Having set out their stall with a
packed defence and midfield with one man up front, Forest went about
their task very well. The negative formation worked to their
advantage, with some crunching tackles and a few breakaways, they
posed problems for Tottenham's lacksidaisical approach to the tie.
Jol did not do the tactical trick
today, as the side Gary Megson sent out had more hunger and more
determination to see the task through, while Spurs looked like they
expected to walk through this tie with ease. The Championship
side did not let that happen and could have walked away with the game,
much like Albion could have done in the previous round.
looked to have settled well, with Carrick shooting over with the first
effort of the match, but Forest passed the bal well and moved in
support of lone striker Taylor up front. In stark contrast,
Tottenham's movement was non-existent and this lead to passes being
misplaced or picked off. Such a move broke down and Kris Commons
found Rogers in space on the left wing. Kelly came to close him
down, jumped at the ball and missed, leaving Robinson to make the
first of several important saves, this one at his near post, to keep
Spurs in the tie.
Even when Perch
took a ball in the face and had to leave the field, Spurs found it difficult
to break down the ten men, with only a blocked Ziegler shot to show
for almost permanent encampment in the Forest half during that
time. The Swiss lad was also involved in what was a bizarre
situation, when he blocked Melville's clearance, which looped up
towards Defoe on the penalty spot, but his control was not certain and
the keeper grabbed the ball before the Spurs striker could
react. Fredi was making a nuisance of himself, twisting and
turning ... more often to little effect, but when he did so in the
box, he found himself with a shooting opportunity.
Unfortunately, he scuffed his shot making the save easy for
Doyle. Then Kanoute set up Brown, who his a 25 yard curling
effort that Doyle held at the post.
had a fine game and troubled Spurs all match. He nipped the ball
away from Naybet and ran past Kelly before firing in a shot that
Robinson could only block with his legs in the 25th minute.
Strangely, this sparked Spurs into a period of good passing, but the
crowd were frustrated by the lack of directness displayed. This
might have been because the make up of the crowd included a number of
irregular attendees, who do not appreciate the need to be patient in
the build-up on some occasions. It's not all route one you know
!! This was proved when they finally opened up a shooting
opportunity for Davies from 25 yards and for once, he didn't fall into
the trap the rest of the side had, in trying to walk the ball into the
net. He drilled the ball low towards the bottom left corner and
Doyle did very well to get a good hand on it to divert it round the
post, as it arrowed towards the inside of the goal.
had obviously been working on free-kick routines on the training
ground and another saw Carrick fake to take a free-kick and it was set
up for Defoe from 25 yards out and this time, his drive went a yard
wide. Another free-kick was wasted on 35 minutes, when Morgan
got booked for dragging back Defoe as he got away from the huge
centre-half, with a question over whether he was the last man.
Taylor got in a header on Rogers' cross at the other end and it was
straight out of the textbook, being headed down, but it took a lot of
the pace off the ball and it was straight at Robbo, who grabbed it
after initially parrying the ball upwards.
Spurs had their best chance of the half. Ziegler ran into the
box on the left and turned a defender, who fell to the floor.
The ball got caught up in a flurry of arms and bodies, but ref Bennett
showed little interest in it and when the ball came out to Michael
Brown, he hit a fierce shot that left Doyle standing and left the post
shuddering. It came out quickly to Defoe, who was unable to
react quickly enough to knock it in, only succeeding in putting it
Jermain was to
be luckier right on the stroke of half-time, when his free-kick
cleared the wall, but the shot did not have a great deal of pace on it
and Doyle moved his hands up to stop it. Unbelievably, he let
the ball slip through his hands and over the line for a Tottenham
goal. He looked sheepish and unlike at Old Trafford, the
officials noticed it had crossed the line and we got our goal.
half-time switch saw Commons pushed alongside Taylor to provide some
closer support for him. He produced a shot that Robinson
stopped, but Ledley had to boot away, while at the other end,
everything seems to be going too high. Brown hit a half-volley
from a cleared corner over the top, then ten minutes after Ziegler
volleyed well over when neatly set up by Kanoute and much later
Carrick could not keep his shot down. In between the first two,
the unexpected happened.
Commons looking lively and the best chance of Forest grabbing
something likely to be from a set-piece, the equaliser on 56 minutes
was a weird one. Rogers floated a long ball over the defence and
as Ledley ran back and Robinson ran out, they both went for it near
the edge of the area, but it was Taylor who rose highest to nod it
past the two colliding figures. He then had the simple act of
putting it into an empty net ahead of him. It was a sloppy goal
to give away, but then Forest had better chances before that.
Jol brought on Mido and Keane for Kanoute and Ziegler, it looked like
a desperate move. The three striker thing doesn't work (how many
times have we said that ?) and with the move to 4-3-3, it narrowed the
side even further, thus limiting the opportunities to swing the ball
in from wide. Especially when the crossing had been poor all
Carrick picked up a yellow
card for a hack on Powell, after he was allowed to run 30 yards
unchallenged and from the free-kick Commons was released down the left
and his cross looked like it might elude Robinson, until he threw out
a big hand and pawed it away. Then play swung to the other end
and Defoe got past Morgan with a neat touch and hit a low shot that
Doyle kept out with his legs.
ball was moving at quite a pace now, compared to the stultifying slow
first half. As the ball flew up off a Spurs defender Perch
volleyed it goalwards, but it went across the face and Powell just did
not have the legs to get on the end of it at the far post. Perch
had some joy on their right wing against Atouba and the leggy
Cameroonian found himself twice nut-megged by Perch and Commons.
Ledley started to realise that the congestion in front of him could
not be overcome by hopeful passing and broke forward from inside his
own half, to hit a 30-yarder that flew a couple of feet off
target. Kelly then put in a low cross that bounced past a couple
of defenders and Mido got something on it, but the ball went straight
at the keeper from three yards out. Davies then hit a shot way
over the goal before Forest might have won it at the death.
and Commons were trying to run down the clock by winning corner after
corner, but Atouba, Brown and Defoe wanted to put a stop to
that. Atouba won the ball and nudged it down the line, but then,
inexplicably, failed to chase the ball out, allowing Perch to toe-end
it to Commons. He then moved from his position on the right hand
corner of the box, past four "tackles" to a central
position, where he hit a shot. Luckily for Spurs, he did not get
great purchase on it, allowing Robinson to block it and keep Spurs in
the competition for the second round in succession.
So, it's all back to their place on
Wednesday 2nd March for the replay. Once more, Spurs should go
through, but like today, they will have to earn the right to progress.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - PAUL ROBINSON