Football - FA Cup Fifth Round: Rochdale 2 - 2 Tottenham Hotspur
Date published: 18 February 2018
FA Cup Fifth Round: Rochdale v Tottenham Hotspur
Steve Davies scores the goal that earned Dale a Wembley replay
Stephen Davies scored a last gasp equaliser to earn Rochdale a money spinning replay at Wembley Stadium after holding Premier League Tottenham Hotspur to a draw at a packed Crown Oil Arena.
Davies drilled home deep into stoppage time to send the home faithful into joyous celebration’s after England striker Harry Kane had seemingly won it for Spurs from the penalty spot in the 88th minute.
Kane fired past Josh Lillis after fellow substitute Dele Alli earned a penalty kick late in the 90 minutes.
Ian Henderson had given Dale a deserved lead in the final minute of the first half with debutant Lucas Moura finishing well to cancel out the opener on the hour mark.
It appeared to be game over when Kane fired in his 38th goal of the season for club and country with two minutes remaining before the late drama that will see these two sides go again in ten days time at the national stadium.
With the majority of the build up being about the Crown Oil Arena pitch, it was good to see some football on the newly laid surface which certainly suited Rochdale and their passing style of football.
Scott Wiseman was cup-tied so Harrison McGahey was given the nod to start at the heart of the Dale defence whilst on loan Fulham striker Stephen Humphrys continued up front after impressing in the midweek defeat at Bristol Rovers.
If the enormity of the task ahead for Dale wasn’t apparent, the visitors, whose manager made 10 changes from the midweek draw in Turin when they drew with Juventus in the Champions League, had almost £125 million pounds worth of talent on the pitch and over £80 million pounds on the bench, including England internationals Harry Kane and Dele Alli. £43 million pound record signing Davinson Sanchez was only on the Spur bench.
The message from Keith Hill to his players was to keep it tight in the opening 15 minutes against their loftier opponents and Dale did that and certainly were not overawed by the occasion, taking the game to the visitors.
Referee Bobby Madley had a decision to make when former Ajax defender Toby Alderweireld slipped inside the area and seemingly held on to the ball, but Madley waived away Rochdale appeals for a penalty.
Ian Henderson will probably feel he should have passed when he shot straight at Vorm after good work from Cannon.
At the other end, Lillis got down well to deny Son who had burst into the area. Fernando Llorente shooting wide with the follow up when he perhaps should have done better.
Rochdale took the lead with seconds left of the opening 45 minutes. A tremendous tackle by Mark Kitching on the half way line set Humphrys away who picked out Cannon. The Dale academy product was cool under pressure as he released Henderson whose first time finish saw him sweep the ball beyond Vorm for a deserved half-time lead.
The second half saw Tottenham start to turn the screw on Dale and when Lucas Moura, a £25 million pound signing from Paris Saint Germain, was sent free, he made no mistake in lifting the ball over Lillis to score on his Spurs debut to equalise.
After being taken to a replay by League Two Newport County in the last round, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino was looking to avoid a repeat and sent on the big guns of Erik Lamela, Dele Alli and Harry Kane as his side searched for the goal that would see them through.
Spurs almost took the lead when Victor Wanyama stole in at the back post to meet a Keiron Tripper corner, but the Kenyan somehow fired over the bar from two yards out.
The Tottenham pressure was increasing and when a swift move in and around the Dale area fell to Lamela, it took a brave block from Jim McNulty to deny the Argentinian, although the ball span up and took a goal line clearance from Matty Done to keep the score level.
With the clock ticking down and the Dale fans dreaming of a trip to Wembley in a replay, Spurs were awarded a penalty kick when McGahey was adjudged to have caught Alli inside the box.
Harry Kane stepped up to clinically dispatch the spot kick and seemingly win the game for his side, but Stephen Davies had other ideas.
With three of the four minutes of added time played, Dale snatched a late, late equaliser which signalled scenes reminiscent of those against Darlington that sent Dale to Wembley for the first time in their history.
Davies picked up the ball in the centre circle before sending it out wide to Done on the Dale left. The wingback’s cross was flicked by Tottenham’s Alderweireld but straight to Davies whose first touch was impeccable, his second swept the ball in off the post to launch scenes of unbelievable joy from the sell out home crowd.
The full time whistle brought about tears from some who could not believe what they had just witnessed and when the dust settles this will certainly be one of those 'I was there moments'.
What Keith Hill and his players need to do now is take this momentum into the league campaign, starting with the visit of MK Dons on Wednesday night as they look to climb away from danger and try and put their date at Wembley at the back of their minds, at least for now.
After the game, Rochdale manager Keith Hill said: "For us to get that late equaliser, wow! That was raw emotion, not just from me, but from the players, the staff and from the supporters as well.
"I am really pleased that the players have got the reward of going to Wembley."
Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty (Rathbone 80), McGahey, McNulty (Inman 88), Delaney, Done, Camps, Cannon, Kitching, Henderson ©, Humphrys (Davies 75)
Subs: (not used) Moore, Ntlhe, Thompson, Adshead
Tottenham: Vorm ©, Trippeir, Alderweireld, Foyth, Rose, Wanyama, Winks (Lamela 62), Moura (Alli 71), Son, Sissoko, Llorent (Kane 76)
Subs: (not used) Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Dier, Walker-Peters
Referee: Mr A Madley
Assistants: Mr S Bennett and Mrs S Massey-Ellis
Fourth Official: Mr S Martin
FA Cup Fifth Round: Rochdale v Tottenham Hotspur
Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker in the BBC commentary box