Characterising the luck of the FA Cup draw, Harry Redknapp was able to name a much-changed Tottenham side for their tie with League Two side Cheltenham and still come away with a confortable 3-0 victory.
There were ten changes to the Spurs side that beat West Brom in the midweek – most notably including the return of their regular captain, Michael Dawson, for the first time since August. Of their changed team, it was Giovani dos Santos that made the most convincing case for his place in the regular starting line-up – or perhaps more likely, a case for a transfer – being key to all three goals.
Indeed, the Mexican should have his name to two of the Spurs goals – his deft chip for their first goal was making its way in past Cheltenham ‘keeper, Scott Brown, but Jermaine Defoe cheekily tapped in on the goal line, just to make sure.
Defoe and dos Santos combined again for the second goal, to set up a side-foot shot for Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Cheltenham, supported by a 5,000 strong travelling crowd, made a confident start, with Kaid Mohammed forcing a low save from Carlo Cudicini early-doors. Despite being 2-0 down at the break, manager Mark Yates, opted to bring in a plethora of attacking players – including top goal scorer Darryl Duffy, who perplexingly was not on from the outset.
Unfortunately, they lacked the composure to finish chances to chase a draw, and a replay – though with a five-day team break to Portugal on the horizon for the Gloucestershire side, it is not all bad. The Robins can focus on their League Two promotion chase now, instead.
As for Tottenham, they have another favourable draw for the fourth round, with an away trip to Championship side – and distant London rivals – Watford.