Redknapp unmoved by Defoe's double

Tottenham Hotspur 3 Stevenage 1

WhiteHart Lane

Harry Redknapp had said that Jermain Defoe needed to take his first-team chances at Tottenham. All he can do is score when picked. The striker did so twice last night and helped to make another as Tottenham overcame a spirited Stevenage side to set up a home quarter-final against Bolton Wanderers.

Spurs certainly felt the benefit of rotation, as Redknapp made nine changes to the team which lost 3-1 to Manchester United here on Sunday. Both of Defoe's goals, the first with his left foot, the second with his right, were created by Gareth Bale, returning after illness. Bale also combined with Defoe to create a penalty that Emmanuel Adebayor converted.

The frustration for Defoe, though, is that goals do not guarantee games. Redknapp said he was a "good finisher and a good player". But when asked if the striker would keep his place for Saturday's game at Everton, the manager said: "Yes but you know Louis Saha has been scoring goals as well, he has been coming in and [he has] scored. We'll have to wait and see."

Defoe's problem is that Saha and Rafael van der Vaart are seen as more natural partners for Adebayor – the undisputed favourite. Defoe is not first choice and cannot be sure of playing in the quarter-final on Saturday week.

"It's difficult, we have a big squad," he said. "The manager knows that when called upon I'll be ready. All I can do when I get the chance is do what I do best and score goals."

This win was not as comfortable as it might sound,and not just because Spurs lost Michael Dawson to knee and ankle injuries that Redknapp assessed as "bad" after a fall and Aaron Lennon to yet another hamstring strain. Stevenage produced a performance which their manager described as "beyond the call of duty". "Every one of my players stretched themselves," said Gary Smith.

Stevenage took the lead. Rotation has costs too, as Spurs found after three minutes. Ryan Nelsen, making a third start of the season, looked utterly unprepared for Joel Byrom's dart into the area. Nelsen's tackle was late and Byrom struck the penalty past Carlo Cudicini.

Stevenage held their 4-1-4-1 shape, fought for every tackle and took their lead from their ferocious captain and centre-back, Mark Roberts. They even had a chance to score a second. Jon Ashton's leap from Lawrie Wilson's free-kick was unmatched by any of Spurs' defenders; his header sailed inches wide of the far post.

It took less than a minute for the miss to be punished. Bale fired a long diagonal pass to Defoe. The striker took the ball down with his right foot and let it bounce, deceiving Ashton, before whipping a shot in with his left.

Tottenham did produce the required improvement in the second half and three minutes in a delightful move ended with an offside Defoe backheeling the ball in at the near post.

Bale's new fondness for running inside has its critics, but one such dart sent Spurs ahead. The Welshman ran, exchanged passes with Defoe and made the byline, where he was brought down by Roberts. Michael Oliver gave the foul – Smith said it was "a shame" – and Adebayor scored.

Stevenage nearly forced an equaliser, but it was simple bad defending that cost them with 15 minutes left. The provider was Bale, with a throw-in down the line. The defence stood off as Defoe collected in the inside-left channel, shuffled inside past Ashton and curled the ball into the far corner.

Defoe sent Spurs through to the quarter-final; whether he will get to play is less clear.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-1-1) Cudicini; Kaboul, Dawson (Walker, 9), Nelsen, Rose; Lennon (Adebayor, 38), Parker, Kranjcar (Livermore, 81), Bale; Van der Vaart; Defoe. Substitutes not used Friedel (gk), Gallas, Modric, Dos Santos.

Stevenage (4-4-2) Day; Henry, Ashton, Roberts, Charles (Myrie-Williams, 62); Bostwick, Wilson, Byrom, Shroot; Laird, Beardsley (Reid, 62). Substitutes not used Julian (gk), Edwards, Long, May, Winn.

Referee M Oliver (Northumberland).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Reimagined: Gwyneth Paltrow and Toni Collette in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma
books
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
Cannes 2015Dheepan, film review
Sport
sport
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine