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Roman conquers!

Posted on 2 January 2009  - 12:00

Our first game of 2009 resulted in victory as we defeated Wigan 3-1 at White Hart Lane in the third round of this season's FA Cup.

Roman conquers!

Our first game of 2009 resulted in victory as we defeated Wigan 3-1 at White Hart Lane in the third round of this season's FA Cup.

Two goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and one from Luka Modric in between were enough to make sure Henri Camara's late strike for the visitors was meaningless.

It was our first win in six games and keeps us still competing in every competition we've entered, with a Carling Cup semi-final first leg coming up next on Tuesday.

Harry Redknapp made three changes to the side that lost at West Brom in the league last Sunday, reverting to a 4-4-2 formation.

Jamie O'Hara came in for Aaron Lennon, who started on the bench, to occupy the left flank with David Bentley on the right.

Modric and Didier Zokora operated in the centre of midfield, and with Jermaine Jenas out injured, Pavlyuchenko came back in to partner Darren Bent up-front.

At the back, Gareth Bale came in for the suspended Benoit Assou-Ekotto at left back but, once again, we were forced into a change early on.

Bent limped off on 28 minutes to be replaced by Fraizer Campbell in a straight swap, but by then, we were well on top.

There was an early scare after five minutes when Camara headed Antonio Valencia's cross inches wide, but after this, the visitors offered little in the first half.

The chance of the half fell to Modric two minutes later when he should have done better with a shot from the edge of the box after being set up by Pavlyuchenko.

On 19 minutes, Pavlyuchenko was fouled by Michael Brown 25 yards out, and Bale sent a good-looking free-kick just wide.

Two minutes later, a Bentley free-kick on the right was blocked, but the rebound came back to him and Wigan skipper Kevin Kilbane came close to putting the resultant cross into his own net.

We came close to opening the scoring twice more on the stroke of half-time. First an O'Hara cross was dummied by Pavlyuchenko for Modric who turned and shot at goalkeeper Richard Kingson.

Then Bentley hit a stunning 35-yard pot-shot with his left foot which went into the side-netting, but it seemed like only a matter of time for us.

Six minutes after the break, we finally broke the deadlock. Bale released the lively Campbell, who was upended by Kingson as he tried to go round him.

Pavlyuchenko stepped up to slot home the penalty and score our first goal of the New Year and his eighth of the season.

It was also our first goal in around 300 minutes of football, so we were now looking to make up for the mini-drought.

Pavlyuchenko and Campbell were linking up well, and the Russian crossed for the latter on 56 minutes, only for the England Under-21 international to force a superb flying save out of Kingson with the header.

On 65 minutes, it was Pavlyuchenko's turn to go close again when he latched onto Jonathan Woodgate's long ball and lobbed the on-rushing goalkeeper, only to see the ball bounce agonisingly wide.

Our strike partnership tried to link up again on 75 minutes as Campbell attempted a pass for Pavlyuchenko in behind Titus Bramble, and the Russian did extremely well to get there and poke just wide of the post.

So instead, it was left to a midfield man to put the tie to bed, as Modric netted his third goal in 15 days.

Vedran Corluka played a cross-field ball for O'Hara, who hit a sweet 25 yard shot against the post, and Modric followed up with a diving header into an empty net - followed by a celebration which, literally, fell flat on its face!

The second goal seemed to spark Wigan into action, but it was all a bit late in the day and Heurelho Gomes was equal to most.

First Valencia beat O'Hara in the box but his shot was palmed away, and then the Ecuadorian's corner was met by Olivier Kapo in the air, only for Gomes to make a smart low save.

But Steve Bruce's men did eventually give the visiting fans something to cheer about with a consolation two minutes from time.

Valencia was the deliverer into the box again, Tomasz Cywka's shot was blocked, and Camara swept home from close range.

But Zokora's run and Pavlyuchenko's rasping shot from the edge of the box in injury time restored our two-goal lead, and saw us safely through to the fourth round.


Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate, Bale; Bentley, Zokora, Modric (Lennon, 90), O'Hara; Bent (Campbell, 28), Pavlyuchenko
Subs not used: Alnwick, Ghaly, Gunter, Taarabt, Boateng

Wigan (4-4-2): Kingson; Boyce, Scharner (Figueroa, 74), Bramble, Kilbane; De Ridder (Cywka, 74), Brown, Palacios, Valencia; Camara, Kapo (Edman, 85)
Subs not used: Pollitt, Taylor, Routledge, Holt