The England midfielder was on hand in the 65th minute to convert from close range to finally pierce the Tykes’ resolute back line in this third round tie, giving us the victory we deserved on the balance of play.
A fairly uneventful first half saw Juan Foyth and Fernando Llorente both head over from Kieran Trippier corners while Barnsley’s Liam Lindsay went close at the other end with a flicked header from another corner.
We were thankful to Michel Vorm for keeping the game goalless just 20 seconds after the interval when he produced a wonderful stop to deny Ike Ugbo from 15 yards out, before we started to get a grip on the game. Dele had a shot deflected just wide after excellent build-up play from Foyth, who was very impressive throughout, before Barnsley goalkeeper Adam Davies kept out a Harry Winks effort.
The opening goal arrived when Moussa Sissoko and Trippier combined to set up Dele, who was alert to the latter’s low cross into the box and prodded home from six yards. Davies denied substitute Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and Heung-Min Son twice in the closing stages, but Dele’s goal did the job.
The draw for the fourth round is on Wednesday evening, after Manchester United’s tie with Burton Albion.
Mauricio Pochettino made six changes from the team that started against Swansea on Saturday. Foyth came in for his debut and Llorente made his full debut after two substitute appearances. Vorm, Kyle Walker-Peters, Mousa Dembele and Winks also started. Paulo Gazzaniga and Tashan Oakley-Boothe were on the bench for the first time, the latter making his debut in stoppage time, and Nkoudou returned from injury to take his place in the 18. Former Spur Zeki Fryers lined up at left-back for Barnsley.
HEADERS: FOYTH AND LLORENTE CLOSE – 3-26mins
As expected we saw much of the ball early on and there were just three minutes on the clock when Foyth’s downward header from Trippier’s corner skimmed just wide of the far post. And another corner on 26 minutes could have brought about the opener, birthday boy Trippier again with the delivery against his former loan club but an unmarked Llorente couldn’t get up high enough and headed it over. Joe Williams produced an excellent sliding block to thwart Son minutes later as we looked for the first goal.
CHANCE: LINDSAY’S FLICK JUST WIDE – 41mins
Barnsley were being pushed back for most of the half but they did enjoy the occasional foray forwards. One such attack saw Harvey Barnes surge down the left into our area but Jan Vertonghen tracked him back and was able to get a toe on the winger’s cross to divert it through to Vorm. Then, in the 41st minute, a corner from Ryan Hedges was flicked just wide by Lindsay as the visitors started to grow into the contest. Wild efforts from distance by Sissoko and Walker-Peters brought the half to a close.
SAVE: SUPER VORM SAVE DENIES UGBO – 46mins
Although neither side created much in the first period, Barnsley had a glorious chance to go ahead 20 seconds after the break. Fryers clipped a ball down the left channel, Ugbo lifted it over Vertonghen on the edge of the area and let fly from 15 yards but Vorm stood up well and parried it away. Seven minutes later, Foyth started a move from deep which ended with Dele firing in a 22-yard effort, a deflection taking it just inches wide of Davies’ goal.
Above: Tashan Oakley-Boothe on his senior competitive debut.
GOAL: SPURS 1-0 BARNSLEY – DELE ALLI – 65mins
It was a much more enterprising half from both sides, Barnsley pushing men into attack which in turn created more gaps for our forward players and the goalscoring opportunities started to come. On 62 minutes, a Trippier cross from the right was flicked on and landed at the feet of Winks, he took one touch and shot but it was well saved by Davies at his near post. Then came the goal, as Sissoko put Trippier in again, he broke into the area and sent in a low cross which Dele poked home from six yards.
SAVES: BUSY DAVIES KEEPS OUT SON – 86mins
The goal certainly settled any nerves and we continued to dominate the game, while always being wary of Barnsley’s threat, particularly after they brought on attacking players Adam Hammill and Tom Bradshaw. Nkoudou came off the bench for Llorente and brought a smart save out of Davies on 67 minutes, while the Tykes' keeper twice denied Son in the final 10 minutes – one from a left-foot drive and one with his right. Academy graduate Oakley-Boothe came on in stoppage time for his debut, becoming the first player born this millennium to play for the club, having been born in 2000, as we comfortably held out in the closing minutes.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO SAID
"It was a very tough game. I want to congratulate Barnsley, they defended well - our first shot on target was on 60 minutes. It was so tough but I thought the performance was good and we dominated the game. There were many positives, providing minutes to the players who hadn't played too much. We have a strong squad and it's good to stay in the next round."
DELE ALLI SAID
"I felt we played well at times, nice combinations, but it was always the last pass or shot that was letting us down. It was great to get on the scoresheet but more importantly, we got the win. It was difficult to break them down and fair play to them, they came here and worked really hard. It was a great occasion for them and they didn’t hide, they came out and had a game plan, it was clear to see that. If we’d got the goal earlier we felt maybe we’d have scored a few more, we broke well at times and there was some good link-up play in the final third, it was just that final pass that let us down."
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Vorm, Trippier, Foyth, Vertonghen (c), Walker-Peters, Dembele (Dier 79), Winks, Sissoko, Dele (Oakley-Boothe 90+1), Son, Llorente (Nkoudou 67). Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Alderweireld, Eriksen, Kane.
Barnsley (4-3-3): Davies, McCarthy, MacDonald (c), Lindsay, Fryers, Potts (Moncur 71), Bird, Williams (Bradshaw 79), Barnes (Hammill 71), Ugbo, Hedges. Substitutes (not used): Townsend, Jackson, Pearson, Thiam.
Goal: Spurs - Dele 65.
Referee: Tim Robinson.
We return to Premier League action on Saturday and remain in the capital as we take on West Ham United at the London Stadium. The Hammers currently sit in 17th place in the table with one win from their opening five matches, that coming on home soil when they defeated Huddersfield Town. Kick-off in east London is at 12.30pm.