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Match report: Tottenham 3-0 Cheltenham (Cheltenham fan's perspective)

Tuesday 10th January 2012
We came, we saw, but, let's be honest, we were never going to conquer.

However, the 5,000-strong Ruby Army which snaked it's way down the M40 and M25 in a long convoy of coaches acclaimed their side on the final whistle as if they had won the game.

For 23 minutes, Cheltenham stood tow-to-toe with a Tottenham side showing 10 changes from the team which beat West Brom in the Premier League five days before.

That team, however, still included eight full internationals, while the other three have Under-21 caps, such are the resources available to Harry Redknapp.

But Cheltenham were not overawed. They still tried to play their natural game, but the speed of thought and movement of the Spurs so-called reserves was just too slick.

Kaid Mohamed had some promising runs while Luke Summerfield fired an early shot over, but after that first quarter Spurs took control.

A superb pass from Niko Krancjar set Giovani Dos Santos away down the left channel. He cut in and chipped goalkeeper Scott Brown, but Jermain Defoe slid in to pinch the goal off him centimetres from the line.
The second goal, just before half-time, was the killer.

Defoe and Giovani linked up with the Mexican laying the ball on a plate for Roman Pavlyuchenko to walk the ball in from six yards.

Just before the break, Mohamed had a good run and seemed to have Michael Dawson on the back foot, but he shot early rather than trying to get round Dawson and set up a clearer shooting chance.

Rubies' keeper Brown was the star of the second half. He saved superbly from Defoe twice and Giovani – and Mark Yates' substitutions made a difference.

One of the changes, Junior Smikle, nutmegged Danny Rose and cut the ball back for Russ Penn, but he snatched at his shot and that was the Rubies' best opportunity gone.

With four minutes left, Spurs got the third, as Giovani's shot looped over Brown off the shins of Steve Elliott to clinch Spurs' passage and finally kill Cheltenham off.

Marlon Pack had one final chance to give the Ruby Army something to cheer at the death, but they still gave the side a well-deserved ovation at the final whistle.

So after our big day out, it's back to reality, and Aldershot at home on Saturday – and the real business of the season as we try to achieve our true goal... promotion to League One.

Mark Halliwell

Total articles: 7

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