Brave Colchester United exit FA Cup after losing to Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur
Colchester United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 4
Brave Colchester United exited the FA Cup, at the hands of Premier League high-fliers Tottenham, following a 4-1 home defeat in front of a sell-out crowd and also the BT Sport television cameras this lunchtime.
The U’s had already lost centre-halves Alex Wynter and Tom Eastman to nasty head injuries, when Nacer Chadli fired Spurs in front in the 27th minute.
Chadli obliged with a terrific shot, which soared past keeper Jake Kean and into the roof of the net.
But the U’s refused to buckle, and they were very unfortunate to concede the second goal, on 64 minutes – centre-half Erik Dier’s effort took a huge deflection which saw the ball elude Kean and drop into an unguarded net.
It was harsh on the U’s, who had really taken the game to their Premier League visitors in the second period.
Chadli netted his second, and Spurs’ third, in the 77th minute to kick-start a flurry of goals.
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The U’s deservedly pulled a goal back in the 80th minute. Gavin Massey, the U’s man-of-the-match, saw his shot cannon back off the inside of the far post and strike Ben Davies on its way into the net, for a Davies own goal.
But Tottenham restored their three-goal advantage just a minute later, thanks to Tom Carroll’s close-range finish.
The U’s had made three changes to the side that slithered to a 3-0 defeat. There were recalls for Gavin Massey, Kane Vincent-Young and Darren Ambrose, with the trio of Joe Edwards, Marvin Sordell and Matt Briggs relegated to the bench.
It was a distressing start for the U’s, with both centre-halves involved in a sickening collision of heads inside the first two minutes.
Eastman seemed to accidently head-butt Wynter, while trying to clear the ball, with Harry Kane lurking in a dangerous position.
Eastman left the pitch, with blood streaming down his face, to receive treatment in the dressing room, but Wynter was in a far worse state, and was duly stretchered off the pitch and into an awaiting ambulance.
Tottenham immediately created three clear-cut chances, but Jake Kean denied the trio of Kane, Eriksen and then Chadli with fine saves, all inside the first 10 minutes.
The woodwork came to the U’s rescue on 12 minutes. Erik Lamela’s curling 20-yarder beat a diving Kean, only to ricochet wide off the far post.
Seconds later and a heavily-bandaged Eastman returned to the fray, to end a tricky period of being down to 10 men.
Warrior Eastman was soon in the action. The big centre-back superbly charged down Eriksen’s goal-bound shot, and then recovered to deny the Tottenham attacker again with a similar block, following Kent’s clearing header.
However, Eastman was not able to continue, perhaps suffering from concussion, and so was replaced by Briggs on 22 minutes. Specialist Briggs therefore filled the unfamiliar position of centre-half, alongside fellow substitute Kent.
A minute later and there was controversy as Tottenham keeper, Michel Vorm, appeared to handle just outside his penalty area, following a mad scramble for the ball. But Vorm escaped any punishment, and was eventually able to drop on the ball, inside his box.
Eriksen scampered through on goal, in the 26th minute, only to rifle his shot over the top.
But Tottenham did break the deadlock, just a minute later, thanks to Chadli’s superb strike from just inside the box.
The U’s had a half-chance to equalise, just before the half-hour mark. Ambrose teed up George Moncur on the left-edge of the penalty area, but the ex-West Ham midfielder’s shot was charged down by the outstretched leg of Eric Dier.
Back at the other end, U’s keeper Kean performed heroics to beat away a goal-bound header by Kane, from point blank range.
The game was opening up even more, and Ambrose had a rather optimistic 20-yarder blocked by a defender on the end of the box, on 32 minutes.
Seven minutes later and the busy Kean was at full stretch to divert Nabil Bentaleb’s curling cross-cum-shot around his far post.
Gavin Massey earned the U’s a free-kick, in a promising position, with Kent competing in an aerial challenge. The ball looped towards Alex Gilbey, but he failed to get enough power in his header and Vorm easily caught.
Into the second half and Tottenham should have doubled their lead in the 47th minute, only for Lamela to drag his shot wide with just Kean to beat.
The U’s threatened with a slick break on 53 minutes. Moncur kept the ball in play, from Garvan’s lofted pass, and Ambrose ran on to hammer in a shot that Bentaleb did well to block on the edge of the six-yard box.
Vorm was on tip-toes to clear Garvan’s delivery, from the ensuing corner, and then had to react quickly to smother Massey’s angled drive, down at his near post.
The U’s were enjoying a purple patch and Chris Porter was only a whisker away from diverting home Ambrose’s penetrating cross into the box. The cross was just too strong for the U’s skipper.
Porter also had appeals for a penalty turned down, in the 56th minute, when he was grounded just inside the area, but referee Michael Oliver waved play on.
The visitors were denied a second goal on the hour mark, when Chadli cracked a rising shot onto the cross-bar. He should really have been celebrating his second goal.
But Tottenham did get their second goal, in the 64th minute, via Dier’s deflected effort.
That second goal took the sting out of the U’s, for a few minutes at least, and Kean had to be alert to palm away substitute Heung-Min Son’s low drive on 73 minutes, although at the other end Richard Brindley was not far adrift with a long-range half-volley which fizzed narrowly over the top.
Substitute Marvin Sordell squandered a great chance to halve the deficit in the 75th minute, but he could not find the back of the net with his shot when through on goal.
Chadli put Spurs 3-0 up, before a Davies own goal gave the U’s a deserved boost. Carroll completed the scoring for a 4-1 away win.
COLCHESTER: Kean, Brindley, Wynter (sub Kent, 6), Eastman (sub Briggs, 22), Vincent-Young, Massey, Garvan, Gilbey, Ambrose (sub Sordell, 60), Moncur, Porter. Unused subs: Parish, Edwards, Lee, Bonne.
TOTTENHAM: Vorm, Trippier, Wimmer, Dier, Davies, Carroll, Bentaleb, Eriksen, Lamela (sub Dembele, 55), Kane (sub Son, 67), Chadli. Unused subs: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Alli, Onomah.
Referee: M Oliver (Northumberland)
Attendance: 9,920 (1,958 away fans)