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Spurs leave it late to escape cup shock at Newport County

It's all back to Wembley for a replay in ten days time

27 January, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

FA Cup
SPURS 1 (Kane 82)

HARRY Kane ensured Spurs avoided a giant killing that would have gone down in FA Cup folklore when he slid home a late equaliser and broke the hearts of League Two’s Newport County.

The Welsh side deservedly lead Spurs by Padraig Amond’s first half header until the 82nd minute, and have earned themselves a lucrative replay at Wembley in 10 days time.

Newport, 72 league places below Spurs, made life extremely uncomfortable for their guests from the off. Mauricio Pochettino could have pointed to a poor playing surface at Newport’s Rodney Parade ground and a rumbustious atmosphere as reasons his players looked so unnerved from the moment the whistle went – but that would ignore the simple fact that County manager Michael Flynn’s team had a brilliant game plan.

At every opportunity, they got the ball out wide and peppered the Tottenham box with crosses. When Spurs had the ball, they were never allowed to settle and County were good for their lead.

Spurs had already survived a number of scares before Amond beat Keiran Trippier at the back post to head home on 38 minutes and send the Welsh fans into delirious celebrations as half time approached.

Spurs had looked uncomfortable under pressure, and Pochettino’s team selection gave the side an unfamiliar feel about it. Fernando Llorente was handed a rare start, rookie centre back Juan Foyth came in alongside Jan Vertonghen and the right footed Kyle Walker-Peters was asked to play left back.

With Mousa Sissoko, Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama all struggling to get hold of the ball in the midfield, Pochettino’s tactics looked a jumble – and Newport were in the mood to capitalise on any weakness.

A half time switch with Heung-Min Son coming in for Walker-Peters gave Spurs a better balance, and as Newport tired, Spurs gained a modicum of control but still found the massed ranks of men in gold shirts tricky to break down. Kane went close with a header he could not steer home, and Son drew a good save from County goalkeeper Joe Day, but as the clock ticked down, there was a sense that this was heading towards one of the cup’s greatest giant killing games.

But with just eight minutes remaining, a poorly struck Trippier corner was cleverly flicked on by Son and Kane was unmarked to finish from two yards out. It was his 30th goal of the season – and perhaps his most important this term to date.

It was a cruel way for Newport to concede, having worked so hard for an unlikely, but deserved, victory.

NEWPORT COUNTY: Day, Butler, Pipe, Demetriou, White, Tozer, Nouble, Willmott, Labadie (McCoulsky, 80), Bennett, Amond (Dolan, 75)
Subs not used: O’Brien, Reid, Bittner, Hayes, Sheehan.

SPURS: Vorm, Dier, Foyth, Vertonghen, walker-Peters (Son, HT) Dembele (Davies, 80) Sissoko, Wanyama, Trippier, Llorente (Alli, 67), Kane
Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Georgiou, Sanchez, Oakley-Boothe.

Attendance: 9,836


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