.
Stevenage bombarded the Spurs box in the opening few minutes and the visitors were rattled.
Boro thought they should have had a penalty when Michael Dawson appeared to handle when jumping with Michael Roberts, but referee Phil Dowd waved play on.
Moments later Carlo Cudicini dropped the ball while going for a lob into the box but he quickly recovered to collect.
Spurs, who were playing in a 3-5-2 formation, failed to create a chance in a scrappy opening 15 minutes but Danny Rose found space down the left after skipping past Ronnie Henry, but Jermain Defoe shot wide under pressure.
Stevenage were dictating most of the play and Spurs boss Harry Redknapp spent most of the opening 25 minutes on the touchline barking at his players.
Saha suddenly found space in the box but he could only fire wide.
The bobbly pitch, which was starting to cut up, and good tackling from the Stevenage players, meant Spurs struggled to produce their usual enterprising attacking football.
Rose was proving a lively presence down the left, though.
The England U21 international clipped a dangerous ball across the box but Jake Livermore's glancing header went just wide.
Saha felt he should have been awarded a penalty eight minutes before the break when he went down in the Boro box while going for a volley, but Dowd ignored his pleas.
Cudicini tipped Scott Laird's header wide soon after at the other end before Joel Byrom entered the book for a nasty challenge on Scott Parker.
Jon Ashton fouled Defoe on the edge of the box in the 43rd minute and Younes Kaboul hammered the set-piece just inches wide.
Tottenham came out with much more purpose at the start of the second half and almost took the lead through Gareth Bale.
The Welshman, playing behind the two strikers, strode past two Boro defenders and hammered a brilliant shot which former Tottenham goalkeeper Chris Day did well to tip around the post.
Saha wriggled free in the box, met Rose's cross and fired home through a sea of players, but the linesman flagged to disallow the goal for offside after the ball touched Parker, who was on the line, on the way in.
Stevenage came forward once more and went close to scoring through Luke Freeman, who blasted a shot a couple of yards wide.
Byrom hammered a shot from the edge of the area that whistled just over Cudicini's goal.
The Italian then dropped another Byrom shot, but Ryan Nelsen came to his rescue.
Bale, now operating down the right, galloped free and fired a low call across the box but Saha tried a backheel that failed miserably, dribbling into Day's arms.
Stevenage were not content with holding on for a draw, though, and they came forward through Freeman, who fired straight in to Cudicini's arms.
Cowan's clever backheel sent May free in the final minute but Kaboul tracked back to clear.Three minutes of injury time were added and both teams went for a winner but neither could score and the tie went to a replay.
|Stevenage||Team Statistics||Tottenham Hotspur|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||3|
|6||Shots off Target||10|
|39.9||1st Half Poss.||60.1|
|30.9||2nd Half Poss.||69.1|
Stevenage v Tottenham
Tottenham winger Danny Rose insists playing in Sunday's FA Cup goalless draw at Stevenage was a real eye-opener in terms of experience.
Harry Redknapp has revealed that a number of his players were not fit to feature against Stevenage in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.
Stevenage boss Gary Smith was full of praise for his players after seeing them book an FA Cup fifth round replay with Tottenham.