Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Preston 1 - 5 Tottenham


Peter Crouch scored a hat-trick as Tottenham easily booked their place in the fourth round of the Carling Cup.
An unmarked Crouch volleyed Tottenham in front before Jermain Defoe extended their lead with a header after Andy Lonergan saved his initial shot.
Crouch slotted the ball into an empty before Chris Brown tapped home from eight yards to give Preston hope.
But Robbie Keane struck Tottenham's fourth before Crouch completed the scoring with an audacious backheel.
It was Tottenham's greater quality in attack that was the difference between the two sides, with Harry Redknapp's team showing a clinical edge that was beyond their opponents.
Preston, who lost at home for the first time since April, certainly had opportunities to score but were all too often thwarted by in-form Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
Prior to Crouch's 14th-minute opener a header across goal from Billy Jones was superbly saved by Gomes, while the Brazilian made two decent first-half stops to thwart long-range efforts from Jon Parkin.
Ross Wallace also picked out an unmarked Jones with a cross from the left but the former Crewe defender scuffed his finish and the ball drifted wide.
It was the home team who had made the early running but Spurs gave an indicator of their attacking quality when a strike from a tight angle by Giovani dos Santos struck the crossbar.
And slack marking from Preston was punished when Crouch connected with Gareth Bale's cross to volley home off the post for the opener after 14 minutes.
Jermaine Jenas then picked out Defoe, who brilliantly dribbled his way through the Preston defence before shooting from 12 yards and although Lonergan made a good save he could not prevent the England striker from heading home the rebound.
The home team might have forced their way back into the game minutes after the restart but an unmarked Stephen Elliott could not control a driven low cross from Jones and the ball flew wide.
And as the match wore on Tottenham, despite seven changes from the team that lost 3-0 to Chelsea, gradually started to assume control of possession.
Tom Huddlestone forced a decent save from Lonergan with a controlled low strike across goal and the Preston keeper also parried a well-struck shot from substitute Aaron Lennon, who came on as a first-half replacement for the injured Santos.
Preston were only able to occasionally threaten, though Gomes pulled off a brilliant athletic save to deny Wallace a goal with a curling free-kick.
Wallace forced another save with yet another long-range strike and Parkin went down under pressure while chasing the rebound but Preston's penalty appeals were turned down.
But the decisive third goal came from Tottenham, with Crouch enjoying the easiest of finishes after a low pass across goal from Lennon.
Preston manager Alan Irvine introduced strike duo Neil Mellor and Chris Brown and they had an immediate impact with the former passing for the latter to slot home.
But Spurs substitute Keane collected a pass from Huddlestone before guiding the ball beyond Lonergan as the visitors extended their lead.
And Crouch finished the scoring with the goal of the tie - a volleyed backheel of superb execution from Lennon's cross.
Preston manager Alan Irvine: "It is harsh on us but we have got to learn the lessons.
"We have got to be clinical with our chances and cannot afford to give opponents of their quality so many openings as they will carve you open.
"We knew the quality of their strikers and that we would need to defend well. I think we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit."
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp:"Preston is never an easy place to come and I felt it would be a tough game.
"A year ago we would never have won a game like this, but we took our goals well and always looked dangerous.
"We have got to keep going and hope that we get a decent draw in the next round of the competition."

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