Friday, September 21

Premier League

Feb 18, 2018 at 4pm UK
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Henderson (45'), Davies (90')
Rafferty (73'), Rathbone (85'), McGahey (88')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Moura (59'), Kane (88' pen.)
Alderweireld (64')

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Live Commentary: Rochdale 2-2 SpursTottenham Hotspur

Relive Rochdale's dramatic 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur as the League One strugglers earn a Wembley replay with a late equaliser at Spotland Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur were held to a 2-2 draw by League One strugglers Rochdale this afternoon as Keith Hill's side earned a Wembley replay at Spotland Stadium.

Spurs made 11 changes to their side, and that showed in a first half which saw the hosts take a shock lead right on the stroke of half time when Ian Henderson opened the scoring.

Lucas Moura marked his full debut with an equaliser after the interval before Harry Kane looked to have won it with a late penalty, but there was to be another twist in the tale as Steve Davies rescued a draw for Rochdale in stoppage time.

Find out how all of the drama unfolded courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute coverage below.

Good afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's FA Cup showdown between Rochdale and Tottenham Hotspur at Spotland Stadium!

The visitors are the clear favourites heading into this match, but you never know with the FA Cup and League One strugglers Rochdale have the home advantage as they look to pull off a memorable cupset. Rochdale are one of only three lower-league sides still in the competition - and none are ranked lower than them - so they are doing this for the smaller teams as well today.

We will have a close look at both clubs in a short while, but first let's check out the team news...

TOTTENHAM STARTING XI: Vorm; Trippier, Alderweireld, Foyth, Rose; Wanyama, Winks, Sissoko, Lucas, Son; Llorente
TOTTENHAM SUBS: Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Walker-Peters, Dier, Alli, Lamela, Kane
While we wait for Rochdale to release their team news, let's start by having a look at Spurs and the headline from the away camp is that Lucas Moura makes his full debut for the club this afternoon.

The January arrival from PSG made his first appearance in a Tottenham shirt during the dying stages of the draw with Juventus in midweek, but he is included from the start today and will get a much better opportunity to give Spurs fans a first glimpse of what he can do.

As expected, manager Mauricio Pochettino has made a host of changes to his Tottenham side, but it is still a strong team and should be capable of coming away with the win against Rochdale this evening.

It says plenty about Tottenham's strength in depth that they are able to make 11 changes from their midweek draw with Juventus and still put a side out with considerable quality - to the extent that one wouldn't bat an eyelid if perhaps eight of today's team were included in a Premier League starting XI.

Some star names - such as Dembele, Eriksen, Lloris, Kane and Alli - are missing, although the latter two do make the bench this afternoon, despite concerns over an ankle injury for Kane, who made his professional debut at this ground in January 2011 while on loan at Leyton Orient.

However, there should still be plenty of attacking threat from the visitors as Fernando Llorente gets a run out up front, while Son Heung-min - who has been in superb form this season - also starts having missed out in midweek.

There is also a start for Toby Alderweireld at centre-back, with the Belgian still working his way back to full fitness following a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

Speculation has begun to surface regarding Alderweireld's future after he was reportedly unhappy at being left out of the matches against Arsenal and Juventus recently, but Pochettino is keen to ease him back in to action and matches like today are perfect for that. The defender's only other appearance since the beginning of November was the replay win over Newport County in the last round.

Alderweireld is joined at the heart of the defence by Foyth in the same centre-back pairing which played against Newport in the last round, while Danny Rose also comes in for Davies on the left.

Indeed, with Vorm also replacing Lloris in goal, the only defensive change from that replay victory in the fourth round comes at right-back, with Kieran Trippier starting in place of Serge Aurier this afternoon.

In midfield, Wanyama - who was linked with a move to Liverpool earlier this week - and Winks start in the holding midfield roles, with Dembele given the day off altogether and Dier dropping to the bench.

It will be interesting to see which role Sissoko plays this afternoon too, with the France international having featured centrally on occasions this term. Son and Lucas are also wide players, so it could be that Spurs adopt something closer to a 4-3-3 system this afternoon.

ROCHDALE STARTING XI: Lillis; McGahey, McNulty, Delaney; Rafferty, Cannon, Camps, Kitching, Done; Henderson, Humphrys
ROCHDALE SUBS: Ntlhe, Rathbone, Thompson, Inman, Davies, Moore, Adshead
Rochdale have been very tardy with their team news, but there are no major surprises on the team sheet for the hosts this afternoon.

Experienced striker Calvin Andrew is still missing with an Achilles injury, while Keith Hill's options are further limited by Wiseman, Dobre, Knott and Hart all being cup-tied. As such, he makes just one change from Tuesday's defeat to Bristol Rovers as McGahey replaces Wiseman.

The main danger man Spurs need to look out for today is Ian Henderson, with the 33-year-old Rochdale skipper having already scored five goals in as many FA Cup appearances so far this season, and 14 across all competitions.

Winger Matt Done is also a threat, though, and is more than capable of weighing in with goals of his own too should Spurs take their eye off him today.

Whichever way you slice it, though, this is an almighty task for Rochdale today, with Spurs coming into the match off the back of that hugely impressive draw in Turin.

Pochettino claimed in his pre-match press conference that this test could be an even bigger one than recent matches against Arsenal and Juventus, but you'd have to think that if Spurs can avoid complacency then they will have enough to get past their hosts this afternoon.

Rochdale are appearing in the fifth round of the FA Cup for only the third time, last doing so in 2002-03 when they lost to Wolves 3-1. They have never reached the quarter-finals in their entire history, so victory today would not only see them claim a huge Premier League scalp, but it would also take them in uncharted territory.

The FA Cup run has provided a welcome distraction from league duties too, with Rochdale struggling badly on that front, sitting bottom of League One.

Rochdale are a full 11 points from safety in League One having won just five times all season, although all hope is not yet lost for Keith Hill's side as they have at least four games in hand over the teams above them in the table.

Dale would need to win all of those to make it to a position of safety - almost doubling their season tally of wins in the process - so it is highly unlikely they will make full use of them, but it is a lifeline nonetheless.

Indeed, Rochdale have won four of their five FA Cup matches this season, compared to only five wins from 28 games in League One, so this competition has been a lot kinder to them this term.

Keith Hill's side have only won three of their last 13 games across all competitions, losing seven of those in a run which stretches back to early December, but two of those wins have come in the FA Cup.

Being in League One, Rochdale entered the competition in the first round this season and had to see off the likes of Bromley and Slough Town before the big boys arrived, doing so with back-to-back 4-0 wins.

Doncaster awaited in the third round and were beaten 1-0 before Rochdale came up against their first higher-tier opposition of their run in the shape of Millwall in the last round. Dale needed a replay in that match, drawing 2-2 away before winning 1-0 in the return fixture here at Spotland.

Rochdale have now reached at least the fourth round in four of their last five seasons under Keith Hill, and they have lost just one of their last 11 FA Cup outings - crashing out at the hands of Huddersfield in the fourth round last season.

However, none of those matches came against Premier League opposition and you have to go back to January 1971 for Rochdale's last FA Cup win against a top-flight team, losing all six such matches since then.

Rochdale have the home advantage for this match, which can so often be an ingredient in a memorable cupset, but their record here at Spotland has not been that great so far this season, winning just one of their last six outings in front of their own fans.

However, that solitary win did come in their most recent home game, and in this competition too as they beat Millwall. They have now won both FA Cup home games this season without conceding, and another victory today would see them win three in a row for the first time since January 2015.

The pitch here at Spotland may have been a leveller - as it appeared to be against Millwall in the last round - but after complaints from Spurs and plenty of attention in the media, Rochdale have gone to significant expense to get it relaid for this match.

It is an interesting decision from the hosts as on paper it looks like it takes an advantage away from them, and Spurs will certainly be happy that they have a decent surface to play on today.

Tottenham must still keep their wits about them in front of what is sure to be a highly-charged crowd, but in truth it is hard to see them slipping up this afternoon given their recent performances.

Spurs are coming out of what looked like being a very difficult run of fixtures, facing Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal in successive Premier League games before taking on Juventus in the first leg of their Champions League tie on Tuesday. They took a hugely impressive seven points from those league games, though, and are now in the driving seat of their European tie.

Things looked bleak for Tottenham when they fell two goals behind inside 10 minutes in Turin, particularly as the hosts boast a formidable defensive record, but goals from Kane and Eriksen saw them come from behind to record a very creditable 2-2 draw.

Spurs must still negotiate the second leg at Wembley, which will still be a very difficult tie against the Italian champions, but those two away goals mean that the balance of the tie lies in their favour at the halfway stage.

The battle to ensure that they are in the Champions League again next year continues to rage on the domestic front too, with Spurs now only one point off the top four in the Premier League table and two behind Liverpool.

Recent wins over Manchester United and Arsenal - in addition to their draw with Liverpool - have kept them right in the mix, and they are now very well placed to pounce should any of the current top four slip up at any point.

Despite Tottenham's tricky recent fixtures, they still come into this match unbeaten in their last 13 outings across all competitions, stretching all the way back to December 16 when they were beaten by Manchester City.

That includes three FA Cup matches so far this season, with Pochettino's side having beaten AFC Wimbledon in the third round before needing a replay to get past Newport County in the fourth.

Rochdale should take encouragement from Newport battling to a 1-1 draw in the original fourth-round clash with Spurs, particularly as the League Two outfit were not far away from producing a famous upset before Kane rescued the replay for his side, which Spurs went on to win 2-0.

Tottenham have not come up against opposition higher than League One so far in this season's competition, so it has been a relatively easy route as they look to reach the quarter-finals in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-02.

A concern for Pochettino - and a source of encouragement for Rochdale fans - will be that Spurs have drawn their last four away games across all competitions, stretching back to January 2.

The most recent two of those have been impressive - against Liverpool and Juventus - but before that they were held at Southampton and Newport County, and they have now won just three of their last 13 outings on the road across all competitions.

PREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes away from kickoff at Spotland, which means that it is time for a prediction!

Spurs may have made 11 changes to their side today, but it still looks like a good team for the visitors and I fully expect them to successfully negotiate this potential banana skin here. Rochdale will give it their best, but I cannot see that being good enough today.

SPORTS MOLE SAYS: Rochdale 0-3 Tottenham

At this stage I usually look at the past meetings and head-to-head record between the two teams in question, but for this match there is no history whatsoever.

This will be the first ever competitive clash between Rochdale and Tottenham in any competition, so both teams are facing slightly unknown quantities this afternoon.

Tottenham have a good record in this competition against lower league opposition, though, progressing from 16 of their last 17 FA Cup ties against teams below the Premier League, with the only exception in that time coming against Leeds in the fourth round in 2012-13.

Indeed, Spurs have not been beaten by a third-tier side since January 1988, when they lost to Port Vale, which helps to give some context to the size of the task in front of Rochdale this afternoon.

The top four race in the Premier League and the prospect of going further in the Champions League may rank highest up Tottenham's priority list at the moment, but their fans will also be desperate for glory in this competition.

It is now 10 years since Spurs last lifted silverware and 17 since they won the FA Cup, so a trophy is long overdue. Pochettino will also be keen to pick up his first piece of silverware as manager, if only to show a tangible reward for the team's undoubted progress under him.

Right, the players are out and we're almost ready to go for this one! A quick reminder of the team news before we do get started...

ROCHDALE STARTING XI: Lillis; McGahey, McNulty, Delaney; Rafferty, Cannon, Camps, Kitching, Done; Henderson, Humphrys

TOTTENHAM STARTING XI: Vorm; Trippier, Alderweireld, Foyth, Rose; Wanyama, Winks, Sissoko, Lucas, Son; Llorente

KICKOFF: Here we go, then! Rochdale get us underway on the newly-relaid Spotland pitch!
This has been a good, confident start from Rochdale, but they are almost undone here as Lucas skips away from two defenders on his way forward. He floats a ball over for Son, who takes it down inside the area but is then tackled before he can pull the trigger.
The hosts will be really happy with how they have started this match. They are seeing plenty of the ball, working it around well, and do not look overawed whatsoever in these opening exchanges.
Tottenham are starting to see more of the ball themselves now as they look to build the pressure on Rochdale, who need to try to avoid being forced too far back by this Spurs possession.
Lucas tries to play the ball through for Son, but Lillis is alert and quickly comes out of his area to mop up the danger. Still no big chances to speak of for either side.
Lucas Moura has made an exciting start to his Tottenham career here. There have been one or two glimpses of his lightning pace already and if he can get space then there will be no catching him.
good move from Spurs as Lucas releases Sissoko down the right and he plays it in for Son. The Korean exchanges passes with Llorente on the edge of the box, but the return pass forces him too wide and the attack breaks down.
Rochdale resort to hacking Lucas down now as the Brazilian bounces back up to his feet following one challenge from Delaney before being brought down once again.
SAVE! The resulting free kick is met by Alderweireld, but his header lacks power and is easy for Lillis. Lillis then tries to clear the ball quickly and sees his blocked blocked by Llorente, sending the ball looping just wide of the target, although it wouldn't have counted if it had gone in.
Cannon cuts inside from the right flank and Alderweireld slips when trying to stop him, landing on the ball. It strikes Alderweireld's arm, leading to calls for a penalty, but it would have been a harsh one.
Naughty challenge from McGahey as he goes over the top of the ball but fortunately doesn't catch Winks too heavily. No card is produced, but it gave the referee a decision to make.
CHANCE! The first big chance of the match falls the way of Rochdale as Cannon wins the ball off Wanyama in a really good position before giving it to Henderson in the area. Humphrys and Cannon are probably in better positions, but Henderson only has eyes for goal and fires his effort straight into the arms of Vorm.
The new surface is certainly better than the old one, but a number of players have already lost their footing today. That could have an impact if a defender suffers an untimely slip at some stage.
CHANCE! Speak of the devil, Son latches on to a flick from Llorente before cutting inside past Delaney, who slips inside his own area. Son then goes for goal, but his effort is blocked by McGahey before it can test the keeper.
We're a quarter of the way through this match now, and Rochdale will be pretty pleased with how it has gone so far. They have more than held their own against their Premier League opponents in what has been a very even game so far.
CHANCES! Spurs really should be ahead here! Llorente does really well to spin on the ball and play it through for Son, who finds himself with only the keeper to beat. His eventual low effort is saved by Lillis, but the ball bounces back to the Korean, who bides his time before giving it to Llorente. Llorente then also works space to shoot with Rochdale trying to scramble back in defence, but he puts his eventual effort wide of the target when he should have scored.
Wanyama is having a bit of a shocker so far today. He tries to play the ball back to Vorm here but puts it nowhere near the keeper and concedes a corner in the process.
CHANCE! Spurs come forward again here and Trippier latches on to Son's pass before putting a tantalizing ball right across the six-yard box which is begging to be tapped in. No-one is there to apply the finishing touch, but Llorente picks it up at the back post before knocking it back to Lucas, who blasts his effort over the bar.
There are just a few signs that the chances are beginning to come for Spurs. Things are beginning to look a little ominous for the hosts.
CHANCE! Just as I say that, Rochdale have the chance to go ahead! Camps lifts the ball into the area for Henderson, who finds himself in a bit of space following another slip. However, he rushes his effort and slices it out towards the corner flag when he should have at least hit the target.
Good pressure from Spurs as they enjoy a long spell of possession inside the Rochdale half, but the hosts are defending stoutly here.
More good play from Lucas as he skips away from his man on the way to the byline before playing a cross into the middle, but McGahey reads it well and gets across to put it behind for a corner.
Less than 10 minutes remaining in this first half now and, while Rochdale have had one or two scares, they have still held their own in this game. Without knowing, you wouldn't guess that there were two divisions separating these two sides.
Rochdale have played some really testing crosses into the box today, but Spurs have dealt with them well so far, with Trippier in particular making some important interceptions.
Almost another chance for Spurs as Son and Llorente link up nicely on their way into the box, but the return pass is just behind Son and that allows Rochdale to get an important foot in.
Rochdale will be looking to get to half time still level here, but it isn't as though they are hanging on for dear life right now. They continue to look just as likely to score as Spurs do.
GOAL! Rochdale 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur (Ian Henderson)
Forget about going into half time level - Rochdale have taken the lead right on the stroke of the interval!

It is another really good team move from the hosts as Winks gives the ball away and Rochdale immediately pour forward on the counter. Cannon is in acres of space and produces the quality needed with the final pass to release Henderson. He has missed two good chances already today, but there is no doubt about this one as he slides his finish past Vorm from inside the area.

HALF TIME: Rochdale 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
The first half comes to an end at Spotland, and it is Rochdale who have the lead at the halfway stage of this tie as they look to pull off a memorable upset.

Rochdale are well worth their lead too, having created a number of good chances and more than held their own against the might of Tottenham. We are in for a very interesting second half!

The opening goal came right on the stroke of half time, when Rochdale may have been thinking more about simply getting into the break level.

Ian Henderson had missed two good chances prior to the opener, but he made no mistake when a third opportunity came his way following a slick team move from the hosts. A counter-attack sliced right through Spurs and Henderson collected the ball inside the area before slotting his finish past Vorm.

Rochdale have played some really nice football so far this afternoon, which makes it all the more confusing how they are struggling so badly in the league this season.

As mentioned, Henderson has squandered the two best chances aside from the goal, with the Rochdale top scorer firing one into the arms of Vorm and slicing another horribly off target.

Spurs have also had chances of their own, with Son and Llorente missing the best of those, but the Premier League outfit are certainly a yard or two off the pace this afternoon.

Pochettino made a full 11 changes from the midweek draw at Juventus, but it may not be too much longer before he looks to bring on some of the big guns in an effort to rescue this one.

KICKOFF: Tottenham Hotspur get us back underway for the second half!
Rochdale have not only played really well on the ball today, they have also pressed exceptionally well. It is a risky strategy against a team like Spurs, who can play through you, but they have pulled it off superbly so far.
Fortunately for Rochdale, Spurs do not seem to have come out for this second half with any words ringing in their ears from Pochettino. The game has quickly fallen back into the same rhythm as the opening 45 minutes, which will suit the hosts just fine.
Good sweeping move from Spurs as this time they do manage to beat the press, with most of their players touching the ball on their way into the area. However, the attack comes to an end when Llorente loses possession in the area.
The Spurs fans launch of chorus of Harry Kane's name. I suspect they want the striker on as soon as possible here.
SAVE! Better from Spurs as Winks grabs control and carries the ball forward before letting fly on his left foot, but his effort lacks power and is easily collected by Lillis.
The game is a little scrappy at the moment, with fouls breaking up the rhythm - something which you'd imagine suits Rochdale more than Spurs.
GOAL! Rochdale 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur (Lucas Moura)
A first Tottenham start, and a first Tottenham goal for Lucas Moura - and what a time to get it as the January arrival may have just rescued their FA Cup hopes.

Sissoko slides a pass through to Lucas, who has managed to escape the attentions of the defence on the edge of the box. The winger takes it in his path and strokes his finish past Lillis as the keeper was coming racing off his line.

PENALTY SHOUT! Rochdale want a penalty here as Foyth barges into Henderson inside the area. It certainly gives the referee a decision to make, but Bobby Madley says no.
TOTTENHAM SUB: The first change of the afternoon comes from Spurs as Erik Lamela replaces Winks.
YELLOW CARD! Alderweireld is the first name in the book today for a cynical trip to prevent a Rochdale counter.
Lucas will be hoping for more regular starts at Spurs than he had at PSG...

SHOT! Camps tries to catch Vorm out with a free kick when most are expected the cross, but his low drive skids wide of the target. A very questionable wall from Spurs, though.
Just 20 minutes remaining for Rochdale to hold out now. You'd have to think that they would be happy with a replay at this stage!
TOTTENHAM SUB: Another change from Spurs sees Dele Alli replace the goalscorer Lucas.
CHANCE! Huge chance for Spurs to take the lead! A corner goes all the way through to the back post where Wanyama is waiting, but somehow he turns the ball over from all of two yards! It arrived at an awkward height for the midfielder, but he still should have buried it.
YELLOW CARD! Rafferty is the latest name in the book for a foul on Rose.
CHANCE! Brilliant from Alli as he skips past his man inside the area, only to be thwarted when trying to sneak the ball in at the near post.
ROCHDALE SUB: The hosts make their first change of the evening as Steve Davies replaces Humphrys.
TOTTENHAM SUB: Spurs respond with their third and final change, and it is a notable one as Harry Kane replaces Llorente.
Kane immediately wins a free kick in a dangerous position, but Trippier's effort strikes the wall. Disappointing effort from the full-back there.
It is one-way traffic at the moment, with Rochdale really beginning to tire now - as is to be expected. Just 10 minutes left for them to hang on!
ROCHDALE SUB: Another change for the hosts here as Oliver Rathbone replaces Rafferty.
OFF THE LINE! Brilliant defending from Rochdale to keep Spurs at bay! Son plays the ball down the left channel for Alli, who returns the favour with a brilliant back-heel. However, McNulty produces a superb block to deny Son's effort and the ball loops up towards goal, where Done is waiting to clear it off the line.
YELLOW CARD! Rathbone goes into the book here, and he can have no complaints having clattered in to Rose.
SAVE! Sissoko goes for goal from the right channel and his effort takes a deflection, which takes the sting out of it and makes it easy for Lillis.
GOAL! Rochdale 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Harry Kane, penalty)
Heartbreak for Rochdale as Tottenham seemingly rescue the victory in the dying stages of the match!

Alli is upended inside the area and Bobby Madley is quick to point to the spot. Kane steps up and tucks a brilliant penalty into the bottom corner, leaving the keeper no chance despite him guessing the right way.

ROCHDALE SUB: The hosts make a change in the wake of that goal, with McNulty being replaced by Bradden Inman.
There will be four minutes of added time at the end of this match.
GOAL! Rochdale 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Steve Davies)
Incredible scenes at Spotland! Rochdale would have thought they had lost this tie after that Kane penalty, but they have surely now rescued a replay at Wembley!

The ball breaks to Davies in the area and he takes a touch before tucking his finish away with aplomb, leaving Vorm no chance! The home crowd erupt!

FULL TIME: Rochdale 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Wow, what an ending to that match! The Rochdale fans and players are going crazy as they seal a trip to Wembley courtesy of a late, late equaliser against Tottenham in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

The League One strugglers really began to tire in the second half and looked to have lost it when Harry Kane tucked home an 88th-minute penalty, after Lucas Moura had earlier marked his full debut by cancelling out Henderson's surprise opener.

However, Steve Davies had the final say with a 92nd-minute equaliser which sets up a replay at Wembley.

Right, that is all we have time for this evening!

Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's match as Rochdale stun Tottenham at the death to earn a replay at Wembley and keep their quarter-final dreams alive. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too.

From me, though, it is goodbye for now!

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