Leeds United have been grabbing FA Cup headlines since the famous cup kicked off this season. In the third round the League 1 side did something which even the best European teams fail to do, when they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford. They were then drawn away to Tottenham in the fourth round and again they shocked the football world when they scraped a 2-2 draw with a dramatic and late equalizer.
Tonight they played the fourth round replay against Tottenham and finally had the home advantage in this competition. The League 1 flyers were looking to star striker Beckford – who scored the single goal against Man Utd and the two against Tottenham – to weave his magic again.
Both teams came flying out of the traps. Defoe managed to beat the Leeds ‘keeper in the opening minutes but his shot wasn’t strong enough to make it to the goal and the defenders got in to clear. Howson then tried his luck from distance for Leeds with just three minutes gone as this game opened up very early on.
Jermain Defoe was looking bright for Spurs and flashed a volley just wide with twelve minutes gone, before Doyle tested the Goalkeeper from distance at the other end. With twenty-five minutes gone Defoe found himself with an ideal scoring opportunity when he was put through to a one-on-one with the Goalkeeper, the England striker looked sure to score but somehow Ankergren got enough on the ball to force it wide. The Leeds ‘keeper was forced into action again moments later when a cross from Bale took a wicked deflection and spun towards the goal, Ankergren got down to save well and keep the scores dry.
Tottenham looked in control of the game and on thirty-four minutes Defoe had another volley saved by the Leeds Goalkeeper, as the battle between these two continued. Two minutes after this attempt Defoe finally beat Ankergren, the ball came to him in the penalty area and bobbled up off his foot, he swung at it and sliced it awkwardly but the ball flew into the top corner, finally opening the scoring.
The goal was certainly coming for Tottenham and looked like it would just be a matter of time, but after they scored it Leeds finally woke up and started to threaten the Tottenham goal. Shots came in from Michalik, Beckford and Johnson as the home team pushed for the equalizer. On the stroke of half-time Beckford latched onto a cross to twist and hit a volley at goal, Gomes saved well but could only manage to push the ball out to Becchio who smacked the ball into an empty net; much to the delight of nearly forty-thousand fans. The replay later showed that the goal was offside but that didn’t matter to the fans who cheered like they had won the game, and these two teams went into the break at 1-1.
Tottenham came out on top in the second half and after Defoe tried another potshot at goal, Crouch was gifted the perfect opportunity to put Spurs back in front but his close range shot somehow skidded wide.
Ankergren continued to be a rock in that Leeds goal when he tipped a powerful Dawson header over his bar just before the hour mark. Crouch tested the strong ‘keeper again before Huddlestone blasted the ball over the bar as the Premiership side looked for the winning goal. Ankergren was tirelessly called to action again when Bentley cut inside and powered a shot at goal, the Danish shot-stopper leaped to tip it over the bar.
After some relentless attacking Spurs finally pushed the ball into the net but the Defoe goal was correctly adjudged to be offside. Then, with just under twenty minutes to go, Bentley whipped a ball into the box which Defoe pounced on, lifting it over Ankergren and finally giving Tottenham the 2-1 lead they deserved.
Tottenham were by far the better side in the second half and they dominated the League 1 side who looked beaten when the second goal went in. The men in white were tired and with just over five minutes left to play Crouch nearly ended their night, but his headed effort bounced off the crossbar.
Leeds did have a small chance from a crossed free-kick late on but Michalik headed over. In stoppage time Leeds threw everyone forward and were hit on the counter attack by a fast breaking Spurs side. The chance fell to Defoe again and he ended his battle with Ankergren by scoring and completing his hat-trick.
A disappointing game for Leeds United who showed little enthusiasm in the second half and were sent packing as Tottenham progressed to the fifth round.