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Final countdown - Woody's dream

Posted on 1 March 2015  - 08:30

The last word in this week’s series of ‘Final Countdowns’ goes to the man whose goal secured the League Cup in 2008 – Jonathan Woodgate.

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Incredibly, Woody had been at the club less than a month when he carved his name into the Spurs folklore by heading home a winning goal at Wembley.

It was only his fifth game in a Spurs shirt!

Woody was outstanding alongside Ledley King in the final, keeping the huge threat of Didier Drogba quiet - Drogba’s goal came via a direct free-kick - as the pair overcame a severe physical test as the final went into extra time.

Now 35 and back at his home-town club Middlesbrough, Woody took time out to talk to us ahead of Sunday’s showpiece back at Wembley, once again against the men from Stamford Bridge.

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“We had resilience and we knew we could beat any team on our day with the players we had, the likes of myself and Ledley at the break, Tom, JJ and Aaron Lennon, Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov up front, it was a strong spine," reflected the former England international.

“Drogba stood over free-kick, ran up, hit it with the side of his foot and it went in. That style hadn't really been seen before. We were all disappointed but we thought ‘we’ve still got a chance, we can win this’. We had a good talk at half-time and went from there.

“Berbatov scored the equaliser from the penalty spot, sent the goalkeeper the wrong way. I wasn’t nervous at all as he stepped up to take it because he was such a cool character.

“We went for it at 1-1. I remember getting cramp after about 70 minutes and thinking ‘how am I going to get through this?’ It went to extra time and my body was in a bit of turmoil and to be fair, Ledley’s was as well! It was really hard, especially up against Drogba, who is an exceptional player.

“We knew we could win it. We created the better chances in the game and Juande Ramos said keep on going and you’ll be victorious. It took hard work, a lot of effort, graft and mental toughness from the players.

“For the winner, I remember going up for a free-kick and JJ was standing over it, I was pointing ‘put it in there’ because I wanted to attack it. Drogba was marking me and he wasn’t great marking at set-pieces, the ball went in, I attacked it, headed it at Petr Cech, he punched it back on to me and luckily it went in.

“It was an amazing feeling, one you wish for when you are a young kid playing in the schoolyard, to score the winning goal in a cup final at Wembley.

“I don’t know how I ran off, I was so tired from cramp but I found the energy from somewhere! Everyone was delighted, my family was there and it was a great day for the whole club.”

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