Football - FA Cup Fifth Round Replay: Tottenham Hotspur 6 - 1 Rochdale

Date published: 01 March 2018

Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente scored a 12 minute hat-trick early in the second half as Rochdale went out of the FA Cup amid VAR (Video Assistant Referee) controversy.

Dale’s Stephen Humphry’s cancelled out Heung-Min Son’s early goal to send the side’s in level at the break before Tottenham stepped it up in the second half.

The main talking points will surround VAR which was used several times in a stop/start first half which saw Spurs’ Erik Lamela have a goal ruled for a foul whilst VAR was again used to award the Tottenham a penalty after the on field referee had awarded a free-kick. The penalty was converted by Son before being wiped out after an infringement, again checked by VAR.

Keith Hill named the same side that faced Tottenham at the Crown Oil Arena ten days ago whilst Mauricio Pochettino made two changes, Eric Dier and Erik Lamela coming in for Toby Alderwiereld and Victor Wanyama.

In persistent snow and freezing temperatures, Tottenham took the game to Rochdale and thought thy had taken the lead as early as the sixth minute when Erik Lamela tapped home after Josh Lillis had pushed Son’s close range cross into his path. Referee Paul Tierney turned to the video referee who after a lengthy delay said Llorente fouled Dale’s Harrison McGahey and the goal was chalked off.

Despite being 64 places between the two sides, and the game being played at the home of English football, the Rochdale players were not overawed by their surroundings and threatened Michel Vorm’s goal on a couple of occasions.

Matty Done’s clever chest control set him free inside the area on the left but his cross/shot was too firm for Henderson who was sliding in at the back post.

VAR, which is being trialled in certain cup games this season in England, has got its critics and there might be a few more after this game. VAR is where there is a fifth referee watching from a studio with a bank of TV’s and replays available immediately. If the on field referee requires help he will be guided by the VAR who will review incidents from different angles.

One such incident came about in the 21st minute when Brazilian Lucas Moura went down in the area under a challenge from Harrison McGahey. Referee Mr Tierney waived play on and during the next break in play, consulted the VAR, who agreed with the initial decision.

The Spurs fans, who had not braved the freezing temperatures in great numbers, did not have long to wait for the opening goal. South Korean International Heung-Min Son picked up on the edge of the box and after feigning to shoot twice, eventually fired a shot beyond Lillis and into the net.

Minutes later came the most controversial VAR referral of the game. Matt Done’s tussle with Kieran Trippier started outside the box as the full back tried to make headway at the Dale goal and ended with him falling inside the box. Initially Tierney awarded a free-kick outside the area but after consulting Graham Scott, the VAR awarded a spot kick.

Son stepped up but stopped his run up before firing the penalty past Lillis but Tierney ruled the goal out before checking with the VAR, who after a short break in play agreed and an indirect free-kick was awarded to Dale with Son booked.

The main issue with the VAR is that supporters inside the stadium are unaware of what is happening. The press box of Wembley has monitors so we could see exactly what was being discussed and could make judgment based on replays.

The boos rang out around Wembley but that did not affect Dale who netted with their next attack. Andy Cannon’s delightful clipped ball over the top of Juan Foyth picked out Humphrys who controlled brilliantly before finishing past Vorm to send the 5,000+ travelling fans into raptures.

With a spring In their step, Rochdale came close to leading at the interval and would have done but for the woodwork. Goalscorer Humphrys turned provider as he played in Cannon who drilled a shot across the keeper but saw the ball ricochet back off the far post.

The start of the second half started with even more snow falling; although the ground staff had done a good job of clearing the lines, it only helped Spurs who raced into a two-goal lead within eight minutes of the restart.

Moura’s drive towards the Dale goal saw him feed Llorente who clipped the ball over an on rushing Lillis for the first of his three goals in 12 minutes.

2-1 soon became 3-1 when Llorente poked home from close range after more good work from Moura.

Llorente completed his hat-trick just short of the hour mark, heading in from very close range after Son’s jinking run to the by-line created space for the cross.

Son got Tottenham’s fifth soon after, Lamela’s pace caused problems for Dale and when he pulled the ball back Son was on hand to turn the ball in.

Keith Hill made three changes as he gave Stephen Davies, the player who scored the goal that earned this replay, Joe Thompson and 16-year-old Daniel Adshead a run out at Wembley.

Tottenham controlled the second half and almost added to their tally when Lamela’s free-kick crashed back off the post, but Spurs substitute Deli Alli could not convert from a couple of yards out.

The scoring was completed deep into stoppage time when substitute Kyle Walker-Peters raced into the area on the left before finding a gap past Lillis.

In the end it was a comfortable evening for Tottenham who now go on to face Swansea in the quarter finals.

For one and a half games, Dale matched their opponents but fell short towards the end.

Tottenham: Vorm (c), Trippier, Dier, Foyth, Rose, Moura (Walker-Peters 81), Sissoko, Winks (Dembele 62), Son (Alli 67), Llorente, Lamela
Subs: (not used) Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Kane, Eriksen

Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, McGahey, McNulty, Delaney, Done, Camps, Kitching (Thompson 64), Cannon (Adshead 76), Humphry’s (Davies 58), Henderson (c)
Subs: (not used) Moore, Rathbone, Nthle, Inman

Referee: Mr P Tierney
Assistants: Mr S Long and Mr A Garratt
Fourth Official: Mr R East
Video Assistant Referee: Mr G Scott

Attendance: 24,627

Photo Gallery

To view fifty photos of action and supporters from Rochdale's FA Cup replay against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium, visit:


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