For about ten minutes, Shamrock Rovers of the Irish League were leading Tottenham, former Champions League quater finalists. Their defence were a solid foundation against the sublime and quick paced Tottenham attack. But unfortunatley, dreams do not last forever...
Tottenham flew out of the traps against the Irish champions, building up a move straight from kick off, the ball eventually came to Dos Santos, who took it past one Shamrock defender and hit it straight at the keeper. The Mexican international also had another attempt at goal after playing a precise one-two with Russian counterpart Pavlychenko, only for his shot to be blocked and the resulting corner coming to nothing.
The opening ten minutes saw the Rovers waste their possession. Very often their passes were intercepted by a Spurs player who started a counter attack, which normally resulted in an easy save for Shamrocks stand-in keeper; Richard Brush. Tottenham were playing with a confidence evident in the 4-0 demolition of Liverpool, yet couldn't find the finish.
The first real chance inevertably fell to the home side. Dos Santos recieved the ball from midfield in virtually empty space before playing the ball through to Defoe, whose shot was well saved by Brush as he knocked it onto the crossbar. He was then in action again few minutes later, Lennon made a quick run into the box and passed it to Pavlychenko, who beat his man before having his effort brilliantly saved by the Irish goalkeeper. Rose, Walker and Lennon were causing the defence massive problems throughout the opening 20 minutes by beating their opposing full backs easily before making a pass into the box.
More shots fired in towards the Shamrock goal throughout the first half, giving the effect of rain hitting an umbrella. Dos Santos had one blocked, Kyle Walker hit the bar and Pavlychenko had his effort cleared off the line as Spurs headed into half time unable to break the deadlock, the roars of the 1000 strong Irish crowd still ringing in their ears...
The second half began without the same pace as most of the 45 minutes, but that all changed on the 49 minute mark. Shamrock had a free kick from about 20 yards, which was well palmed away by Cudicini. The ball came out to McCabe, who drilled a shot towards the Spurs net, but it took a defletion off the Rovers holding midfielder Rice, and it bounced agonisingly passed Cudicini into the opposite corner. 1-0
Shamrock now look a completely different side from the one that got battered in the opening 45 minutes, breaking with regularity and spending more time in the opposition half whilst still being defensively strong from the threat of Tottenham's wingers and full backs.
However, their defence were not going to last such an onslaught for much longer. Half time substitute Townsend took the ball on the wing and ran past the Shamrock full back, before delivering a fanatastic ball to the unmarked Pavlychenko to head down into the bottom left corner. 1-1!
Two minutes later and it was like deja vu. Townsend beat his marker again to hit a swinging ball into the path of Jermaine Defoe, again in open space, to nod another past the helpless Brush. 2-1!
And just as you thought it couldn't get any worse for the Irish champions... it did! Defoe then picked up the ball from well inside his own half and ran virtually unchallenged past a bunch of Shamrock players, getting to a space just outside the 20 yard box and passing down to Dos Santos, who took a bad touch but still managed to finish sublimely into the roof of the net. 3-1! and what a nightmare five minutes for Shamrock, whose back line were a shattered remains of that who withstood the first half.
Shamrock returned to their frightened approach after conceding the three goals, their only shot of the since conceding the first of the trilogy came in the 75th minute, a wild strike going well over the bar, with another similar attempt coming ten minutes after. Whilst Danny Rose hit a strike from a wing position towards the opponants goal, whose effort was tipped over by the goalie, and Pavlychenko nearly made it 4-1, but couldn't make contact with the left side cross, and it was parried away by Brush. Tottenham's side of youngsters were running the show, and running it well.
The final ten minutes were hardly contested by Rovers, clearly fatigued from such a high profile match. Substitute Falque was allowed to casually stroll into the box and knock the ball down to Pavlychenko to hit, but to no prevail in the end. Dos Santos was also set up to run at pace into the box, only to be marshalled out by the poor performing full back Stevens. Falque was called into action on the 85th minute after some good build up play from the Spurs midfield, but the young Spaniard failed to a get a decent shot in on target. There was one late appeal for a penalty from the away team, but it was too little too late, Shamrock were well beaten. FULL TIME!
Tottenham: Carlo Cudicini, Sébastien Bassong, Kyle Walker, Vedran Corluka, Jake Livermore, Aaron Lennon (Andros Townsend, 45), Danny Rose (Harry Kane, 80), Thomas Carroll, Jermain Defoe (Iago Falqué, 73), Giovani dos Santos, Roman Pavlyuchenko
Shamrock Rovers: Richard Brush, Pat Sullivan, Dan Murray, Craig Sives, Jim Paterson (Enda Stevens, 45), Billy Dennehy, Ronan Finn (Rohan Ricketts, 73), Stephen O'Donnell (Conor McCormack, 45), Gary McCabe, Stephen Rice, Gary Twigg
BeeTeeSports Man Of The Match: Andros Townsend