Ten minutes after Barnsley had been depleted by the 58th-minute dismissal of Adie Moses for a second bookable offence, Ginola cut in from the left wing, swerving and swaying through four attempted tackles. Finding himself within 12 yards of goal, the Frenchman had the composure to place a slide- rule shot beyond Tony Bullock and into the far corner of the net.
So a scrappy quarter-final was settled by sublime skills, taking Spurs to within one win of Wembley appearances in the two domestic knock-out competitions in the same season: winning both is a feat previously achieved only by Arsenal under a certain George Graham. They meet Leicester in the Worthington Cup final on Sunday, and Martin O'Neill, like Ruud Gullit, must be wondering how to stop Ginola.
Asked afterwards whether he had seen a better goal, Graham was characteristically reluctant to oblige his questioner. "Yes, I have," the Spurs manager replied. "The two in the last round [by Ginola and Darren Anderton against Leeds] for a start. I'm actually going to give Ginola a pat on the back when he knocks one in from inside the six-yard box."
The Barnsley player-manager, John Hendrie, acknowledged that Ginola was probably the only player in Britain who could have scored such a goal. However, he argued that the action of the referee, Mike Reed, in dismissing Moses had turned the game Spurs' way.
Hendrie's rationale was that Moses, playing in direct opposition to Ginola, should never have received his first caution. It followed his first foul, on Ginola. His second arrived 40 seconds later for an unarguably illegal lunge at Les Ferdinand.
"The ref cost us the game," Hendrie said. "When their man [Steve Carr] was cautioned in the first half, the Spurs coach Chris Hughton jumped up and shouted: `That was never a booking.' I told Chris he was spot on, but the referee booked the defender because we had appealed for the foul.
"It wasn't even a foul by Adie, let alone a booking, but George Graham jumped up and the ref fell for it. He would never have got the yellow card if George hadn't shouted. I don't blame George. The ref doesn't have to listen to him. He's experienced enough not be conned."
On a spring-like evening, it was hard to credit that the game had originally been called off 11 days earlier because the stadium was under snow. Barnsley's best hope lay in subjecting their Premiership visitors to a blizzard of early attacks, but Graham's Spurs are a more resilient bunch than the team who lost a fourth-round replay on the same ground 13 months ago.
Barnsley created only one real opening, Bruce Dyer heading narrowly wide shortly after Ginola's tour de force. Spurs, without always asserting their superior class, saw Bullock tip over from Chris Armstrong and save a miscued shot from the same player midway through the first half.
For the record, Ginola's decisive run took him past Nicky Eaden, Robin van der Laan, Chris Morgan and Clayton Blackmore before scoring. He then embarked on another, pursued by ecstatic colleagues, and was still standing in his vest, waving his shirt to some of the 4,000 Spurs followers, when the game restarted.
Barnsley: (3-5-2): T Bullock; Moses, De Zeeuw, Morgan; Eaden, McClare (Van der Laan, 66), Blackmore (M Bullock, 76), Tinkler, Jones; Hignett, Dyer (Sheron, 82). Substitutes not used: Appleby, Leese (gk).
Tottenham Hotspur: (4-4-2): Walker; Carr, Vega, Campbell, Taricco; Anderton, Freund, Sherwood, Ginola (Sinton, 90); Armstrong, Ferdinand (Iversen, 81). Substitutes not used: Nielsen, Young, Baardsen (gk).
Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).Reuse content