Tottenham win 4-1 to set up 5th round FA Cup tie at Everton
WYCOMBE WANDERERS 1 (Onyedimna 24)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 (Bale 45, Winks 85, Ndombele 87, 89)
DO NOT BE DECEIVED by the scoreline, as Tottenham were pushed all the way by Championship strugglers Wycombe Wanderers before finally making it through to the fifth round of the FA Cup courtesy of three goals in the final five minutes.
Spurs had to come from behind after Fred Onyedinma put Wycombe ahead in the 24th minute, and they only went in level at the break thanks to a Gareth Bale equaliser in stoppage time.
And although Wycombe rarely threatened to score again, it took a late goal from Harry Winks and an even later brace from Tanguy Ndombele to see Tottenham through.
It was reminiscent of the clash between these two sides at the same stage four years ago, when two late goals saved Spurs from a cup upset.
Jose Mourinho showed how seriously he took the threat of Wycombe by sending out a strong side, albeit resting Harry Kane, Heung Min Son and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from his starting line-up.
Gareth Bale started and should have put Spurs ahead inside five minutes, but steered a header wide from close range. Wycombe went close themselves, as Admiral Muskwe had a header tipped away by Joe Hart, and Onyedinma shot high and wide.
But the Wycombe wideman did not have to wait long to open the scoring, after poor defending from Tottenham. Uche Ikpeazu, the huge Wycombe striker was allowed too much room on the right and when he fizzed a low ball across the area, it flew off the foot of Toby Alderweireld into the path of Onyedinma,who fired it gleegfully past Hart from ten yards. With barely a quarter of the game gone, the Championship side were causing Tottenham problems.
On the touchline Gareth Ainsworth was celebrating wildly, as befits his nickname Wildman. The former Wimbledon midfielder was as well known for his guitar-playing as his football, and even now looks very different to the average manager, prowling the technical area with his long hair and leather jacket.
For a while it looked like a shock was on the cards, and Spurs did not help themselves. Davinson Sanchez looked shaky at the back, and in attack they did little to worry Ryan Allsopp for most of the first half.
Carlos Vinicius headed over the bar, Bale shot wide and then into the sidenetting, and Moussa Sissoko saw a deflected shot cannon off the crossbar and into the grateful arms of Allsopp.
But the keeper was finally beaten in first half stoppage time when Lucas Moura, the pick of Tottenham’s forwards, floated a delicate pass forward and Bale stole between two defenders to flick the ball cleverly past Allsopp from close range.
The equaliser came as a huge relief for Mourinho, and he sent on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg at haf time, and then Kane before the hour mark. Spurs should have been ahead by that stage, with Moura and Bale shooting wide and Erik Lamela forcing Allsopp to save at full stretch.
The keeper then saved from Kane at close range, before Mourinho sent on Ndombele and Son, who flashed one shot wide of the far post and smashed another over the bar from a good position.
Allsopp made another close range save from Kane with five minutes remaining, but the England captain recycled the ball, and whewn it dropped to Winks 25 yards from goal, the young midfielder showed great composure to curl it into the top corner.
Spurs finally got their noses in front and Ndombele made sure of it with two goals in the final three minutes, first converting Son’s cross nonchalantly, and then wriggling through to shoot home with almost the final kick of the game.
Tottenham will now face Everton in the fifth round, while Wycombe must return to a relegation battle at the wrong end of the Championship – dreaming of what might have been.
Allsop 8; Grimmer 7, Knight 6, McCarthy 7, Jacobson 6 (Charles 33); Wheeler 6, Thompson 6, Bloomfield 6 (McCleary 60); Muskwe 7 (Kashket 72) Ikpeazu 6 (Akinfenwa 72), Onyedimna 8
Hart 7; Tanganga 6 (Hojbjerg 46), Alderweireld 7, Sanchez 6, Davies 7 (Rodon 88); Winks 8, Sissoko 6; Bale 7, Lamela 6 (Ndombele 67), Moura 7 (Son 67); Vinicius 5 (Kane 57)
Referee Jon Moss