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Stevenage force FA Cup replay

Hard-working Stevenage churned out an impressive display against Tottenham Hotspur to earn an FA Cup fifth round replay.

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Stevenage 0

Tottenham Hotspur 0

Hard-working Stevenage churned out an impressive display against Tottenham Hotspur to earn an FA Cup fifth round replay.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between in a tight affair at the Lamex Stadium and despite having the ball in the back of the net, the away side failed to make the breakthrough.

Manager Harry Redknapp made six changes from the side that defeated Newcastle United 5-0 last weekend with Ryan Nelsen making his full debut while Younes Kaboul, Danny Rose, Carlo Cudicini, Jake Livermore and Jermain Defoe were drafted into the starting XI.

On a bobbly playing surface, the first serious effort didn’t arrive until the 24th minute after Louis Saha drilled wide from just inside the box.

Kyle Walker then glanced Rose’s cross just wide while Saha appeared impeded in the area, but his penalty claims were waved away after some good work by Livermore.

In the final five minutes before half-time, Dawson came close to powering home a header home, only for Scott Laird to hack off the line before the same player’s looping header appeared destined for the net, but Cudicini did well to prevent the goal.

In the second half, Gareth Bale’s 25-yard drive forced a good save from Chris Day as Spurs looked to opening the scoring.

And the North London giants had the ball in the back of the net after 55 minutes after Rose burst down the left, but his cross could only be palmed into the path of Saha. The Frenchman tucked away only for his effort to strike Scott Parker on the line, who was deemed offside.

Stevenage took the offside effort as a wake-up call as the home side looked to surprise Spurs. First Joel Byrom’s strike flew just over before Cudicini palmed Darius Charles’ away with Nelsen on hand to clear before Chris Beardsley could poke home.

Saha then tested Day in the 75th minute after some work by Defoe and Bale, but the January arrival couldn’t get enough power on his shot to test the Stevenage keeper.

Substitute Aaron Lennon made a number of dangerous runs in the opposition box as the game drew to a close before crossing for Parker in the final minute of added time which just evaded the England international as Stevenage held on to secure a replay back at White Hart Lane next month.

What Redknapp had to say.

“I expected it to be tough, honestly,” said Redknapp.

“I knew how hard it was going to be. The pitch was bumpy and the ball was bobbling everywhere, it was a difficult game to play football.

“We have all been here. I have been here so many times in the past, nothing surprises me.”

Ben McAleer

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