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Tottenham Hotspur vs. Nottingham Forest: Final score 3-1, bullet dodged

Spurs were very bad for an hour. Then they decided to stop being bad.

Julian Finney

Tottenham Hotspur didn't register a shot on target in the first half, marking their fifth consecutive half of football in all competitions without a goal. They continued to struggle into the second half, letting Nottingham Forest take the lead. And then, magically, something clicked, and Spurs found two goals. They're somehow into the next round of the League Cup after beating Forest, 3-1.

The first big chance of the game came via Ben Osborne, who had Michel Vorm badly beat with a long-range effort in the 23rd minute. However, luckily for Spurs, his shot hit the crossbar. Forest had a couple of other half-chances before the end of a very, very dull half, while Spurs did absolutely nothing.

Paulinho was the first player to show some sign of life, nearly scoring with a cheeky Zlatan-style backheel strike in the 56th minute. But things got a bit miserable for Spurs five minutes later, with the visitors nicking a goal.

Lars Veldwijk set up the chance with a cross, which hit off Stephen McLaughlin and bounced back towards the center of the box. Both Jan Vertonghen and Ben Davies looked lost, with Jorge Grant easily finding a seam between them for a tap-in to put Forest ahead.

Mauricio Pochettino responded by bringing Ryan Mason and Harry Kane into the game for Benjamin Stambouli and Paulinho, which turned out to be an inspired move. Kane was much more active than any other Spurs attacker had been previously, and Mason was the one that got Spurs back into the match.

In the 72nd minute, much like Andros Townsend had many times before him, Mason decided to have a go from 30 yards. Unlike Townsend, he hit an absolutely beautiful shot that Dorus De Vries had no chance to save, and Spurs were level.

That seemed to give the team a new level of confidence, though they needed a bit of luck to find the winner. In the 82nd minute, Townsend hit another one of his characteristically speculative and horribly off target shots, except there was someone in the box to do something with it. Instead of letting the ball sail five yards wide, Roberto Soldado stuck out his foot and redirected it into the back of the net to put Spurs ahead.

Poche decided to give Erik Lamela a short run-out after that, and he helped seal the win with an absolutely gorgeous through ball to Kane, who finished from eight yards to seal Spurs' progression into the next round.