Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

In Pictures: Doncaster 1 Tottenham 5

Tottenham's fringe players made the most of their chance to shine as Harry Redknapp's men maintained their perfect start to the season with a thrilling Carling Cup second-round win at Doncaster.

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Redknapp opted to make seven changes to the side that won 2-1 at West Ham on Sunday, allowing the likes of David Bentley, Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko the opportunity to show what they could do.

And they did not disappoint their manager, as all three scored for the Premier League leaders who have now won all four of their games this season, with Tom Huddlestone and Jamie O'Hara joining them on the scoresheet.

The only blemish for Spurs was a Martin Woods penalty given for handball against Kevin Prince-Boateng who had barely been on the field a minute after replacing Sebastien Bassong.

Redknapp's tinkering meant that there was no place in the squad for Robbie Keane and Ledley King, who were rested, and Jermain Defoe, who was on the bench, while the likes of Bentley and Pavlyuchenko were eager to play for their futures, be they at White Hart Lane or elsewhere, ahead of next summer's World Cup.

But it was Doncaster who settled the quicker of the two sides and they could have been two goals up inside the opening five minutes were it not for the brilliance of Carlo Cudicini.

The Italian, one of just four players to retain his place from Sunday' game, was at his best with just over a minute gone as he somehow clawed away James Hayter's volley, before he was called into action again to divert John Oster's low drive round the post.

But fortune was not to favour Doncaster and from being in a position where they could have been two ahead, they quickly found themselves two down as Spurs struck twice in as many minutes.

The first goal came nine minutes in.

There seemed to be little danger when Rovers defender Adam Lockwood collected the ball in his own half but his square pass sold Sam Hird short, allowing Huddlestone to nip in and rob the defender of possession before coolly slotting home.

With Doncaster stunned, O'Hara quickly drove home a second after 11 minutes, with his crisp drive from the edge of the area leaving Ben Smith with no chance after Bentley's cut-back.

The game then reverted to how it had been in the early exchanges, with Cudicini again excelling as he parried Oster's fizzing half-volley.

But with Doncaster's early fire now starting to die out, it did not take too long for another goal to arrive with Crouch nodding home Bentley's wicked corner eight minutes before the break.

With confidence sky high, O'Hara nearly added a fourth before half-time as he saw his stinging 30-yard volley corner scrape just wide.

The procession continued into the second half as Bentley made it four seven minutes after the restart with his first goal since his memorable volley against Arsenal in October last year.

This one was less spectacular but equally comprehensive as he rammed home from just inside the area after Crouch had flicked Giovani's cross into his path.

The goal sparked a brief Doncaster revival and they soon had reward for their industry if not their finishing as Woods slotted home a 61st-minute penalty after a handball from Prince-Boateng, who had barely been on the field a minute, while Guy also hit a post with a thumping effort.

But Prince-Boateng quickly redeemed himself eight minutes later, carving the Doncaster defence open with a through-ball that Pavlyuchenko slotted beyond Smith.

It opened the Russia international's account for the season and provided Redknapp with a timely reminder of his abilities the day after he had admitted he may have to leave the club in search of more regular football.

Bentley, another keen to show what he can do, nearly wrapped things up with a flashing drive that west just over, while Rovers again hit the woodwork, this time through Byron Webster.

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