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HAPPY JOL

Posted on 27 September 2007  - 12:00

Martin Jol wore a contented smile after we progressed to the fourth round of the Carling Cup with a 2-0 win against Middlesbrough on Wednesday night.

Martin Jol wore a contented smile after we progressed to the fourth round of the Carling Cup with a 2-0 win against Middlesbrough on Wednesday night.

The manager's substitutions played a key role in the victory in front of another 30,000-plus crowd at the Lane.

On top throughout, we simply couldn't find a goal that our play deserved with Brad Jones in fine form in the Boro goal and when he was beaten, Jermain Defoe saw his header come back off the crossbar.

With the visitors proving a tough nut to crack, Martin threw the dice after 69 minutes, throwing on Robbie Keane and Didier Zokora for Defoe and Jermaine Jenas.

It took a little over three minutes for the change to pay dividends as Keane lost marker George Boateng on the left touchline before releasing the perfect pass with the outside of his foot into the path of the onrushing Gareth Bale. The Welsh starlet raced through, skipped past Jones and slid the ball home.

Two minutes later and it was game over as Paul Robinson gathered a cross and spotted Aaron Lennon on the run, drilling an 80-yard clearance into his path. Lennon turned Fabio Rochemback inside out before chipping the ball in for Toim Huddlestone to head home.

Martin reflected: "I was very happy, especially with the first half, but on the other hand you have to score goals and that was the problem.

"Gareth Bale scored a very good goal. He played left-back but got forward, attacked the space for the goal and it was terrific to see. That was his third goal for the club.

"The second goal came soon after and then you feel relieved - we needed the win and we wanted to go through to the next round."

Martin was naturally asked about his substitutions as the Lane faithful certainly made their feelings known on taking off Defoe.

"You can either leave it as it is and wait or make a decision," he responded.

"I was happy with the team but in the second half I didn't feel we were creating as much and that's when you have to change it."

Asked if he considered it a 'brave' decision, Martin added: "It's not a brave decision, just a decision you have to make. You make them all the time. I want to win, I just think of the team and everyone is equal to me. They are all important and that's what I tell them.

"Robbie came on, had an impact and all I concentrate on is the result.

"Didier Zokora also came on and did well, Teemu Tainio has played the last two games and did well and that's the development of the team. I feel we are getting there."