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Rochdale stun Spurs to force FA Cup replay

Rochdale midfielders Oliver Rathbone (centre left) and Andy Cannon celebrate after drawing 2-2 with Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur in their FA Cup fifth round match at the Crown Oil Arena on Sunday. AFP
Rochdale midfielders Oliver Rathbone (centre left) and Andy Cannon celebrate after drawing 2-2 with Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur in their FA Cup fifth round match at the Crown Oil Arena on Sunday. AFP

Rochdale stun Spurs to force FA Cup replay

Lowly Rochdale scored deep into stoppage time to deny Tottenham Hotspur victory as their FA Cup fifth-round tie ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw on Sunday.

It seemed Spurs had done enough to book their place in the quarterfinals when in-form England striker Harry Kane, on as a substitute, scored from the penalty spot with two minutes of normal time remaining to make it 2-1 to the visitors.

But Rochdale, who had opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time through Ian Henderson, equalised when substitute Steve Davies scored from 12 yards in the third minute of stoppage time.

This result means Rochdale, bottom of third-tier League One, can now look forward to a lucrative replay at Wembley – London club Tottenham’s temporary home while their successor ground to White Hart Lane is completed.

“They say it’s every kid’s dream [to play at Wembley] and we have done enough to go there,” Davies told the BBC, before saying of his equaliser: “I’ve done my job, it’s dropped to me and I’ve finished it.”

Rochdale went ahead when Henderson crowned a slick move that made a mockery of the club’s league position with a composed finish after an excellent angled through-ball from Andrew Cannon split Spurs’ defence.

Lucas Moura, however, drew Spurs level, exchanging passes with Moussa Sissoko and beating Rochdale keeper John Lillis just shy of the hour-mark.

‘Magic’ of FA Cup

It seemed Spurs’ recovery was complete when Rochdale defender Harrison McGahey brought down Dele Alli and Kane beat Lillis, who dived the right way, with a well-struck penalty.

But there was still time for one more twist which means Spurs are facing a Wembley replay for the second round in a row, having needed two games to end fourth-tier strugglers Newport County’s FA Cup run.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Henderson. “We played some incredible football against Spurs. We cannot wait to go to Wembley to play them. I knew that we would always have an opportunity [to equalise].”

Rochdale manager Keith Hill added: “We had to do it our way and we did. The players will be looking forward to [a replay at Wembley] as well as the supporters.”

His Spurs counterpart Mauricio Pochettino said: “The FA Cup is magic,” giving voice to one of English football’s best-loved, and in this case apt, cliches.

“We have another opportunity at Wembley, the same situation like before,” the Argentinian added.

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