Harry Kane opened the scoring in the 63rd minute before adding a second two minutes later, while Jan Vertonghen hit a 71st minute screamer – his first goal in our colours since netting away to FC Sheriff in October, 2013 – to settle the issue.
But it was a stiffer test than the scoreline suggests, with Michel Vorm making two excellent saves with the game goalless to prevent our League One opponents from taking the lead.
The Dons kept it tight and defended well in numbers in the first half particularly, almost going in front when Jimmy Abdou hit a right-foot curler which Vorm superbly tipped onto his crossbar, before denying Liam Trotter from the rebound.
We had chances with Kane and Erik Lamela bringing good saves out of Wimbledon keeper George Long, while Mousa Dembele struck the woodwork after the interval just moments before Vorm scrambled back to tip over Jonathan Meades’ header.
We eventually pierced the Dons' defence when Kane poked home Moussa Sissoko’s cross from close range and he did so again just over a minute later after Kyle Walker-Peters’ shot had been deflected. That second goal was his 125th for the club, moving him above Teddy Sheringham and into ninth place on our all-time goalscorers list.
The icing on the cake was delivered by Vertonghen from 25 yards to wrap up a fine but hard-fought victory.
Mauricio Pochettino made eight changes to the team that played West Ham United on Thursday night. Only Vertonghen, Sissoko and Kane retained their places in the starting line-up, with Victor Wanyama making his first start since August following his injury absence. Juan Foyth and Walker-Peters featured in defence, making their fourth and fifth appearances for us respectively. Our former Academy product Andy Barcham started for the visitors.
SAVE: SUPERB VORM DENIES ABDOU – 30mins
It was no surprise that we dominated the early stages, enjoying most of the possession and chances, without breaking the deadlock. Kane had a shot blocked by Abdul-Yussuf Oshilaja, Lamela’s volley was parried away by Dons goalkeeper Long and Kane fired wide with a couple more shots, before the visitors almost took the lead against the run of play on the counter. Lyle Taylor held the ball up inside the area and laid off for Abdou, who strode onto the ball and hit a right-foot curler which Vorm superbly tipped onto the bar. The rebound fell to Trotter but Vorm was there again to save his effort.
SAVE: LAMELA THWARTED BY LONG – 41mins
Wimbledon had a short spell where they were on the front foot more, cheered on by a sizeable away following, but we were soon on the attack again, Kane linking up with Fernando Llorente before seeing his shot pushed away by Long. Then came our best chance of the half on 41 minutes when Sissoko went on a superb marauding run, skipping past three challenges before finding Kane. He slipped Lamela in on goal, but Long was out quickly to get a touch on his attempted chip, with the resulting corner coming to nothing as the half-time whistle blew minutes later.
Above: Moussa Sissoko rides a challenge.
WOODWORK: DEMBELE THUMPS AGAINST THE POST – 52mins
There were no changes to either team at half-time and the pattern of the game didn’t alter much either in the opening minutes of the second half. But once again it was Wimbledon who went close to opening the scoring when George Francomb’s 49th-minute free-kick was headed goalwards by Meades and it was going to loop in but for Vorm’s fine fingertip save. Just three minutes later, we almost took the lead when Dembele shifted the ball onto his left foot and drilled low against the post, Long gathering the rebound.
GOAL: SPURS 1-0 AFC WIMBLEDON – HARRY KANE – 63mins
We made a change just before the hour mark when Heung-Min Son replaced Llorente and, although he wasn’t involved in the goal, we broke the deadlock just three minutes later. Kieran Trippier slid the ball down the right channel for Sissoko who drilled low across the six yard box, Kane diving in with Barry Fuller and Oshilaja and getting the crucial touch to send the ball into the roof of the net.
GOAL: SPURS 2-0 AFC WIMBLEDON – HARRY KANE – 65mins
The goal settled any nerves that were starting to creep in and just over a minute later, we doubled our advantage. Sissoko again was heavily involved, leading the charge out of defence before switching the play to find Walker-Peters on the left. He cut inside and fired goalwards with his right foot, the ball hitting a defender and landing at the feet of Kane, who poked home from close range.
GOAL: SPURS 3-0 AFC WIMBLEDON – JAN VERTONGHEN – 71mins
Another substitution saw Dele come into the fray in place of Sissoko before we added our third goal in eight minutes. Taylor tried to break away for the Dons but was crowded out by Vertonghen and Dembele, the former advancing towards goal and unleashing a left-foot drive which flicked off Fuller and arrowed into the top corner past Long. Moments later, it was almost four, Long this time producing a strong hand to push Kane’s powerful shot away.
WOODWORK: SON SO CLOSE TO NUMBER FOUR – 86mins
We kept coming forwards despite the three-goal cushion, Son having an effort blocked by Darius Charles while at the other end, Vorm saved comfortably from Francomb. The last chance of the game came on 86 minutes, Son’s shot from a narrow angle deflecting off Oshilaja, looping over Long but hitting the post and bouncing back to the goalkeeper.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO SAID
"It's so difficult to play in the FA Cup, so tough and AFC Wimbledon played so well. They created a few chances. It was a solid performance from us but full credit to them because they tried to play, they were strong and it was difficult to beat them. In the end, our performance was good and we deserved to beat them but it was a tough game. For youngsters like Kyle (Walker-Peters) and Juan (Foyth) they are learning and improving and it's so important for them to play this type of game to get more experience."
HARRY KANE SAID
"It was one of those games where the first goal was so important. They defended well in the first half, we had a few chances where we might have done better but once we got the first and the second so quickly afterwards that killed the game. Credit to AFC Wimbledon, they did well. It was important just to get the win and get into the next round."
Spurs (4-4-2): Vorm, Trippier, Foyth, Vertonghen, Walker-Peters, Wanyama, Dembele, Sissoko (Dele 65), Lamela, Kane (c, Nkoudou 79), Llorente (Son 59). Substitutes (not used): Lloris, Davies, Dier, Eriksen.
AFC Wimbledon (4-5-1): Long, Fuller (c), Charles, Oshilaja, Meades, Francomb, Trotter, Soares (Hartigan 79), Abdou (McDonald 70), Barcham (Forrester 70), Taylor. Substitutes (not used): McDonnell, Nightingale, Kaja, Kennedy.
Goals: Spurs – Kane 63, 65, Vertonghen 71.
Yellow cards: Spurs - Wanyama 48.
Referee: David Coote.
MAN OF THE MATCH
With 55 per cent of fans' votes on social media, Harry Kane was named Man of the Match.
There’s no midweek game this week but we are back at Wembley Stadium next weekend when Everton are our visitors in the Premier League. Despite a terrible start to the campaign, the Toffees are now ninth in the table under Sam Allardyce although they are currently without a win in their last five matches, losing their Merseyside derby in the FA Cup on Friday evening. Kick-off next Saturday is at 5.30pm.