Tottenham cruise past Newport in replay
Lamela adds to Dan Butler own goal to set up clash with Rochdale.
Erik Lamela scored his first goal in 17 months as Tottenham sauntered past Newport and into the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Newport held Spurs to a 1-1 draw at home 10 days ago but the League Two side were outclassed at Wembley, where a Dan Butler own goal and Lamela’s close-range finish sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory.
Tottenham will face League One strugglers Rochdale for a place in the quarter-finals as Mauricio Pochettino’s men edged one step closer to ending the club’s 10-year wait for a trophy.
Spurs are now 11 games unbeaten since losing so convincingly to Manchester City in December and, with Arsenal to come on Saturday and Juventus next week in the Champions League, would appear to be peaking at just the right time.
Undoubtedly, Newport’s best chance of an upset came on the bobbly pitch at Rodney Parade and from the moment Harry Kane equalised there with eight minutes to go, this tie was back in their opponents’ hands.
Initially the replay looked awkward for Tottenham, wedged between last weekend’s match at Liverpool and the upcoming north London derby, but in fact it allowed several players valuable minutes after recently recovering from injury.
Toby Alderweireld made his first appearance since November 1 and, though hardly tested, he is surely now in line to face Arsenal this weekend. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will certainly provide a stiffer examination of the Belgian’s sharpness.
Harry Winks and Danny Rose, both out since Boxing Day, also returned, along with Serge Aurier. There were rare starts too for the veteran Fernando Llorente, the young Argentinian defender Juan Foyth, and Michel Vorm in goal. Kane was preserved on the bench.
For Newport, who endured their first defeat in seven matches against Colchester on Saturday, Ben White passed a late fitness test and Padraig Amond, scorer in the first game, also started.
Spurs needed time to absorb Pochettino’s 10 changes as a loose pass from Foyth almost set Joss Labadie in on goal but Victor Wanyama traded a yellow card for scything down the midfielder.
Newport’s best opening came soon after when a deep Robbie Willmott cross found Amond at the back post but he jumped just too early and headed over.
It was little more than a half-chance but proved a costly miss as Tottenham broke the deadlock on 26 minutes. Llorente fed Moussa Sissoko out wide and his low cross was diverted in by Butler at the near post.
26' GOAL - That is so unlucky. Sissoko's cross deflects off Dan Butler's calf and past Joe Day in the County goal for Spurs to go ahead.— NCAFCLive (@NCAFCLive) February 7, 2018
Newport’s belief seemed to evaporate instantly as Son Heung-min and the lively Lamela both unleashed shots at Joe Day, with the same pair then combining for a second goal.
Son, the best player on the pitch in the first half, scuttled in from the left and slipped in Lamela, who poked home for his first goal since September 2016.
The second half followed much the same pattern and the only blot on Tottenham’s night was that it failed to yield a much-needed goal for Llorente, who missed a free header from Lamela’s cross and then swiped an even better chance wide when picked out by substitute Christian Eriksen.
Dele Alli, booed by the Newport fans when he came on, hit the crossbar when put through one-on-one, while Amond was denied a late consolation by Vorm.