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Defoe earns replay

Posted on 14 February 2010  - 12:00

It is a case of play it again at the Lane after it finished all-square in the FA Cup fifth round against Bolton Wanderers on Sunday.

Defoe earns replay

It is a case of play it again at the Lane after it finished all-square in the FA Cup fifth round against Bolton Wanderers on Sunday.

The home side took a deserved first half lead as the team laboured in attempting to click into gear, but all that changed in the second half and it was Bolton who were hanging on and grateful to still be in the hat when the final whistle sounded.

The opening minutes were pretty much uneventful in front of a poorly populated Reebok Stadium, with the exception of one end - packed with Spurs fans on both the upper and lower tier. It was from this magnificent turn-out that the noise was coming as the game struggled a little for rhythm.

Johan Elmander perhaps should have scored when he was the beneficiary of a fortunate deflection - another taking his shot over the bar off the top of Vedran Corluka's boot. Zat Knight then shot straight at Heurelho Gomes when he won the second ball from a free-kick deep in Bolton's own half.

Bolton appeared to be warming to their task a little quicker, pressuring from long balls and knock-downs, while the team in all blue were taking their time to get the ball down and play, to impose themselves on the game. Gareth Bale, so lively and effective in recent weeks, did take the initiative by cutting inside and unleashing a drive that flew narrowly over the bar.

Ricardo Gardner responded by playing Elmander through, but the Swede's finishing was wayward and Gomes was not troubled.

Too many set pieces were being conceded, allowing Bolton to pepper our area with aerial balls. Matt Taylor tried something different from one such free-kick, going straight for goal and Gomes had to be alert to push around as the ball arrowed towards his near post.

Ledley King prodded wide via a deflection in what was a rare sortie forward towards the half hour mark, while a corner routine involving David Bentley and Tom Huddlestone led to the latter blasting over on the volley. Bentley then worked himself an angle for a shot, but fired straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen.

A teasing cross from Bale deceived Jaaskelainen and, with Peter Crouch waiting, Sam Ricketts did well to jut his head back and divert for a corner.

On 34 minutes Elmander combined with Lee and the Swede placed a low cross into the path of Kevin Davies, who was able to steer his shot around the legs of Corluka and past the unsighted Gomes into the net.

There was a little spell of pressure applied to Jaaskelainen's goal in the minutes leading to half-time, but greater stealth and purpose would be needed in the second 45 minutes to recover this tie.

Gomes made a vital catch on the stretch in the first minute of the second half after Elmander again forced his way through to the line. A Davies shot then flew just wide after taking a deflection, before Elmander rattled the side netting after being played in by Davies.

Bentley snaked in a cross that was gathered smartly by Jaaskelainen ahead of the lurking Crouch, the striker then nodding against the bar after a mid-air tussle with the goalkeeper. Wilson Palacios embarked on a run that resulted in Paul Robinson knocking the ball onto his own bar via Jaaskelainen as the game, all of a sudden, cranked up a notch or two in intensity.

Bale's lung-busting runs down the left began to stretch what was an organised Bolton outfit and the productive Welshman sped forward in the 61st minute and cut inside before prodding an accurate ball in the direction of Defoe. Defoe took aim and Jaaskelainen was defeated, the ball rasping into the net from roughly penalty spot distance.

Niko Kranjcar was then introduced in place of Luka Modric, the Croatian setting Bale off in a sprint against Lee. He was second favourite to get there but somehow did and managed switch play back in the direction of Palacios, who powered over. Jaaskelainen then saved superbly to deny Kranjcar a second goal at this venue this season.

A spot of Crouch keepy up in the penalty area resulted in Ricketts handling and referee Mr Dowd pointing to the spot. Both Kranjcar and Huddlestone made for the ball and Huddlestone took responsibility. He failed his first test as new taker with Jaaskelainen saving easily to his right.

Defoe stretched Jaaskelainen into making a fine save low to his right moments later before Corluka's drive across goal fell to Bale, who drilled it back into the ground and Crouch's header drifted wide.

The squeeze was on Bolton and they were just about holding out as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes - Kranjcar just failing to get his shot away in the final minute after being teed up by Defoe.

Three minutes added time was signalled. Time enough for Jaaskelainen to endure scares courtesy of Crouch and Defoe, but Bolton hung on and we will meet again at the Lane.