Tottenham 3-0 Cheltenham

Jermain Defoe
Defoe follows in to score his second goal in as many games for Spurs

Tottenham advanced into round four of the FA Cup after a comfortable victory at White Hart in their first competitive match against Cheltenham.

Jermain Defoe put Spurs ahead midway through the first half, sliding in on the goal-line after Giovani dos Santos chipped goalkeeper Scott Brown.

Roman Pavlyuchenko made it two shortly before the break, stroking in from six yards after a slick one-touch move.

Cheltenham showed plenty of spirit but Giovani lifted in a late third.

It was a comfortable afternoon for Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, who made 10 changes to the team that in midweek.

A capacity crowd saw Michael Dawson back as captain, returning to the starting line-up for the first time since a in August.

There was little chance of a repeat of that scoreline but, roared on throughout by the 5,000 travelling fans packing out their allocation at the Park Lane end, the Robins, second in League Two, made a confident start as Kaid Mohamed raced clear in the opening moments and forced Carlo Cudicini into a low save.

Spurs employed widemen Niko Kranjcar and Steven Pienaar in unusual central midfield roles and midfielder Jake Livermore at right-back but soon found their customary passing touch, Giovani and Aaron Lennon causing numerous problems to the Cheltenham defence with their pace and trickery.

Pavlyuchenko jinked away from the the defenders and curled a shot on to the roof of the net but Cheltenham kept their shape admirably and Russell Penn drove narrowly over the bar from 25 yards.

However, midway through the half they were a goal behind.

Kranjcar freed Giovani down the left flank with an intricate pass, and, after sprinting clear, the talented Mexican international lifted over the advancing Cheltenham goalkeeper Scott Brown.

The ball was heading for the net but Defoe demonstrated his predatory instincts by sliding in to apply the finishing touch.

Spurs kept possession stylishly and Pavlyuchenko, making his first start for 13 matches, started and finished a delightful second.

He found Giovani, who freed Defoe in the box and the England striker squared for Pavlyuchenko to slot into an empty net.

Cheltenham's industry restricted the home side to only one chance in the first 20 minutes after the break, Defoe wriggling clear and firing a low shot which Brown kept out smartly at the near post.

They might also have given their supporters the goal they craved when substitute Junior Smikle beat Danny Rose down the Cheltenham right and pulled back for Penn, but again he sent his shot over the top.

Giovani was rewarded for an impressive display down the flanks with a late third, his shot looping in over Brown via a deflection off Steve Elliott, with Marlon Pack another Cheltenham player to shoot over late on.

For Redknapp there was satisfaction at achieving his aim of guiding Spurs safely into Sunday's fourth-round draw, while resting key players ahead of Wednesday's home Premier League match with Everton.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp: "There were a few lads who needed a game and it was important to get a game into them.

"Those games are as straightforward as you make them. They're never easy but we stuck a couple away and were always comfortable after that."

Cheltenham Town manager Mark Yates told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"We've come to a quality side, a quality stadium and we've performed well, worked our socks off and showed that we can keep our shape against a lot of proven internationals and Premier League players.

"The players are disappointed with a few things, they felt that we could have dealt better with the goals.

"I'm proud of the team and now we can look forward to a couple of days' break, recharge and look for a big push for the remaining games of the season."

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