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15.02.2010 International

Bolton 1 - 1 Tottenham

By myjoyonline
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Tottenham fought back to earn an FA Cup fifth-round replay after an entertaining draw against Bolton.

The hosts were much the better side in the first half and went ahead when Kevin Davies completed an impressive passing move by firing in on the turn.

But Spurs responded and equalised when Jermain Defoe fired home on 61 minutes.

And Tom Huddlestone wasted the chance to send Spurs through as Jussi Jaaskelainen saved his penalty after a Sam Ricketts handball.

The old adage of "a game of two halves" can rarely have been more apt, with Bolton utterly dominant before the break and Spurs by far the better side after.

The sparse Valentine's Day crowd suggests the romance of the FA Cup is not what it was but the Bolton fans who did make it to the Reebok Stadium found plenty to appreciate in their side's revitalised style of play, particularly in the first 45 minutes.

The hosts, for so long derided as a long-ball side, were slick on the ball throughout and put Tottenham's more fashionable players to shame for long periods.

Chung-Yong Lee's early driven cross was mis-controlled by Matt Taylor and Johan Elmander's follow-up only just deflected over the bar off Vedran Corluka.

The Swede, who has struggled to convince during his time at the Reebok, was then set free by Ricardo Gardner but could only manage an abysmal left-footed effort that was more akin to a rugby conversion.

Spurs were totally unable to get a foothold in the game in the opening period, as Taylor peppered the visiting defence with a series of free-kicks and corners.

One effort tested goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes to the limit, while Davies once again bullied the Tottenham defenders at every opportunity.

Spurs' best chance of the opening half-hour was a long-range drive from the recalled Peter Crouch that ended up closer to the corner flag.

Bolton thoroughly deserved to be in front and their fine football finally reaped its rewards with after a 16-pass move.

Elmander broke free down the right and after a one-two with Lee, crossed with pace for Davies to control and fire home on the turn.

Any hopes of an immediate improvement from the visitors after the break were wiped away when a shot from Davies deflected just past the post and Elmander fired into the side-netting after another sweeping move.

Another fluent move, including a sumptuous pass from Davies, ended with Muamba dragging a horrible shot wide before Spurs finally drove forward and hit the crossbar on two occasions.

Firstly Crouch beat Jaaskelainen to a high ball but saw his header come back off the woodwork before a shot from Wilson Palacios caught Paul Robinson's foot and looped onto the bar.

Redknapp's side suddenly had their appetite back and did not have to wait long for a leveller.

Bale burst forward down the left flank and passed to Defoe who slammed the ball high into the net - although a slight deflection off Ricketts did not help Jaaskelainen.

The defender did more damage shortly after when a flick from Crouch in the box cannoned into his raised arm, prompting referee Phil Dowd to award a penalty.

With Defoe having missed from the spot against Leeds in the previous round, Huddlestone stepped up but saw Jaaskelainen pull off a fine save.

The Finnish keeper then pulled off an even better stop to keep out a fizzing long-range drive from Defoe.

Tottenham ended the game much the stronger and really should have won it when Crouch glanced a header wide after more good work from the terrific Bale.

Ultimately Bolton will be the side most relieved to still be in the competition, but neither manager will be happy at the prospect of a replay with a string of crucial league games in the offing.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle:
"Harry (Redknapp) said to me at full-time he thought it was a game of two halves but I think it was a game of an hour for us with the last half-hour going to Tottenham.

"There is a lot to be pleased about. For large periods of the game we were in the ascendancy.

"If we had come in at half-time with a bigger lead no-one would have thought it was unjust.

"Probably none of us wanted a replay but we are in the draw for the next round and who is to say we can't go there and win the replay.

"It is easy to look back in slow motion and see Sam's arms were already up because of the nature of Crouch's movement but the referee called it and you have to get on with it."

Tottenham assistant manager Joe Jordan:
"We lived dangerously in the first half as we didn't play particularly well and the performance was not good enough.

"But in the second half we got ourselves sorted out and we should be going away with the victory, no question of that.

"We certainly didn't play in the first half and in the first 30 minutes Bolton's style of play caused us problems and it could have resulted in a second goal and we couldn't have had any complaints.

"It wasn't until the second half we dominated the game.

"We have not been too lucky with penalties. Normally when you see Tom take them in training he does it with power - today he tried to place it.

"But I think when a penalty is saved you have to give credit to the goalkeeper."

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