Date : –  9th January 2022 Kick off : –  14.00
Competition : – FA Cup Third Round Venue : –  Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Crowd : –  40,310
Referee : –  John Brooks (Leicestershire) Linesmen : – Mr. Marc Perry; Ms. Natalie Aspinall
Fourth official : –  Gavin Ward
VAR official : – Michael Salisbury VAR Assistant : – Timothy Wood
Weather : – Sunny, chilly
Morecambe kicked off the first half attacking the Park Lane end
Playing time : –   90 + 6 minutes


    Winks  73m 46s   O’Connor  32m 19s
    Moura  84m 56s  
    Kane  87m 03s  
     Diagouraga  (foul on Dele)  44
       Cooney  (foul on Doherty)  74


22.   Pierluigi GOLLINI 20.   Trevor CARSON
2.   Matt DOHERTY 21.   Ryan COONEY    (  6.   Callum JONES  77)
25.   Japhet TANGANGA 2.   Ryan McLAUGHLIN
14.   Joe RODON 4.   Anthony O’CONNOR  (c) 
33.   Ben DAVIES  (c) 5.   Jacob BEDEAU  (  22.   Liam GIBSON  65)  
19.   Ryan SESSEGNON  (  12.   EMERSON Royal  86)  3.   Greg LEIGH
18.   Giovani LO CELSO  ( 44.   Dane SCARLETT  88) 19.   Shane McLOUGHLIN
8.   Harry WINKS  8.   Toumani DIAGOURAGA    (  2.   Aaron WILDIG 77)
28.   Tanguy NDOMBELE  (  29.   Oliver SKIPP  69) 25.   Alfie McALMONT
11.   Bryan GIL  (  27.   Lucas MOURA  69  ) 17.   Jonah AYUNGA  (  14.   Jon OBIKA  58)
20.   DELE Alli  (  10.   Harry KANE  69  ) 9.   Cole STOCKTON
Substitutes Substitutes
1.   Hugo LLORIS 1.   Kyle LETHEREN
5.   Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG 7.   Wesley McDONALD
6.   Davinson SANCHEZ 15.   Ryan DELANEY
48.   Maksim PASKOTSI 16.   Jacob MENSAH
24.   Arthur GNAHOUA


Manager : – Antonio Conte Manager : –  Diarmuid O’Carroll  (Stephen Robinson absent as Covid +ve)
Kit Supplier : – Nike Kit Supplier : –  Joma
Shirt Sponsor : – AIA Shirt Sponsor : –  Mazuma
Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : –  Think Recycling
Colours : –
Colours : – 
Images of kits courtesy of the marvellous Colours of Football website


What, on paper, should have been a straightforward task turned into a desperate scramble for late goals for Spurs to overcome a spirited Morecambe side 3-1 after trailing for over 40 minutes.  In the future, the score-line will be looked at without surprise and it doesn’t really tell the story of how poor Tottenham were playing against a side from the bottom of League One.

The massed ranks of the Shrimp Army made a lot of noise to welcome their team onto the pitch and within a minute of the kick-off, Cole Stockton had hit Joe Rodon late in the Spurs box to “let him know that he was there”.  It left Rodon limping, but he carried on without treatment  and Spurs were suddenly on the attack, with Ndombele popping up on the left side of the goal to have a shot blocked and from the resulting corner, Ben Davies got a header in at the near post that rippled the top of the net.

Ryan Sessegnon, restored to match fitness, was lively on the left wing, finding space and getting crosses in, but they were mainly low balls into the area, as Spurs lacked height in attack.  Morecambe were the first side to get something on target, when Shane McLoughlin struck a shot from outside the box along the floor, but Pierluigi Gollini got his body behind it to gather it in safely.  He had to rush out to hack the ball out when Rodon played a short back-pass to him with Stockton breathing down his neck. 

A couple of corners in quick succession for Spurs came from Ndombele having a shot deflected wide, then Bryan Gil had a cross blocked.  From the first, the ball ended up beyond the far post, but Davies ended up on the floor in the middle of the box and with the second, from the right, another far post attempt from Doherty was bundled against the post from wide of the goal, but the ball was scrambled away.  Sessegnon was showing a bit of confidence, running infield from the left across the box until he reached the middle, where he set up Lo Celso, but his shot was blocked by a defender closing him down.  

The changes to the side appear to have been responsible for some lack of communication.  A long ball into the Spurs box saw Rodon underneath it with Stockton closing on him.  The Spurs defender expected Gollini to come and claim it, but had to slash at the ball which went out for a corner on their left wing.  The ball was swung into the box and Anthony O’Connor easily lost Japhet Tanganga, who got caught ball-watching, allowing the Morecambe captain to steal in and prod a volley home from the six-yard line in the middle of the goal.  It was slack defending and the visiting side hadn’t really looked like scoring until then, but set-pieces are always an opportunity to make use of the tall players you have, although in this case it was with his feet not his head.

33 minutes in and a goal down, things were made that much harder for Tottenham, mainly of their own making.  Lo Celso hit a shot along the turf that Carson got behind, Spurs then won a corner that didn’t produce an effort on goal and at the other end a Morecambe free-kick found Ayunga winning a header, but it was weak and wide.  A booking for a crass challenge on Dele by Diagouaga gave Spurs a free-kick five yards outside the box, but Lo Celso could only hit the wall and Sessegnon recycled the loose ball, but Doherty’s far post header was comfortably collected by the keeper.  As is normal in games where it is expected that we would steam-roller sides, Spurs were booed off at half-time.  I’m not sure what people expect or recall, as we have struggled to beat Rochdale and Newport in recent years, so it isn’t a new experience.

Anyway, Conte decided to give the first half selection an opportunity to put things right in the second half, but the strange decision to move the wing backs to the opposite flanks meant both Doherty and Sessegnon were expected to cross with their weaker foot … or come inside to shoot at goal. which would be difficult with Morecambe packing the middle of their defence with bodies.  The team were looking to move the ball a bit quicker.  Ndombele had another shot blocked before Morecambe launched a long-throw into the box that dropped for Stockton, who could only find the second tier of the North Stand with a shot on the turn.  Described as “Morecambe’s Harry Kane”, I can only assume that Stockton was being compared ot the early season Harry Kane, when the strain of the summer told on him and his usual clinical finishing was absent.

After seven minutes of the half, Tottenham started to put some moves together, winning a couple of corners.  Davies had a header that didn’t hit the target and then a low corner into the near post was flicked goal-wards with Dele’s heel, forcing Carson into a good save as the ball was fizzing just under the bar.  Doherty got his head to the following corner, but it went wide and then the Irish wing-back shot too high, coming inside after Tanganga had switched play from the right to him.

In the 58th minute, Jon Obika, who rarely got an opportunity at Spurs came off the Morecambe subs bench and you wondered if the fairy-tale FA Cup story was about to take another twist.  His ability to contribute was limited, as Spurs were pressing forward and when Dele was played into the penalty area, he went down under a challenge from the Morecambe scorer O’Connor, but nothing was given and Ryan was first to the loose ball on the edge of the box, shooting low, but narrowly wide to the keeper’s left. 

With just over 20 minutes left, Antonio Conte decided to change things up, with Kane, Skipp and Moura coming on for Dele, Ndombele and Gil.  Boos rang out as Tanguy sauntered off despite encouragement from Kane to get off quicker.  I saw one report that said he stormed off down the tunnel, but judging by his speed leaving the field, I can’t imagine that he suddenly picked up enough pace after crossing the white line to “storm” anywhere.  The substitutions didn’t make an immediate impact, as Diagouraga took the ball forward from halfway, but the excitement got to him and he blasted the ball high and wide at the end of his run. 

Lucas turned and hit a shot a couple of feet wide from the edge of the box when Lo Celso’s pass found him, but when Skipp won a loose ball in the centre circle, Winks moved it on to Harry Kane and the striker swept it left for Doherty to run onto.  He showed a previously hidden burst of pace to just get to the ball first before Cooney’s rash sliding tackle took him out and got him a booking.  Harry Winks lined the free-kick up close to the touchline in front of the East Stand eight yards from the dead-ball line and with Tanganga, Rodon, Kane and Davies in the middle, the defence’s attention was focused on them.  The keeper was keeping one eye on them too, as Winks’ delivery flew over him and into the far top corner to finally get Tottenham level.

Kane could have put Spurs ahead a minute later when a right wing cross was headed back into the goalmouth by Lucas at the far post and with no challenge, Harry put his stooping header wide when all he had to do was to get it on target.  Winks was looking for his second goal when the ball came to him and from 20 yards out, he struck a powerful shot that flew a couple of feet over the top and then Lo Celso brought a flying save from Carson as Spurs looked for a winning goal.

Maybe it was unsurprising that the goal that put us ahead came from a fresh sub.  Skipp had harshly had a free-kick given against him for a tackle on Obika, which was played square to McLaughlin who dithered on the ball just inside the Tottenham half, allowing Lucas Moura to toe it away from him, leaving him a clear run on goal, with no Morecambe player fast enough to catch up with him.  Coming down the left side, he got into the area and Carson came out, but with Kane inside him, the keeper spread himself, leaving sufficient room for Lucas to take the ball to the keeper’s right to go around him and put the ball into the empty net.  

Emerson Royal replaced Sessegnon and his first major interaction was not to give up on a Winks ball down the right, which Greg Leigh looked like he was going to allow to go off for a goal-kick.  Emerson got a foot to the ball and the defender fell on the ball, keeping it in.  The Brazilian played the ball inside to Lo Celso, who passed to Kane on the right side of the goal, with O’Connor tight behind him.  Harry took the ball to his left and shot right footed across the keeper and inside the far post to make it 3-1 with just over a minute of normal time left.  It was a cute piece of finishing that rounded off a win over Morecambe that the score-line did not do justice to the League One side’s performance.

There time for Moura to run through the Morecambe midfield and then hit a shot at goal, but it rasped too high over the bar and even higher and wider was Stockton’s long range shot that gave the Shrimps supporters a feel of the ball.  So Spurs advanced, with the greater fitness and mental strength and concentration keeping them going to the end, while poor decisions cost the visitors.

In the final analysis, Tottenham were grateful for three defensive errors to see them through.  The goalkeeper losing his bearings to allow Winks’ free-kick to go over him, McLaughlin’s indecisiveness when on the ball with nobody behind him and Leigh’s inability to shepherd the ball out allowing Royal and Lo Celso to set up Kane to do what he does best.  Some of the problem was with the number of changes and players playing out of position.  Dele was playing as a “false nine”, but that is not his game and quite often he was dropping as deep as Kane does when playing up front.  We needed a focus for our attack and it would not have been right to start Dane Scarlett, as he would have found it difficult against hulking great defenders, but the need for an experienced alternative to Kane remains a priority.  At least last season we had Vinicius who excelled in the Cups and in European games (and Llorente before that), but trying to play it up to Dele when he doesn’t have the same skill set as Kane failed to work.  Also, with players coming into the team, they need to have worked as a unit and it was clear that goalkeeper and centre-half were not on the same wavelength communication-wise.

Gil wasn’t really given much of a chance to show what he could do, as he kept running infield into a lacked defence as there were few options to lay the ball off and that was the same for the midfielders.  Lack of movement up front produced the ball being given away too often.  Sessegnon looked more like the player he was at Fulham, but it would be great to see him constantly going at defenders and having someone in the box to pick out.  Giovani Lo Celso showed a good work-rate winning some tackles to win the ball back, but his free-kicks failed to trouble the Morecambe back line although he did assist Kane for his goal.

It will be a much changed line-up that comes out on Wednesday, but they need to start with a bit of urgency and belief against Chelsea if they are to over-turn a 0-2 score-line.

Blake Hall




Swindon Town 1 Manchester City 4
Mansfield Town 2 Middlesbrough 3
Bristol City 0 Fulham (after extra time) 1
Burnley 1 Huddersfield Town 2
Coventry City 1 Derby County 0
Hartlepool United 2 Blackpool 1
Millwall 1 Crystal Palace 2
Barnsley 5 Barrow (after extra time) 4
Boreham Wood 2 AFC Wimbledon 0
Newcash United 0 Cambridge United 1
Leicester City 4 Watford 1
Kidderminster Harriers 2 Reading 1
Port Vale 1 Brentford 4
Queens Park Rangers (8-7 on pens; A.E.T.) 1 Rotherham United 1
West Bromwich Albion 1 Brighton & Hove Albion (after extra time) 2
Wigan Athletic 3 Blackburn Rovers 2
Birmingham City 0 Plymouth Argyle (after extra time) 1
Chelsea 5 Chesterfield 1
Hull City 2 Everton (after extra time) 3
Swansea City 2 South Coast Big Club (after extra time) 3
Yeovil Town 1 AFC Bournemouth 3
Luton Town 4 Harrogate Town 0
Cardiff City (after extra time) 2 Preston North End 1
Charlton Athletic 0 Norwich City 1
Liverpool 4 Shrewsbury Town 1
Stoke City 2 Leyton Orient 0
West Ham United London 2 Leeds United 0
Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 Sheffield United 0
Nottingham Forest 1 Woolwich Wanderers 0
Manchester United 1 Aston Villa 0