Looking Forward


Nottingham Forest  (Away)

FA Cup Fifth Round Replay

Wednesday 2nd March 2005

Same again with the FA Cup and another replay with a Midlands side.  This time we travel away for the re-match and hope to overcome a Forest side which is experiencing a resurgence under new boss Gary Megson.

With the 4-3-3 system employed by Jol in the first game not working and the three forward experiment throwing the balance of the side out, a return to 4-4-2 will see Spurs more comfortable and with a greater opportunity of creating more against a determined Nottingham team.  The tactic of throwing everyone behind the ball and hitting Tottenham on the break proved successful for them at the Lane, but Spurs might now be ready for that and will aim to pressure the home side into having to defend.  There will need to be better use of the ball, as Tottenham were profligate with it in the first match and also they will need to show more invention to open up the Forest defence.  Paul Gerrard will return in goal after being suspended for the initial tie, while the main man for them in the first game Kris Commins will be on for Tottenham to keep quiet.

For Spurs, the opportunity to progress should give them the impetus to go for the jugular in this match.  With an array fo attackers available to them, the only drawback from Saturday's win over Fulham is that Andy Reid is cup-tied and the width he offered, with quality supply, will fall to Reto Ziegler.  Alternatively, if Thimothee Atouba has recovered from his knee injury, he might be preferred in midfield to provide a bit of magic to unlock the Forest defence, safe in the knowledge that Edman's return at left back provides cover for him there.

It won't be easy for Tottenham, as with a full house behind them, Forest will be sparked into action, but the fact they have to come out and attack Spurs a bit more, it might leave space for the team to make the most of.  It might be tight or it might be a rout, if Spurs score early on and push home the advantage, but I expect Forest to put up another good display and that THFC will just edge it ... 

PREDICTION : -   Nottingham Forest  0   Tottenham Hotspur  1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


NOTTINGHAM FOREST :  David Friio (cup-tied); Scott Dobie (ineligible); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : - Andy Reid (cup-tied); Michael Dawson (cup-tied); Thimothee Atouba (knee); Dean Richards (ear infection); Sean Davis (not match fit)


TV :
Sky Sports 1 - Live coverage
FOX Soccer Channel (US) - Wed Mar 2 2:30pm ET/11:30am PT  LIVE (not available in Canada)
Other countries live coverage click here.

Radio :  
BBC Radio London - live commentary.  Click here.

Internet :
www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  - subscribers only
Planet football - http://play.www.planetfootball.servecast.net/downloads/sky/spurs_match_new.ram (free - only available when match is on)



Nottingham Forest   0    Tottenham Hotspur   3      (Half-time score : 0-0)
FA Cup Fifth Round Replay Venue :   City Ground
Wednesday 2nd March 2005 Kick Off :  19.45 p.m.
Crowd :   28,062 Referee :   Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
Weather :  Cold, snowy
Teams : - 
Nottingham Forest



Evans (Thompson 64)

Johnson (Harris 67)

Unused subs: 

Tottenham Hotspur :


Atouba (Edman 81)

Mendes (Carrick 77)

Kanoute (Mido 73)

Unused subs

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Nottingham Forest Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Nottingham Forest


Tottenham Hotspur

Pamarot 61
Keane 73
Mido 90

Cards : -  
Nottingham Forest


Melville (foul) 59


Tottenham Hotspur




Match Report : -  
More than any other time in my life watching Tottenham, I felt comfortable in seeing them go about their business in this FA Cup replay at Forest.  Never did I think we were not going to win, although the pace and passing accuracy was missing from our first half showing before the team picked up and eased to the Sixth Round in the second 45.

With seven changes from Saturday's match, it was perhaps unsurprising that the side failed to click in the first half, when Forest parked their bus and tried to hit on the break, but did so rarely.  Maybe that was because they were without their main playmaker from the first game, Kris Commons.  It was only when Evans broke a tackle on the edge of the box and fired a hard shot at head height at Robinson did they threaten.  Then the England Number One had the opportunity to thrust out a great big hand to push the ball away from the goal, but then this was in the 44th minute.  The lack of forward momentum in the Forest side would have had Newton relatively pulling his hair out.  They seemed tied by the same length of rope that Jacques Santini used to tie our full backs to our goalposts with.

Gary Megson is obviously a believer in organisation over style and perhaps that will serve his side well in their battle to pull away from the foot of the Championship (strange to say "Championship" when you might be relegated from "the Championship"), but here all it served to do was give Tottenham's eleven an easy run-out at little more than training ground friendly standard.  While it took Spurs a while to get going, they warmed to their task in the second half as the temperature dropped.

The first period had seem Spurs toil to string passes together and the final ball into the box was usually one which favoured a red shirt.  This wasn't helped by Robbie Keane's lack of interest in trying to head the ball when in the penalty area.  When Atouba pushed forward from left back, he came inside, where most of the Forest defenders were, but spotted Kanoute looking to move into space in the left hand channel inside the penalty area.  His pass was spot on, but Fredi's first touch took the ball wide and when he swung a left foot at it, the ball sliced off his foot and went well wide.  It had taken 20 minutes to get that close.

Forest made a couple of forays forward, without troubling Robinson.  They seemed to be winning the corner count, but did little with them.  One flew across the goal, while another attack opened Spurs up, with the ball being played across to the in-running Robertson, who hit his shot first time, but hurriedly wide.

It took half an hour for Spurs to make Gerrard make a save in the Forest goal.  The ball was worked down the left flank and Atouba hit a high ball into the area.  Fredi chested the ball into Keane's path and he took the ball down before screwing a shot under the defender closing him down, but the Forest goalie made a good stop, low down with his outstretched hand, while going the wrong way.  The ball was kicked away, but Davies knocked it back in and Keano just failed to connect, when perhaps he should have done, with a volley as the goal was yawning in front of him.

When a Spurs player did meet the ball on the volley, it nearly broke the deadlock.  From a right wing corner, Simon Davies knocked a good ball in to the edge of the box and Reto Ziegler struck a volley that zipped past the post by about two yards, but could have caught a deflection on the way.

When half-time came, it must have been a relief for Forest, but Jol probably told Spurs to keep playing the same way, but with a bit more pace.  The way the players were running in the second half made it look like the pitch was hard and they were concerned about going over on it.  The team came out and straight away started moving in on the home goal with Kanoute and Kelly both getting shots away, before the first goal arrived from a corner.

Ziegler took it from the right and the natural in-swing found Pamarot getting to the ball first at the near post and glancing it past Gerrard to score his second Spurs goal.  His run came from deep, where he lost Powell and was always going to get to the ball first.  The goal helped Spurs settle and play, as Forest tried to open up their own game a little.  Ziegler broke on the right, with two other Spurs players to his left, but he cut inside and hit a shot that Gerrard saved and the Forest goalie was once more kept busy, when he prevented Keane dinking the ball over him as he broke on the left of the area.

When another corner was awarded on 71 minutes, the ball was flicked on at the near post by a defender and Robbie Keane was standing right on the goal-line in the centre of the goal when the ball landed at his feet to fire into the net.  It was as easy a goal as he will ever score and when you are on a scoring streak, the ball really falls for you.

Spurs rang the changes.  Some enforced, some not.  Mendes limped off and Atouba had been limping and holding his thigh, but Mido for Fredi was a straight swap.  An outrageous Mido back-heel nearly put Robbie in, but when he got away, Gerrard again was called on to produce a good stop.  When a cross came into the Tottenham box right at the end of the match, it fell to Perch, who was 12 yards out, whose shot on the volley could have been placed anywhere in the goal, but he put it wide of the post. It was a costly miss, although it wouldn't have made a lot of difference in the end.

Spurs broke again.  The ball sat up nicely for Michael Brown, who had run all over the pitch like an energetic streaker, to hit a drive that beat Gerrard all ends up, but the ball hit the bar.  It bounced down in front of the goal and as it did, Mido moved in to head home the bouncing ball and to finish off the tie.  There wasn't time to restart and the goal put the icing on top of a game that threatened to be snow-affected like 1996.

With the game slipping away from Forest, the way Spurs controlled the game was impressive.  They kept possession (60% of it during the match) and kept trying to make the play, while the home team were content to try and take Spurs to penalties.  I am not sure if Megson really believed that he could get his side to hold out for that long, but he must have done, as they never looked like scoring.

Jol got it right and the chants of "You're Spurs and you know you are" rang out to remind him of where he is well off.  With a Sixth Round FA Cup tie ahead and a chance of moving up the league into a European place, Big Martin would be crazy to leave for Ajax, when he could clean up at Tottenham.


The Funky Phantom




How often have Spurs scored from set-pieces over the last few years ??  Not many, but then two come along at once.  Thanks to decent delivery from Ziegler and some sloppy defending by Forest, Spurs capitalised on the near post laxity to go two up and virtually seal the tie in the process.

The first half saw Forest hide amongst the wide open space at the City Ground, fearing to go forward into the Tottenham half and allowing Spurs the lion's share of possession.  Unfortunately, the pedestrian pace that the game was played at, left Spurs unable to break down the packed home defence.

Some sloppy passing and lack of inventiveness left Tottenham relying on a couple of chances created, but they were both passed up.  Atouba slipped Kanoute in, but his shot was wayward when his first touch took him wider on the left than he probably wanted to be.  The second was carved out by Fredi, who chested down Atouba's cross and Keano hit a low shot under the defender to pull out a good save from Gerrard.

Forest managed to get themselves forward with Curtis making ground on their right, which came as a result of Ziegler pushing infield and leaving the flank open.  The home side changed the ball from right to left and this allowed Robertson space to hit a shot wide when open at the far post and then Evans managed to stumble past a couple of challenges to hit s shot that Robinson palmed out at a comfortable height.

The second half started with Forest doing warm-up exercises across the pitch.  not sure what the thinking behind it was, but it looked like it knackered them for the second period.

Spurs started passing the ball better and moving up and wide.  Forest lost their shape a bit, but kept five at the back with the midfield three protecting them.  Spurs made the running and opened the scoring through Pamarot's dart to the near post beating four Forest defenders to the ball and Gerrard as well.

Harris came on for the home side and indicated that they were going to four at the back in an attempt to pull the goal back, but the Tottenham side were hitting on the break and better use fo the ball could have seen the lead extended before Spurs got another corner in the 73rd minute.  Ziegler swung it in, Brown went up for it at the near post, but a defender headed it on and Robbie Keane couldn't miss from a foot out on the line in the centre of the goal.

Gerrard was on his toes before the second goal and after it to stop Keane from adding to the total, but Perch had a great chance to reduce the deficit with a volley from a couple of yards out, but hit it wide of the post.  Spurs almost immediately moved the ball upfield and when the ball came out to Brown, he took a touch and struck a fine shot that beat Gerrard, but bounced down off the bar.  As it came down, Mido, on as a sub for Fredi, rose around the penalty spot to head past keeper to make it 3-0 on the stroke of the final whistle.

The patience the team showed was admirable and I think Jol put out a side more like one that Forest might encounter in the Championship to make it difficult for them to ease past us.  The choice worked with Pamarot impressive in the middle of the defence with Gardner and Brown and Mendes doing good work in midfield, while Davies added width on the right.  

So, it's on to Newcastle.  Will we be able to get past them at the first attempt ?  We will have to play the game at a much higher tempo and will be given more to cope with, but perhaps with a team coming onto us, we might be able to hit back easier.  It will be an interesting match, that is for sure.

Hellwyn Ballard

Two quick thoughts about tonight's excellent performance. 

1. When will Spurs fans start to appreciate Michael Brown?  I've heard lots of comments in the crowd about him being a 'headless chicken' etc.  This is grossly unfair.  Whilst he's no Platini, he works harder than any midfielder in the premiership.  Whilst that alone isn't enough, he rarely gives the ball away, is ferocious in the tackle and gets in his fair share of shots (and sometimes goals). A good shout for player of the season for me (alongside Robinson).

2. What is it with Jol and Atouba ?  I don't get it.  We've got our best left back in years (Edman) on the bench whilst Atouba gives everyone the heebeegeebees with his shocking passing (often in his own half) and appalling crosses.  He's a weak link and as soon as we have another left back, we should let him go. I know he does fancy tricks, but one of these days, he'll come seriously unstuck ... let's hope it isn't at St. James Park.

Anyway, as I say, great passing performance tonight. Lets do the same to the Geordies and march on to Cardiff !

The Dazzler 

I couldn’t agree more with “The Dazzler” – Michael Brown, who I’d written off as an irrelevance to Spurs is playing so well & has been my man of the match several times this year.

As for Atouba, I’ve seen some bad players at the Lane over the years, but he’s down there with the worst. It reminds me of that African player who conned Sour-ness into giving him a game at So'ton – he just can’t play.  Added to which, Edman is quality.  

Every manager, even the ones you really like, seems to have an odd-ball favourite !

Stephen Rothon (paxtonite in exile)


Other Fifth Round Replay scores :

Sheffield United

0 Arsenal (win 4-2 on pens. aet : 0-0 at 90 mins) 0 Tuesday
Blackburn Rovers 2 Burnley 1 Tuesday
Brentford 1 SCBC 3 Tuesday


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