Stevenage defy odds to hold Spurs in FA Cup

Stevenage 0 Tottenham 0

Stevenage defied the odds and put on an impressive display to hold Tottenham to a goalless draw in this afternoon's FA Cup fifth round clash at the Lamex Stadium.

The League One side started the day 47 places below Spurs in the league ladder, but they more than held their own with some dogged tackling and confident passing in midfield to send the tie to a replay.

Carlo Cudicini saved well from Scott Laird's header in the first half and Joel Byrom blasted just over in the second period while Tottenham had a goal ruled out for offside.

Tottenham, the highest ranked club left in the competition, were huge favourites to win against Boro, who only two years ago were playing non-league football.

Just eight days ago, Spurs waltzed past Newcastle with a fine display of attacking football, but today they were looked out of sorts and never settled in to their rhythm.

Credit must go to Stevenage, however. The Hertfordshire club, who are in contention for their third successive promotion, were given a massive reception from the 7,100 fans inside the packed out stadium and they responded with a gritty display.

Stevenage bombarded the Spurs box in the opening few minutes and the visitors were rattled.

Boro thought they should have had a penalty when Michael Dawson appeared to handle when jumping with Michael Roberts but referee Phil Dowd waved play on.

Moments later Cudicini dropped the ball while going for a lob in to the box but he quickly recovered to collect.

Spurs, who were playing in a 3-5-2 formation, failed to create a chance in a scrappy opening 15 minutes but Danny Rose found space down the left after skipping past Ronnie Henry but Jermain Defoe shot wide under pressure.

Stevenage were dictating most of the play and Spurs boss Harry Redknapp spent most of the opening 25 minutes on the touchline barking at his players.

Louis Saha suddenly found space in the box but he could only fire wide.

The bobbly pitch, which was starting to cut up, and good tackling from the Stevenage players, meant Spurs struggled to produce their usual enterprising attacking football.

Rose was proving a lively presence down the left, though.

The England Under-21 international clipped a dangerous ball across the box but Livermore's glancing header went just wide.

Saha felt he should have been awarded a penalty eight minutes before the break when he went down in the Boro box while going for a volley but Dowd ignored his pleas.

Cudicini tipped Laird's header wide soon after at the other end before Joel Byrom entered the book for a nasty challenge on Scott Parker.

Jon Ashton fouled Defoe on the edge of the box in the 43rd minute and Younes Kaboul hammered the set-piece just inches wide.

Tottenham came out with much more purpose at the start of the second half and almost took the lead through Gareth Bale.

The Welshman, playing behind the two strikers, strode past two Boro defenders and hammered a brilliant shot which former Tottenham goalkeeper Chris Day did well to tip around the post.

Saha wriggled free in the box, met Rose's cross and fired home through a sea of players, but the linesman flagged to disallow the goal for offside after the ball touched Parker, who was on the line, on the way in.

Stevenage fought came forward once more and went close to scoring through Luke Freeman, who blasted a shot a couple of yards wide.

Byrom hammered a shot from the edge of the area that whistled just over Cudicini's goal.

The Italian then dropped another Byrom shot but Ryan Nelsen came to his rescue.

Bale, now operating down the right, galloped free and fired a low call across the box but Saha tried a backheel that failed miserably, dribbling in to Day's arms.

Stevenage were not content with holding on for a draw though and they came forward through Freeman, who fired straight in to Cudicini's arms.

Cowan's clever backheel sent May free in the final minute but Kaboul tracked back to clear.

Three minutes of injury time were added and both teams went for a winner but neither could score and the tie went to a replay.

PA

Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
Sport
video
News
Supermarkets are running out of Easter Eggs
Deals make eggs cheaper than normal chocolate
Life & Style
Wasp factory: 1.3 million examples of the Vespa scooter have been sold in the last decade
motoringIconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales
Voices
voicesThe Ukip leader on why he's done nothing illegal
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books