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Late drama as Beckford strikes again

Posted on 23 January 2010  - 12:00

Jermaine Beckford was Leeds United's FA Cup hero again as his late penalty took this Fourth Round tie at the Lane to a replay.

Late drama as Beckford strikes again

Jermaine Beckford was Leeds United's FA Cup hero again as his late penalty took this Fourth Round tie at the Lane to a replay.

We looked to have avoided becoming the victims of another upset at the hands of the League One leaders when Roman Pavlyuchenko came off the bench to hit what appeared to be the winner 20 minutes from time.

But Beckford, Leeds' match-winner in their famous Third Round win against Manchester United at Old Trafford three weeks ago, won and then slotted home a spot kick for his second of the game deep into injury time.

He had earlier cancelled out Peter Crouch's opener, while Jermain Defoe saw a ninth minute penalty of his own saved as the teams prepare to do it all again at Elland Road next month for a place in the Fifth Round.

Harry Redknapp made two changes from the side defeated at Liverpool in midweek. Alan Hutton started where he finished at Anfield in place of Vedran Corluka at right-back, while Danny Rose came in for his full Spurs debut against the side from who he joined us as a 16-year old in 2007.

Wilson Palacios was the man who dropped to the bench, with Rose starting on the left of midfield, Niko Kranjcar moving to the right, and Luka Modric coming inside alongside Jermaine Jenas.

There was a real Cup tie atmosphere around the stadium from the first whistle as the visitors' travelling throng came in hope of claiming another Premier League scalp.

But although their side came under immense pressure early on, no doubt home supporters started to have flashbacks of Boaz Myhill's Man of the Match display for Hull City here a week ago.

This time it was Leeds goalkeeper Casper Ankergren standing in our way, and with 10 minutes of the game gone, he had already become the bane of Defoe's existence.

First, the striker attempted an audacious 35-yard lob that the Dane managed to clamber back for to tip over the bar.

He then parried away a stinging Kranjcar shot from the resultant corner before staking his own claim to become Leeds' Fourth Round hero.

After Michael Doyle had clattered into debutant Rose to give away the penalty, Ankergren guessed right as Defoe attempted to put the spot kick to his left, sending the away support behind the goal wild.

The 30-year-old went on to keep out two Gareth Bale free-kicks and another Kranjcar effort, while Defoe was denied the chance to make amends for his penalty miss when Jason Crowe made a last ditch sliding tackle with the striker through on goal.

But before we eventually managed to break the deadlock, Leeds had a bright spell of their own around the half-hour mark.

Heurelho Gomes was called into action for the first time when he tipped a Robert Snodgrass effort from the edge of the box around the post at full-stretch.

And then Beckford had two attempts at goal; the first whistling inches wide after Michael Dawson's slip, and the second a left-foot volley from outside the box that stung the palms of Gomes.

So there was an air of relief when our opener came three minutes before the break. Good work down the left by Bale was rewarded when Crouch tapped home his ninth goal of the season after Kranjcar had another shot saved.

We could have doubled our lead moments before the break when Defoe dummied a Kranjcar pass, and Jenas side-stepped a defender before firing over from inside the box.

Had the midfielder done better with that chance, it could have been game over for Leeds. As it was, the visitors went into the dressing room still full of belief, and they came out determined to get back on level terms.

Only Beckford's heavy touch had previously let him down as he pounced onto a sloppy Jenas back-pass and tried to go round Gomes.

But moments later he had his fans celebrating a goal at a top flight ground again, bundling Bradley Johnson's inswinging corner over the line after Leigh Bromby had flicked on at the near post.

It was game on now, and Leeds had every right to think they could make lightning strike twice within the space of three weeks.

Had Robert Snodgrass not lost his footing just as he pulled the trigger from the edge of the box just after the hour mark, then who knows? We might not even have the ‘comfort' of a replay to fall back on.

As it was, Harry Redknapp had two top class strikers sitting on his bench in Robbie Keane and Pavlyuchenko to call upon in a time of need, which he did with 20 minutes remaining.

It was the latter who appeared to have broken Leeds hearts with only his second goal of a frustrating season for him.

Palacios, who had been introduced for young Rose earlier on in the half, advanced down the left and played square across the edge of the box.

Pavlyuchenko dummied before making a cheeky run around his defender, allowing Defoe to slide him in for a perfect first-time finish that nestled into the bottom corner.

You sensed the popular Russian needed that lift after struggling for game time so far this season.

After this, it looked as if we may put the tie to bed, but when we failed to do so, Leeds began to apply further late pressure.

Dawson looked to be our saviour when he made a perfect sliding tackle with Beckford through on goal as the final whistle approached.

But the pair were to come face-to-face just one more time before the end, and on this occasion, it was the striker who got the better of our skipper, luring the defender into diving in and conceding the penalty, which Beckford confidently rammed home.


Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Hutton, Dawson, Bassong, Bale; Kranjcar (Keane, 71), Jenas, Modric, Rose (Palacios, 56); Crouch (Pavlyuchenko, 71), Defoe
Subs not used: Alnwick, Dervite, Naughton, O'Hara

Leeds (4-4-1-1): Ankergren; Crowe, Bromby, Kisnorbo, Hughes; Howson, Doyle (Becchio, 81), Kilkenny, Johnson (White, 88); Snodgrass; Beckford
Subs not used: Martin, Michalik, Prutton, Robinson, Grella