Tottenham Hotspur 3:1 Rovers

Rovers push Spurs all the way...


Tottenham Hotspur (0) 3
[Pavlyuchenko 60' Defoe 62' Dos Santos 65']

Rovers (0) 1 
[Rice 50']

UEFA Europa League
Group A - Match Day 2

White Hart Lane
Thursday 29th September 2011 kick-off 8:05

Hoops Line out
1 Richard Brush
2 Pat Sullivan 
26 Jim Paterson
4 Craig Sives
5 Dan Murray (c)
6 Stephen Rice
8 Stephen O'Donnell
21 Ronan Finn yellow card
20 Billy Dennehy
7 Gary McCabe yellow card
9 Gary Twigg

3 Enda Stevens
for Paterson ht
22 Conor McCormack
for O'Donnell ht
27 Rohan Ricketts
for Finn 73'
11 Ciaran Kilduff
18 Chris Turner  
Karl Sheppard

16 Ryan Thompson


Ryan Thompson Stephen of the match performance

In front of a vociferous away support, Stephen Rice poked home Pat Sullivans shot after 50 minutes and the Hoops shook their illustrious opponents but the home side showed their quality to hit back with three goals in a blistering five minute spell.

On a warm balmy night in White Hart Lane the Hoops fans contributed handsomely to a fantastic atmosphere in the impressive stadium. Spurs fielded a strong team and as early as the 2nd minute Richard Brush was called into the action to save from Defoe.

Dos Santos then forced a corner but Brush was off his line to claim the ball. Gary Twigg, playing as the lone striker, won a free-kick in the Spurs ‘half but Stephen O’Donnell was wasteful with the kick.

The home side were knocking the ball around well and Dos Santos tried his luck from distance but Brush got down to save. Good defensive work from Craig Sives in the 12th minute cut out  Pavlyuchenko’s cross but the Lilywhites created their first real chance on 17 minutes when Defoe found space in the box and got his shot in only for Captain Dan Murray to get a decisive touch to send the ball crashing off the cross-bar.

Gary McCabe was booked as Dos Santos went down very easily just outside the box. On 20 minutes Rovers survived another scare when Pavlyuchenko was released in the box and evaded Dan Murray’s challenge but Richard Brush made a great point-blank save.

Tottenham were piling on the pressure and forced two corners after 25 minutes but Sullivan eventually cleared the danger. Rovers were finding it difficult to create openings but Gary McCabe ran on to Pat Sullivan’s throw-in on 27 minutes but his shot didn’t trouble Cudicini.

On the half-hour mark Aaron Lennon crossed deep for Dos Santos to volley just over the bar from a tight angle. Pat Sullivan was on hand to clear from Danny Rose’s cross on 33 minutes and a minute later the same player crashed a shot off the Hoops cross-bar and Murray bravely cleared the rebound. Rovers had survived yet again.

Cudicini claimed Gary Twigg’s cross on 35 minutes before McCabe set up O’Donnell to shoot from 25 yards but his effort went wide. On 39 minutes Pavlyuchenko met a corner and his header was cleared off the line by Pat Sullivan.

As the game entered the final 5 minutes of the ‘half Richard Brush scuffed his clearance and Pavlyuchenko pounced on the ball but he shot just wide. Dos Santos sent the ball across the Hoops six-yard line but nobody was on hand to capitalise and Stephen Rice was on hand to clear the danger in his own box just before the Ref. blew for half-time.

Rovers had survived a first half onslaught from a dominant Spurs but after five minutes of the restart took the lead. Gary McCabe was fouled just outside the area and he stepped up himself to shoot on goal. Cudicini was forced to dive to his left to beat the shot away and the ball fell to Pat Sullivan outside the box and he drilled a low shot on target for Rice to flick the ball over the ‘keeper and into the net.

There was pandemonium in the away end as Rovers fans celebrated the first Group stages goal. Rovers were playing with confidence now but the home side regained their composure and Townsend  had a shot and a dangerous cross cleared before Rose crossed from the left and although Brush failed to claim the ball the danger was eventually cleared.

The pressure told on the Hoops defence on the hour when Pavlyuchenko got between Sives and Murray to head past Richard Brush from Townsend’s cross.

Two minutes later Defoe stooped low to head past Brush from close range as Rovers reeled under the pressure. A quick free-kick by McCabe on 63 minutes sent Twigg in on goal and the Scotsman knocked the ball past Cudicini but the linesman flagged for offside.

There was controversy around Spurs third goal when Danny Rose looked like he caught Pat Sullivan with a late tackle but the Ref. waved play-on and the home side made a quick counter-attack that saw Dos Santos played in on the right and he rifled the ball past Brush.

To the Hoops credit they regrouped and began to hold onto the ball a little better and Dennehy setup McCormack to shoot from 30 yards but the ball was hit straight at Cudicini.

On 76 minutes a good run from Pat Sullivan saw the Hoops number two cut in from the right but his shot from just outside the box went over the bar. In the 78th minute Brush was called on twice in quick succession to firstly push away a Townsend cross and then punch away another ball into the area.

Rohan Ricketts found Dennehy with a good ball but again the final shot went over the bar. Pavlyuchenko volleyed wide when well placed with six minutes remaining and two minutes later a fine tackle from Enda Stevens denied Lennon close the Hoops goal. Brush then raced from his line to block a shot from Danny Rose on the right-hand side of his box.

As the game entered the last minute of added-on time Pat Sullivan played Dennehy in behind the Spurs defence but although the Kerryman went down under a challenge the Ref. waved play-on. The final whistle arrived and the Hoops faithful rose to acclaim a fine battling performance by Rovers.



League Table

# Team M P
1 Dundalk 33 77
2 Cork City 33 70
3 Derry City 33 62
4 Shamrock Rovers 33 55
5 Sligo Rovers 33 49
6 Bray Wanderers 33 46
7 St. Patrick's Athletic 33 45
8 Bohemian FC 33 41
9 Galway United 33 38
10 Finn Harps 33 32
11 Wexford Youths 33 23
12 Longford Town 33 14

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