Ever tried to write a coherent match report on a game you can't actually watch? That's the situation I find myself in as I try to process a 4-2 win for Tottenham Hotspur over Burnley in their FA Cup Third Round replay at White Hart Lane. Since the match was (again) not televised anywhere, those not in attendance were forced to settle for radio feeds and Twitter updates. Too bad, too: it sure sounded like a really fun match.
The first half was, well, nuts. Burnley jumped out to an early lead after just two minutes in hilarious fashion: the Clarets put a simple long ball over the top of the back line. Younes Kaboul and Vlad Chiriches were caught ball-watching and Marvin Sordell punched the ball in the top corner to put the Clarets up. Just a few minutes later, Ross Wallace scored for Burnley as the Clarets went up by two goals.
Pretty Spursy, right? By this point, Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul were yelling at each other on the pitch. A little later, Robert Soldado hit the crossbar from five yards out. The Fourth Round match-up against Leicester City seemed a remote possibility. All appeared lost.
And then? Paulinho happened.
#thfc Townsend chips the ball in from the right, Soldado heads it on and Paulinho's unmarked six yards out to finish. 2-1 in 10th minute— Ben Pearce (@BenPearceSpurs) January 14, 2015
It as Paulinho's second goal for Spurs this season and it came at a great time, as Spurs' early defensive frailty put them at risk of losing control of the match.
Things settled down a bit as both teams seemed content to catch their breath a bit and feel each other out. The match seemed fairly even according to the radio commentary until just before halftime when Etienne Capoue scored an absolute screamer to level the score at 2-2.
More on goal: @Ben_Davies33 surges down the left, his cross is cleared to the edge of the area where Capoue strides on to it to smash it in.— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 14, 2015
The first half ended with the teams level.
Believe it or not, it got even crazier. Vlad Chiriches (I KNOW, RIGHT?) put Spurs ahead four minutes into the second half, and to complete the #narrative quartet, Danny Rose even got on the scoresheet three minutes later.
That was it for the scoring, but the match was also notable in that it marked the first team debut for 17 year old Spurs
striker attacking midfielder Josh Onomah, a very highly rated player from Spurs' youth ranks. He came in for Andros Townsend midway through the second half
It was a match that had it all: narrative, goals from Capoue and Chiriches, Tottenham players arguing, a first-team debut, and a thoroughly bewildering comeback victory. It sounds like it was a lot of fun. Man, I wish this had been on TV. Thanks, England!
Spurs are still alive in all possible competitions, which is pretty fantastic in January. Tottenham host Leicester City in the FA Cup Fourth Round on January 24; kickoff is 3 pm GMT (10 a.m. ET).