Tottenham Hotspur cruised into the fifth round of the FA Cup with a comfortable 2-0 victory over League Two side Newport County at Wembley.
Spurs needed a late Harry Kane goal to rescue a 1-1 draw in the first meeting, but never looked in danger in the replay once Moussa Sissoko’s cross diverted in off Newport’s Dan Butler.
A fine finish from Erik Lamela gave Mauricio Pochettino’s side a comfortable advantage at the interval that they never looked like surrendering.
There are 75 places between Spurs and the Welsh side but there were no scares for the hosts this time around with the gulf in class obvious as the Premier League side strolled through to a fifth-round visit to Rochdale.
Newport showed tremendous resilience to keep the score down, but did not manage a shot on target until the final seconds when Padraig Amond shot straight at Spurs keeper Michel Vorm.
Mauricio Pochettino’s trip to League One Rochdale on Sunday, 18 February will be shown live on BBC One.
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Fit and firing Tottenham take cup seriously
Spurs made 10 changes from the side that drew at Liverpool on Sunday and left a lot of big names on the bench – but there could be no accusing the hosts of taking the threat of Newport lightly after their scare at Rodney Parade.
They left their talisman Kane on the bench, with Christian Eriksen also out of the starting XI, but there was no mistaking the quality coming into the side with Lamela, Sissoko and Fernando Llorente all recalled and Son Heung-min retaining his place.
Son tormented Newport in the first game in Wales – the South Korean was probably the main reason Spurs earned this replay – and he again made a difference in a first half in which Spurs started slowly but ultimately did enough.
They were able to recall defender Toby Alderweireld for the first time since their win over Real Madrid on 1 November, and England left-back Danny Rose also returned for his first appearance since Boxing Day with Tottenham heading into the final stretch of the season largely injury free.
The hosts were in total control once they took the lead and though Pochettino withdrew Son after an hour, he showed he was taking the challenge seriously by bringing Eriksen on in his place.
The Dane created further chances for Spurs and his pinpoint pass put fellow substitute Alli through on goal, but his clipped effort struck the crossbar.
Newport goalkeeper Joe Day also made several excellent stops to deny Eriksen and Lamela, while Llorente might have had a hat-trick on another night as Spurs failed to show a clinical touch.
Newport’s heroic cup run at an end
County’s cup heroics have already proved transformative for the Exiles, because their annual turnover is £2.2m and this run to Wembley Stadium has made them more than £700,000.
They are not total strangers to Wembley, having played here in 2012 and 2013 in an FA Trophy final and National League play-off respectively – but this year’s FA Cup run has no doubt been something special for the south Wales club.
Flynn’s side beat Walsall, Cambridge and Championship side Leeds to get this far and 7,200 travelling fans at Wembley were determined to enjoy every second.
In the opening exchanges County gave as good as they got, with Amond, their hero from the first game, heading over, albeit from an offside position.
However, in order to get anything out of this match the League Two side were always going to need more than their fair share of luck and it was not to prove the case.
Tottenham’s 26th-minute opener shortly before the half-hour mark was cruel on County, with Sissoko firing in a shot that struck Butler and totally wrong-footed Joe Day in the County goal.
The contest was effectively over eight minutes later after more bright work from Son who teed up Lamela to finish smartly from close range, and only a brilliant double-save by Day prevented Spurs going into the interval out of sight.
Newport’s fans would have dearly loved to celebrate a second-half goal and their manager took off a defender for a striker in an attempt to provide one, but in truth Spurs missed several chances to increase their lead.
Man of the match – Son Heung-min (Tottenham)
Son transformed the first match and his sparkle in attack meant this was a comfortable night for Spurs, who took the South Korean off after an hour, no doubt with Saturday’s match against Arsenal in mind.
“Son was outstanding. I am a huge fan,” said former Wales striker John Hartson, who was BBC Radio 5 live’s summariser at the game.
“I liken him to Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal where he gets the ball and is always positive. I like him and he was excellent tonight.”
Newport ‘deflated’ by opening goal – post-match reaction
Newport manager Michael Flynn:
“I am not happy we lost, but I am very proud of the effort and work-rate from my players.
“We kept going right to the end and we scored. It was important we were not embarrassed or trounced.
“In the first 25 minutes I thought we were the better team but how the goal went in was obviously deflating and it took us 10 minutes to get over that and then the damage was done.
“We needed the luck to go with us and the frustrating thing for us is we didn’t hold on at home. It was always going to be tough here. Tottenham have fantastic players.”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino:
“Of course we are happy because we are in the next stage and that is the most important thing.
“It was a professional job and it was important for many players to have the possibility to play.
“It is tough to find a place to play as the team is doing well and today was a great opportunity.
“We won against Man United and drew a fantastic game at Liverpool and Newport lost to Lincoln and Colchester.
“But in the FA Cup we understand after a few years it is a magic competition and anything can happen.”
Spurs showing the way at Wembley – stats
- Tottenham are unbeaten in their past 12 home games at Wembley, winning 10 and drawing two, scoring 32 goals and conceding just six.
- Newport have won just one of their eight FA Cup away games against top-flight opposition, losing six.
- Spurs have kept clean sheets in each of their past four home games in all competitions.
- Mauricio Pochettino took charge of his 200th game for Tottenham in all competitions – winning 110, drawing 47 and losing 43.
- Tottenham have benefited from five opposition own-goals this season in all competitions, more than any other English league side.
- Erik Lamela netted his first goal for Tottenham in 504 days, since scoring against Gillingham in the League Cup in September 2016.
Tottenham now switch their attentions to an even bigger game – the north London derby. Arsenal come to Wembley for the Premier League’s early kick-off on Saturday (12:30 GMT).
Later that day, Newport continue their bid to reach the League Two play-offs when they host Forest Green Rovers (15:00).
Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 2, Newport County 0.
Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 2, Newport County 0.
Attempt missed. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Dele Alli.
Attempt saved. Padraig Amond (Newport County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Scot Bennett.
Attempt blocked. Shawn McCoulsky (Newport County) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Matthew Dolan with a cross.
Corner, Newport County. Conceded by Kyle Walker-Peters.
Attempt missed. Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Dele Alli.
Foul by Fernando Llorente (Tottenham Hotspur).
Mark O’Brien (Newport County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Kyle Walker-Peters with a cross.
Attempt blocked. Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Erik Lamela.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Padraig Amond.
Attempt blocked. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Toby Alderweireld.
Attempt blocked. Fernando Llorente (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Christian Eriksen with a cross.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Frank Nouble.
Attempt blocked. Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Erik Lamela.
Attempt saved. Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Serge Aurier.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Kyle Walker-Peters replaces Danny Rose.
Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Scot Bennett (Newport County).
Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Christian Eriksen with a through ball following a fast break.
Foul by Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur).
Dan Butler (Newport County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur).
Frank Nouble (Newport County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur).
Matthew Dolan (Newport County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Joe Day.
Juan Foyth (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Robbie Willmott (Newport County).
Offside, Tottenham Hotspur. Dele Alli tries a through ball, but Erik Lamela is caught offside.
Foul by Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur).
Matthew Dolan (Newport County) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. Fernando Llorente (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Christian Eriksen with a through ball.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Dele Alli replaces Victor Wanyama.
Substitution, Newport County. Mark O’Brien replaces Ben White.
Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Shawn McCoulsky (Newport County).
Attempt missed. Fernando Llorente (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Erik Lamela with a through ball.
Offside, Tottenham Hotspur. Harry Winks tries a through ball, but Moussa Sissoko is caught offside.