February 18, 2018 / 6:17 PM / 4 months ago

Rochdale earn last-gasp draw with Tottenham

LONDON (Reuters) - Rochdale’s Steve Davies fired home a stoppage time equaliser to earn the third-tier strugglers a deserved 2-2 draw in a cracking FA Cup fifth round tie against Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Soccer Football - FA Cup Fifth Round - Rochdale vs Tottenham Hotspur - The Crown Oil Arena, Rochdale, Britain - February 18, 2018 Rochdale's Steven Davies celebrates scoring their second goal with Andy Cannon REUTERS/Andrew Yates

It looked as though substitute Harry Kane’s late penalty had put Tottenham into the quarter-finals but Davies, also on from the bench, pounced in the 92nd minute to spark joyous scenes at Spotland.

“To get a draw at the end of the day against a Premier League club — you can hear what it means to the fans, board and staff,” Henderson said as the fans chanted ‘Dale are going to Wembley...’ in anticipation of the replay at Tottenham’s temporary home.

“We can’t wait to go to Wembley. We always felt we had an opportunity, Stevo (Steven Davies) is an unbelievable finisher and we deserved that today.

“I’ve always dreamed of playing at Wembley and now I can say I’ve played there — if I’m fit and picked!”

Rochdale, bottom of League One, had their barren pitch re-surfaced for the arrival of the north London club who are bidding to win the FA Cup for the first time since 1991.

And Keith Hill’s men made a mockery of the 63 places separating the sides as they used the lush green surface to great effect to match a Spurs line up much changed from the one that drew 2-2 with Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Tottenham’s team still brimmed with internationals, with Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier and Harry Winks all involved as well as Spanish striker Fernando Llorente up front in place of the rested Kane.

Soccer Football - FA Cup Fifth Round - Rochdale vs Tottenham Hotspur - The Crown Oil Arena, Rochdale, Britain - February 18, 2018 Tottenham's Erik Lamela in action with Rochdale's Ryan Delaney Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Alderweireld was a touch fortunate to get away with a handball after slipping in the area and Henderson had a great chance but saw his shot saved by Michel Vorm.

Rochdale continued to play with style and Henderson opened the scoring in the 45th minute when Andrew Cannon played a dangerous ball onto the box and the skipper fired first-time into the corner.

Tottenham increased their intensity in the second half and levelled when Moussa Sissoko found space and threaded the perfect pass to Brazilian Moura who finished superbly.

STUBBORN DEFENDING

Rochdale were ticking down the minutes after that as Tottenham sent in the cavalry with Kane, who made his professional league debut in January 2011 at Spotland while on loan at Leyton Orient, Dele Alli and Erik Lamela all released off the bench to try and force a win.

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They defended valiantly, making last-ditch stops and goal line clearances but when Alli was taken down in the area and Kane drilled low into the corner with his 89th-minute spot kick, it looked like being a hard-luck story.

There was a final twist, though, as Matt Done swung in a cross from the left and when the ball glanced off Alderweireld it fell to Davies who took a touch before shooting home.

Eight-times winners Tottenham, who also needed a replay against fourth-tier Newport in the fourth round, could have few complaints at not finishing the tie.

“The FA Cup is magic. We have another opportunity at Wembley, the same situation like before,” Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said.

“It’s not easy to play this type of game. Of course we wanted to win but we have the possibility to win.

“We have all the squad fit and it will be another game to provide players with the chance to compete on Wembley and we have the possibility to reach the quarter finals.”

The winners will face either Swansea City or Sheffield Wednesday in the quarter-finals.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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