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+The Monday Verdict

Posted on 10 January 2005  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

A great leveller, Cup luck, all on the day, banana skin - all little turns of phrase associated with the third round of the FA Cup.

Sadly for Brighton, not many of the above applied at White Hart Lane - but they so very nearly did.

There were some happy returns to Martin Jol's starting line up with Stephen Kelly, Michael Brown and Jermain Defoe all restored to fitness and the team.

The Head Coach was clearly taking no chances against the Championship outfit and a sell-out crowd outlined just what this competition means to Spurs people. There was also a healthy throng of some 5,500 from Brighton adding a dash of Cup magic to the occasion.

After some early hustle and bustle, it took some 15 minutes for the first meaningful shot on goal and it came when the ball fell to Richard Carpenter 25 yards out. He struck the ball first time and rattled Paul Robinson's crossbar before the ball was ushered to safety.

Brighton continued to bristle with enthusiasm as the half progressed, backed by their lively travelling support. The biggest cheer in the first 20 minutes though came with the news that Scunthorpe had taken the lead against Chelsea.

The lead was nearly secured after 30 minutes after a neat passage of play that involved an Erik Edman diagonal ball into the area, a Kelly flick and Keane lofting the ball over the keeper Michael Kuipers but onto the bar. Greater territory was being won back by the boys up to this point after the initial sting had been drawn from Brighton.

This suspicion was confirmed on 38 minutes when a short corner by Brown was arrowed into the area by Reto Ziegler and Ledley King somehow manufactured a backward header the looped agonisingly over Kuipers and into the net.

Brighton hit back two minutes after the break when Carpenter steered a free-kick from outside the area low past Robinson and sent the visiting contingent into a state of mass hysteria. It was certainly a case of job not yet done.

Defoe went on to sting the hands of Kuipers but it was Brighton who nearly stole the lead when a Dan Harding free-kick was connected with sharply by Gary Hart and Robinson's reflexes were given a useful test. Mark McGhee's side had re-established their momentum and, if anything, were the more confident side heading into the final 25 minutes.

It was time for change and Dean Marney was duly introduced in place of Kelly. Things livened up a bit and Ziegler let fly from 25 yards and his effort whistled a fraction wide before Mendes made way for a first appearance of the season for Mark Yeates. The young Irishman, of course, enjoyed a loan stint at Brighton last season and was welcomed onto the pitch by chants of 'Brighton reject' and 'you should have stayed at a big club'...

It was another injured who conjured up the decisive goal with a moment of brilliance, taking a chipped pass from Edman with his back to goal, he struck, on the turn into the top left hand corner of the net to calm a few nerves around the Lane and plant us in the big jug for the 4th round draw.

A tricky little trip south to the Withdean Stadium looked on the cards for a while so, after the recent glut of games over the festive period, cheers Robbie!

Att: 36,094