Stevenage held Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur to a draw to earn a lucrative FA Cup fifth round replay at White Hart Lane.
The League One side showed commendable spirit, resilience and a prodigious work ethic as Spurs were never allowed to demonstrate the style that has become their trademark under manager Harry Redknapp this season.
Spurs came closest to snatching victory only for Louis Saha's second-half shot to strike Scott Parker on the goalline and be ruled out for offside.
It would have been harsh on Stevenage to lose in such a manner as Gary Smith's side made Spurs work for everything in front of a highly-charged home gallery at The Lamex Stadium.
Did you know?
Stevenage have not conceded a goal in their six FA Cup matches this season.
Michael Dawson also came close for Spurs when his header was cleared off the line by Michael Bostwick in the first half, while Stevenage's best effort was a rising long-range effort from Joel Byrom that was narrowly off target with keeper Carlo Cudicini scrambling.
As referee Phil Dowd sounded the final whistle, the Stevenage fans rightly celebrated their side's performance and the two sides must now meet again to to confirm a home tie with Bolton in the last eight.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp fielded a strong side, but the rhythm and fluent attacking football that has characterised their rise to title outsiders was rarely in evidence as Stevenage fought tigerishly for possession.
Redknapp may not have wanted the intrusion of a replay into the Spurs calendar, lthough they will now be even stronger favourites to take another step towards Wembley - but no-one could begrudge Stevenage their money-spinning reward.
He made a tactical adjustment to cope with Stevenage's combative approach - using deadline day signing Ryan Nelsen, Dawson and Younes Kaboul as a three-man central defence.
While this ensured that Spurs remained secure in the face of Stevenage's spirit and energy, they struggled to find their usual attacking threat until late in the half.
"Stevenage were very professional in their performance, they worked tirelessly and unselfishly, they have earned the right to go to Tottenham and play there"
Saha dragged an effort wide and failed to control an opportunity in the box, while Dawson's header posed the biggest threat as Bostwick was forced to clear off the line.
Stevenage were also rightly encouraged by their own efforts as Parker blocked Bostwick's effort and Chris Beardsley was just unable to connect with the resulting corner.
Kaboul gave Stevenage an anxious moment on the stroke of half-time with an angled free-kick from 20 yards that flashed narrowly wide.
Spurs picked up the momentum in the moments after the break, with Stevenage keeper Chris Day, once of White Hart Lane, relieved to block Gareth Bale's powerful drive to escape with a corner.
The visitors thought they had taken the lead after 54 minutes when Saha turned the ball towards goal but it struck Parker standing on the line and was disallowed.
Byrom then gave Cudicini concerns with a dipping effort and, even though substitute Aaron Lennon provided additional threat for Spurs in the closing stages, Stevenage held out in relative comfort to earn the result their endeavours fully merited.
Live text and stats
Sunday, 19 February 2012
- Stevenage 43%
- Tottenham 57%
- Final Result
- Full Time
- 90:00+3:07 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
- 90:00+2:40 Shot from outside the box by Don Cowan misses to the left of the goal.
- 90:00+1:11 Lawrie Wilson produces a cross, Michael Dawson makes a clearance.
- 90:00+0:42 The ball is swung over by Younes Kaboul, clearance made by Mark Roberts.
- 87:11 Substitution Phil Edwards joins the action as a substitute, replacing Luke Freeman.
- 86:20 Jermain Defoe has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.
- 85:49 Unfair challenge on Aaron Lennon by Don Cowan results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Younes Kaboul.
- 84:38 Ronnie Henry concedes a free kick for a foul on Louis Saha. Niko Kranjcar takes the direct free kick.
- 80:50 Substitution (Tottenham) makes a substitution, with Aaron Lennon coming on for Danny Rose.
- 78:21 Louis Saha fouled by Ronnie Henry, the ref awards a free kick. Niko Kranjcar restarts play with the free kick.
- 76:45 A cross is delivered by Gareth Bale, save made by Chris Day.
- 74:34 Luke Freeman takes a shot. Save made by Carlo Cudicini.
- 74:06 Louis Saha takes a shot. Chris Day makes a save.
- 72:40 Chris Day takes the free kick.
- 72:40 Substitution (Stevenage) makes a substitution, with Don Cowan coming on for Darius Charles.
- 72:40 Younes Kaboul challenges Luke Freeman unfairly and gives away a free kick.
- 70:57 Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Gareth Bale, save made by Chris Day.
- 69:50 Scott Parker is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Chris Day.
- 69:23 Darius Charles concedes a free kick for a foul on Niko Kranjcar. Niko Kranjcar restarts play with the free kick.
- 68:44 Outswinging corner taken by Niko Kranjcar from the right by-line, Darius Charles makes a clearance.
- 67:53 Foul by Danny Rose on Luke Freeman, free kick awarded. Luke Freeman crosses the ball in from the free kick.
- 67:07 Foul by Jake Livermore on Darius Charles, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed by Luke Freeman, comfortable save by Carlo
- 66:22 Substitution Ben May on for Chris Beardsley.
- 63:08 Substitution Kyle Walker goes off and Niko Kranjcar comes on.
- 62:17 Joel Byrom takes a shot. Save by Carlo Cudicini.
- 60:23 Shot by Joel Byrom from outside the box goes over the target.
- 59:37 Shot from outside the box by Luke Freeman misses to the left of the target.
- 59:01 Free kick awarded for a foul by Darius Charles on Ryan Nelsen. Free kick taken by Jake Livermore.
- 58:20 Long range shot by Gareth Bale goes wide right of the goal.
- Correction - 57:36 Shot by Joel Byrom. Blocked by Kyle Walker.
- 57:36 Joel Byrom takes a shot. Jake Livermore gets a block in.
- 55:52 Louis Saha produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses right.
- 54:19 Centre by Danny Rose, save made by Chris Day. Louis Saha takes a shot. Scott Parker gets a block in. Scott Parker is flagged
offside by the assistant referee. Chris Day takes the indirect free kick.
- 52:16 Michael Bostwick has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses right.
- 50:04 The ball is sent over by Scott Laird, comfortable save by Carlo Cudicini.
- 47:02 The assistant referee signals for offside against Louis Saha. Chris Day takes the free kick.
- 46:02 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Danny Rose played to the near post, save by Chris Day.
- 45:46 Gareth Bale takes a shot. Save by Chris Day.
- 45:01 The match restarts for the second half.
- Half Time
- 45:00+1:13 The referee calls an end to the first half.
- 45:00+0:57 Mark Roberts takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Comfortable save by Carlo Cudicini.
- 45:00+0:36 Corner taken by Joel Byrom played to the near post, Michael Dawson makes a clearance.
- 45:00+0:15 Michael Bostwick takes a shot. Blocked by Scott Parker.
- 42:35 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jon Ashton on Jermain Defoe. Younes Kaboul has an effort direct from the free kick.
- 41:17 Kyle Walker produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes wide left of the goal.
- 40:39 Michael Dawson takes the direct free kick.
- 40:39 Booking Joel Byrom is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
- 40:34 Joel Byrom concedes a free kick for a foul on Scott Parker.
- 39:40 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Joel Byrom. Chris Beardsley takes a shot. Blocked by Louis Saha.
- 38:55 Unfair challenge on Chris Beardsley by Kyle Walker results in a free kick. The ball is sent over by Luke Freeman, Scott Laird
takes a shot. Save made by Carlo Cudicini.
- 38:13 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jermain Defoe on Lawrie Wilson. Luke Freeman crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed
from right channel, Michael Dawson makes a clearance.
- 37:34 Danny Rose crosses the ball, Michael Dawson takes a shot. Blocked by Michael Bostwick.
- 37:29 Scott Parker crosses the ball, Lawrie Wilson gets a block in.
- 35:53 Ronnie Henry gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Louis Saha. Kyle Walker restarts play with the free kick. Jermain
Defoe takes a shot. Darius Charles gets a block in.
- 34:58 Shot from 12 yards from Louis Saha. Chris Day makes a comfortable save.
- 33:28 The ball is delivered by Ryan Nelsen, Close range headed effort by Kyle Walker misses to the right of the target.
- 32:00 The ball is swung over by Joel Byrom.
- 30:32 The ball is sent over by Danny Rose, Chris Day makes a comfortable save.
- 29:24 Chris Beardsley has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses left.
- 25:18 Danny Rose produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the net.
- 24:01 Chris Beardsley concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Dawson. Ryan Nelsen restarts play with the free kick.
- 23:30 Effort from the edge of the box by Louis Saha goes wide of the right-hand upright.
- 16:09 A cross is delivered by Danny Rose, Shot from close in by Jermain Defoe misses to the left of the goal.
- 15:16 Unfair challenge on Kyle Walker by Luke Freeman results in a free kick. Michael Dawson restarts play with the free kick.
- 12:04 The assistant referee flags for offside against Louis Saha. Chris Day restarts play with the free kick.
- 11:03 Scott Laird delivers the ball, Carlo Cudicini makes a comfortable save.
- 9:13 Mark Roberts gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jermain Defoe. Ryan Nelsen takes the free kick.
- 7:46 Danny Rose takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Mark Roberts makes a clearance.
- 7:20 Darius Charles is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Carlo Cudicini.
- 5:13 Corner taken by Joel Byrom, Chris Beardsley has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the
- 3:36 Free kick awarded for a foul by Darius Charles on Younes Kaboul. Carlo Cudicini restarts play with the free kick.
- 1:35 Free kick awarded for a foul by Kyle Walker on Luke Freeman. Luke Freeman delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed
from left channel, clearance by Gareth Bale.
- 0:00 The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.
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