Tottenham Hotspur survived a scare in the fourth round of the FA Cup, managing to nip a late winner in stoppage time against Wycombe Wanderers, 4-3.
Wycombe showed no fear from the moment the match started, lobbing a long ball into the box and finding the head of FIFA 15 Strength Champion Adebayo Akinfenwa. The massive striker’s pass found Scott Kashnet all alone on the far post, but the Wycombe attacker’s header was too powerful and bounced off the crossbar.
Spurs missed a golden chance in the 19th minute to go up. Heung-Min Son timed a pressure on a back pass perfectly to fluster Wycombe keeper Jamal Blackman, forcing him to mis-punch a clearance. The ball fell to Sonny but the ensuing shot went just wide of the far post.
Spurs first half was not exactly stellar to start, and they eventually paid the price off of a set piece in the 23rd minute. Wycombe captain Paul Hayes was left alone to the right of Vorm and volleyed a gorgeous shot into the far side of the net, making it 1-0 to Wycombe.
Sonny tried to equalize just a few minutes later when he perfectly timed a press on a back pass to force a bad punch clearance by Blackman, but the ensuing shot went wide of the far post to keep the match at 1-0.
A second chance to equalize just a couple minutes later came to Spurs when a flurry in the box left Moussa Sissoko alone with the ball just six yards away and Blackman laying on his back after blocking a cross. Sissoko’s shot was on target, but a goal line clearance kept Sissoko off the scoresheet.
In the 36th minute, Spurs’ defender Cameron Carter-Vickers made a risky tackle in the box on Kashnet, resulting in a penalty. Paul Hayes stepped up to the spot and fired his shot right down Broadway, making it 2-0 to the visitors. Not much happened after the penalty kick, leaving it at the same scoreline at half time.
Spurs came out of the dressing room focused, pushing forward in attack. The renewed press finally paid off in the 60th minute. After a corner kick that was cleared out by Wycombe, Sonny put a shot on a net from a tight angle that was deflected by a defender, forcing the ball off the ground and over a diving Blackman. Spurs were on the board 2-1 with 30+ minutes to play.
Just a couple minutes later, Vincent Janssen, who came on at half time, pushed forward again after a long ball. Vinny attempted to dribble past Aaron Pierre, but received a shoulder in the chest instead, drawing a penalty. The Dutch International’s penalty kick found the back of the net, leveling the match at 2-2 in the 65th minute.
In the 69th minute, Kieran Trippier was injured after a 50/50 challenge, getting a knee in the side just above the hip. Trippier attempted to play on but it became clear that the injury he sustained would not allow him to continue. Spurs had burned all three subs at that point, forcing Pochettino to play with ten men the rest of the way.
Going down ten men eventually cost Tottenham. In the 84th minute, Wycombe’s Myles Weston pushed up left flank, firing a cross into the box. Garry Thompson found a yard of space and headed the ball past a diving Michel Vorm to give Wanderers the advantage again at 3-2.
Spurs could have easily packed up and given up, but they refused to do so. Dele Alli took advantage of a badly misplayed back pass, took a few touches, and fired the equalizer past Blackman, making it 3-3 with six minutes of injury time still to play.
In stoppage time, Spurs somehow found a way to win the match. In the 97th minute, Sonny took a wonderfully weighted pass toward the touch line and took a rip toward the far post. Wycombe midfielder Luke O’Nien was forced into making a play and deflected the ball into the top of the net to give Spurs the win, 4-3. At the end of the match, the goal is credited to Heung-min Son but there’s no way it should be anything other than an own goal.
Thoughts on the Match
- I’m having a difficult time even describing this match. It was amazing, dumb, thrilling, and nerve-wracking all in one jumbled pile.
- I’m sure I’m not the only one who was happy to see a fully rotated side even with the late subs.
- Full credit to Wycombe. They showed no fear and came right at Spurs. We’ll definitely hear arguments that they deserved to win.
- Dele coming on was a game changer in the second half.
- I thought Janssen played well in the second half. His hold up play was good, he managed to draw a penalty, and almost had the winner just minutes before the dagger.
- We’ll have to wait and see how bad the injury is to Trippier. Hats off to him for trying to go, but it was obvious he was in a lot of pain. It’s a shame we had no subs because I would have loved to see Kyle Walker-Peters.
- “Survive and advance.” is the famous quote from the late NC State coach Jim Valvano, and that absolutely rings true today. A win is a win.
- Spurs avoid a replay that would have been played just three days before the Liverpool match. They will now await the draw for the fifth round, which is at 7:30 PM UK time on Monday.