Tottenham through to FA Cup quarter finals but Harry can’t guarantee striker first team football
TOTTENHAM 3 vs STEVENAGE 1
A CLINICAL display of finishing from Jermain Defoe ensured Tottenham a safe passage through to the FA Cup quarter finals but his manager Harry Redknapp insists he is still unable to guarantee the England striker a starting berth.
Defoe struck twice, either side of Emmanuel Adebayor’s penalty, as Spurs came from behind to beat League One outfit Stevenage and secure a last eight meeting with Bolton at White Hart Lane a week on Saturday.
After his goalscoring cameo in Sunday’s 3-1 defeat against Manchester United, Defoe, who has started only two Premier League matches since the turn of the year, now has three goals in two games but is not guaranteed to feature against Everton at the weekend, according to his manager.
“Jermain looked sharp tonight and took his goals well so that’s good for me,” said Redknapp. “But we’ve got Louis Saha and Emmanuel Adebayor so we are looking good up front – Rafael van der Vaart came through tonight as well.
“It’s always difficult to leave anyone out because they are all playing well. Saha is scoring goals and Adebayor too. There’s no way I can play the three of them.
“It’s difficult to even play with two, not many teams do, let alone three so we’ll have to have a look at it. He’s in good form though and that’s great for us.”
Redknapp would have hoped for a routine evening but matters were complicated by Joel Byrom’s fourth-minute penalty and subsequent injuries to Michael Dawson, who the Spurs manager confirmed would be out for the “long-term”, and Aaron Lennon, who pulled up with a hamstring strain.
Stevenage protected their lead until the 26th minute when Defoe controlled a long ball expertly on his chest and fired beyond Chris Day from the edge of the penalty area.
Spurs finally made their superiority tell 10 minutes after the interval when Adebayor rolled home a penalty after Gareth Bale had tumbled under the challenge of Mark Roberts.
Defoe settled the contest 15 minutes from time when Bale’s quick throw travelled nearly 40 yards and found the striker in the space which afforded him the time to cut in and expertly locate the far corner.
CITY A.M. VERDICT
It was far from straightforward with injuries to Michael Dawson and Aaron Lennon complicating matters further, but the result was never really in doubt from the moment Jermain Defoe equalised.
MAN OF THE MATCH
There were 11 heros out on the pitch for Stevenage but sadly for their manager Gary Smith none of his charges exhibited the assuredness in front of goal which Jermain Defoe possess in abundance.
Only after several replays did it become apparent that Gareth Bale had kicked Mark Roberts rather than the other way around in the build up to a penalty that effectively decided the contest.
England’s striking cupboard is down to the bare bones, so for one of the nation’s most natural finishers to be restricted to the odd FA Cup outing must be a worry for whoever takes charge in the summer.
I thought we gave a terrific account of ourselves. Some big moments didn't quite go our way in the second period and some wonderful finishing from Jermain Defoe in the end was too much for us. In the end it was a corner kick that ended up being our Achilles heel in the first half because we weren’t able to defend them on the counter attack
Stevenage manager Gary Smith