In the first of our tough run of encounters, Tottenham visited Ewood Park in what was always destined to be an open and free flowing game. With both teams heavily relying on delivery from the flankers, Mark Hughes opted to give Johann Vogels his first team debut for the Rovers. Samba was restored into the defence ahead of Zurab. As for the Spuds, Radek Cerny replaced Robinson in goals.
Tottenham got of to the brightest of starts, with a 6th minute tap in to Berbatov. Poor marking on the right flank by Ooijer allowed a cross to be tucked in, sloppily finished by Berbatov. TOttenham then dominated the next 20 minutes, bombarding the Rovers defence, who at times, appeared a little shaky.
However, nothing could stop a free flowing Bentley attack. Bentley recieved the ball in full stride, hitting the byline and tucking in a cross, with Morten Gamst Pederson continuing his scoring spree, netting the equaliser.
Now it was Rovers chance to dominate, with good chances falling to Roberts and Santa Cruz, with the energetic strikers only managing to hit Cernys chest. Half time, 1-1.
Sparky decided to bring back my boy Emerton, taking off Ooijer. Tottenham once again started their free flowing attack, playing one touch passes which at times, almost rivalled their London Rivals, Arsenal. Robbie Keane had the best of the Chances for Tottenham, forcing Friedel into a save. Nelson and Samba really started to stand up in defence, whilst a Bentley Free kick was smartly saved by Cerny.
WIth Gamst and Bentley bombarding the Tottenham goal, it came to a surprise when Gamst was replaced by Benni McCarthy. BOth teams continued with their attack, Bentley dissalowed what would of been a difficult penalty to give. A dart in the box led to him being checked off the ball, one of those 50 50 decisions which we really needed to go our way.
Brad Friedel 7
Made a few important saves
Andre Ooijer 5.5
Not his usual solid himself. Made an error leading up to the goal, taken of at the break
Christopher Samba 5.5 First Half, 7.5 Second Half
A game of 2 halves for the big man, sloppy then great. However gave a typical Samba free kick away, fortunately didnt lead to a goal
Ryan Nelson 7.5
Solid game, recieved the man of the match award (lets hope i got this right lol). Made some timely interventions
Steven Warnock 6
Not one of his best, looked really fatigued in defence, hit a few sloppy crosses
Morten Gamst Pederson 8
Made to work extra hard due to Warnocks off game. Hit the by line well, scored a goal, was really surprised he was taken of.
Johann Vogel 6.5
A quiet debut, if there tagging him as Tugays replacement then im dissapointed. More of a cleaner and controller rather than a creative technician
Steven Reid 6.5
Poor passing display from Reid. Lost the ball several times in the first half, however a much more solid performance in the second.
David Bentley 8.5
What can we say, we all know what he is about by now.
Roque Santa Cruz 7
Worked tirelessly, however his finishing ability with the ball at his feet worries me at times
Jason Roberts 7.5
Worked even harder, chasing everything down. He does get pretty frustrated at times, his physical style works against him at times. I think the only reason Benni Mac is still floating around is due to our 2 strikers not scoring the goals. ROberts blasted a few shots straight at Cerny
Brett Emerton 6
Came on at the break, not much influence
Benni McCarthy 5
Why, why take Gamst off for Benni Mc, would of though Vogels could of come of, but im not the manager. Derbs could of come on at least.
Little time to shine
7. I dont often comment here, but Sparkys choice to take of Gamst Pederson was really frustrating. I havent heard about him copping a knock or anything, but he really was starting to shine. Could of used him in the end
We are making it harder for ourselves to make Europe. We really need Pompey to win the cup now, otherwise all hope is lost. If they do, then we are 1 point behind VIlla after their win