BACK ON THE Cup trail at the Reebok Stadium although, driving through the storms on the M6, thoughts were drifting slightly towards the winter warmers in prospect in Bolton's press room!
Chips n gravy is always a favourite here and it was most welcome - although Paul 'The Pie' Miles could not resist more than living up to his self-made legend with a meat and potato one - or two - some of which ended up over the floor in his dash to consume.
The teamsheet was up nice and early in the press room and our guesswork on route was not entirely accurate. Jamie Redknapp's suspension ruled him out, while Anthony Gardner joined Erik Edman and Thimothee Atouba on the treatment table.
Sean Davis returned to the starting line-up after featuring as sub on Saturday, while there was full debut for Reto Ziegler and a big opportunity to impress down the left flank ahead of the restored Goran Bunjevcevic. Kasey Keller had another Carling Cup outing in goal, while Jermain Defoe started in place of Robbie Keane.
There was drama during the warm-up in Bolton's half when virtually the whole home contingent along with stretcher bearers rushed to the aid of the apparently stricken Kalilou Fadiga. Hard to tell what happened at time of writing, but there were early suggestions of heart problems. We later discovered he had fainted and we wish him a swift recovery.
Fredi Kanoute continued to look lively following a good display on Saturday and, three minutes in, rolled the ball back from the edge of the area in the direction of Davis who curled his effort not far over the bar. Keller, looking much more composed than in his last sojourn up at Oldham, saved well from Kevin Davies.
The wind was beginning to swirl even more and the rain was pelting as both sides struggled to establish a real pattern. Bolton though should really have taken the lead on 14 minutes when El Hadji Diouf whipped over a real teasing low-ish cross that was practically on a platter for Henrik Pedersen to steer home. He failed miserably, thankfully.
The reprieve was not an indefinite one and a Fernando Hierro free-kick was devilishly delivered into the danger area and clipped the head of Ledley King. Bolton did not appear sure who it came off and Davies and Pedersen seemed keen to award it to each other - or possibly Kevin Nolan.
Six minutes from the break a Davies dart down the right led to a cross that was well met by the head of Kanoute, but planted too close to Kevin Poole in the Bolton goal. Kevin Davies had the chance to double the home advantage right on halt-time when clean through but a poor first touch and lost footing came to the rescue.
Seconds later we were heralding the return to goalscoring form of Jermain Defoe, who picked up the ball from Mendes with his back to goal, turned and fired in a low drive beyond the reach of Poole and inside his left hand post.
There was a positive aura about the side as they approached the second period with renewed vigour. An early chance from a Ziegler corner, bought a thumping drive from Naybet that cannoned off a defender before Kanoute headed a decent chance onto the roof of the net.
Robbie Keane got the call to join the play on 63 minutes, replacing a by this time subdued Kanoute. The game, to call it honestly, had become a scrappy and disjointed affair lacking in cohesion and quality. Possibly due to the conditions, or neither side really wanting to take the risk of going for broke.
Bolton did liven up on 75 minutes, Diouf rolled the ball across the six yard box for Pedersen to tap home but, somehow, the striker managed to scoop it over the bar. His second missed sitter of the game.
As in the first half, there was no lengthy respite, a minute later Bunjevcevic was adjudged to have impeded Pedersen in the area and JJ Okocha made no mistake from the penalty spot.
With just over five minutes to go and a miserable journey home beginning to be contemplated, a corner from Keane was helped on by King and up popped Bunjevcevic in front of goal for his second carling cup strike of the season.
Keane should have won it right at the end of normal time when through on goal, but ignore the stronger shooting claims of Defoe and extra time became reality.
The spring was definitely in the step of the Spurs team as we entered the added half an hour, but it took Keller to deny Okocha in the third minute when his angled drive looked to be heading for the top corner.
Four minutes in, a superbly flighted free kick from sub Michael Carrick was nodded in from six yards by Michael Brown and we were ahead for the first time of the night.
Just before half time in extra time, an attempted clearance from Nicky Hunt clipped Keane and Defoe was away one on one with Poole - and there was only one winner, the ball be driven low to the keeper's left.
There was still drama to come before the half was out, Hunt redeemed himself with a measured cross into the area that was met by a trademark header from Les Ferdinand to narrow the deficit going into the final 15 minutes.
Bolton piled on the pressure and, with four minutes to go, Keller saved what looked a certain leveller from Ferdinand as news filtered through that Burnley away was awaiting the winners.
Keane could have sealed it in the final minute, again ignoring Defoe in a better position with both bearing down on goal. Keane missed again in stoppage time before Defoe ignored him when clean through a minute later.
It didn't matter - it is us looking forward to yet another trip to the north west to take on Burnley.