Harry Kane leads the way as Tottenham secure predictable FA Cup win against AFC Wimbledon

Tottenham Hotspur 3 AFC Wimbledon 0: The forward hit two goals while Jan Vertonghen added a third to seal the victory

Miguel Delaney
Wembley
Sunday 07 January 2018 17:44 GMT
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Harry Kane celebrates his second for the hosts
Harry Kane celebrates his second for the hosts (Getty)

Abnormal service resumed. Harry Kane continued his ludicrous 2017-18 scoring record to send Tottenham Hotspur through to the fourth round of the FA Cup with his first goals of the calendar year. AFC Wimbledon had been waiting 30 years to return to this stadium in this competition and, for an hour at least, looked like they might produce one of their best results in the cup since that famous 1988 win. But such hopes were dashed by two Kane strikes in the space of two minutes.

There’s rarely room for any romance when this kind of striker is around, as Spurs ended up winning 3-0, with Jan Vertonghen adding the other.

Manager Neal Ardley admitted that his backroom staff thought it was a "wind-up" when they saw the strong Spurs line-up with Kane in the team, but it was not. As such, his presence would eventually allow Spurs to easily wind down the game after their first-half frustrations.

It might just have been a League One team, and this might have just been the FA Cup, but Kane again displayed why Spurs are going to bust through the top of their wage structure to give him a new contract, and why he is essentially irreplaceable. There’s just no accounting for a natural goalscorer like that.

Here, he did solve a familiar problem for Mauricio Pochettino’s team, and one that threatened to grow. They were at Wembley, against an inferior side, and with a lot of the ball and a lot of pressure but also suffering so much frustration.

Jan Vertonghen scored his first goal in 1086 days
Jan Vertonghen scored his first goal in 1086 days (Getty)

There was at least good variety to their attacking play. They were trying to thread the play through the Wimbledon defence and often go around, but it so often led to the same outcome: nothing.

Kane himself - surprisingly - missed the first of a few chances early on to set the tone, having had a cross evade him and then blazing wildly over after a Kyle Walker-Peters cross to Fernando Llorente eventually fell to him. Llorente himself often seemed to dwell on the ball too long.

The greater frustration was that they were actually playing some good, purposeful and creative football. This was summed up just before half-time when Kane threaded the ball through for Erik Lamela and he attempted a deft little dink, but George Long managed to turn it away. The goalkeeper knew less about Mousa Dembele’s effort that cannoned off the post and hit his head, shortly before Wimbledon just about cleared a goalmouth scramble.

Kane bagged the hosts' first and second goal
Kane bagged the hosts' first and second goal (Getty)

As tends to happen in these games, the longer it goes without a goal and the more the bigger team presses, the more the cracks open at the other end and the sense grows that something bigger might actually be afoot.

Jimmy Abdou forced a panicked save from Michel Vorm and there was one moment when Andy Bercham dangerously got around Juan Foyth. But, just as that move drifted out to nothing, so did any Wimbledon hopes of an upset.

Reality re-asserted itself, and there’s little more ‘real’ in football than a Kane goal.

Darius Charles and Michel Vorm challenge for a high ball
Darius Charles and Michel Vorm challenge for a high ball (Getty)

On 63 minutes he turned in a Moussa Sissoko cross under pressure. On 65, a Walker-Peters ball fell to him to finish from close range.

Dele Alli had in that time come on as a sub to the sound of boos in the away end due to his past with MK Dons, but they were soon silenced too. On 71 minutes, there was the moment a much less frequent scorer scored a much less likely goal. Vertonghen won the ball a little too easily just outside the Wimbledon box and, even though he had Kane to his left, decided to go for it himself. It was worth it as he thumped the ball into the top corner from distance, albeit through a deflection.

There was no diverting Spurs’ path to the fourth round, and no keeping Kane down for that long. A predictable result, through predictable means.

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