Kanouté opens the floodgates for Spurs

Oldham Athletic 0 Tottenham Hotspur 6
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Tottenham Hotspur maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a regulation victory that turned into something unexpectedly spectacular in the closing stages of this Carling Cup second-round tie against Oldham Athletic last night.

Tottenham Hotspur maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a regulation victory that turned into something unexpectedly spectacular in the closing stages of this Carling Cup second-round tie against Oldham Athletic last night.

The result was never in doubt once Frédéric Kanouté had put them ahead before the interval, but three goals in the last five minutes gave the scoreline a lop-sided appearance that did little justice to a spirited display by the League One team.

Sandwiched between games against Chelsea and Manchester United, a trip to Boundary Park was always likely to present a different kind of test for Jacques Santini's team. The Tottenham manager balanced his desire to progress in this competition with caution, choosing to leave Jermain Defoe on the bench, among others, as he made seven changes to the side that started against Chelsea at the weekend.

"We are not so important a club to take this competition lightly," Santini insisted. "It gave opportunities to some players who haven't played yet this season and it was very important to them that we won. But it will be completely different against Manchester as most of their players are now available."

Although Oldham enjoyed plenty of possession in the early stages, Spurs looked the more likely to score, with both Robbie Keane and Kanouté beating defenders with ominous ease.

The lower side's best chance appeared to lie in the uncertain goalkeeping of Casey Keller, who seemed unable to do anything efficiently in the first half, be it collecting a cross or kicking downfield.

But then an unmarked Kanouté met Keane's corner with a firm header eight minutes before half-time to give Spurs the lead.

Oldham should have been level immediately afterwards, but Chris Killen failed to direct his shot from eight yards.

Midway through the second half, just as the home side were enjoying their best spell of the match, Keane provided the cushion of a second goal.

"That was the key moment," Santini said. "After that we had a good chance to win.''

The Irish forward immediately gave way to Defoe and the England striker took just five minutes to make his mark, finishing a Tottenham breakaway with a touch of class.

Further late strikes from Goran Bunjevcevic, Anthony Gardner, who shot home from 25 yards, and a second goal from Kanouté meant that Oldham had little reward to show for their efforts.

"I thought it was a bit harsh on us, but in the end they gave us a lesson," said Brian Talbot, the Oldham manager. "We matched them for an hour, but their running of the ball was excellent and that made us very tired and after the second goal it was game over."

For their endeavours, Spurs have drawn an away tie against Bolton in the third round.

Oldham Athletic (4-4-2): Mawson; Holden, Haining, Arber, Griffin; Eyre, Appleby, Boshell, Eyres (Barlow, 84); Killen (Jack), 63, Johnson. Substitutes not used: Treacy (gk), Hall, Lomax.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Keller; Mabizela, King, Gardner, Bunjevcevic; Davies (Ricketts, 72), Redknapp (Mendes, 61), Brown, Jackson; Keane (Defoe,67), Kanouté. Substitutes not used: Robinson (gk), Pamarot.

Referee: R Beeby (Northamptonshire).

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