Tottenham Hotspur avoided a potential banana skin, albeit on the second attempt, as their largely second-string side beat Newport County 2-0 at Wembley to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Mauricio Pochettino rung in the changes on Wednesday night, with Korean winger Heung-min Son the only survivor from the side that drew 2-2 with Liverpool on Sunday.
New signing Lucas Moura was not on the bench as Fernando Llorente started up top and the Lilywhites were a little slow out of the blocks as they struggled to click in attack.
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The hosts took the lead fairly early, however, with a stroke of luck as Moussa Sissoko’s low cross from the right was put into the back of the net by Newport fullback Dan Butler in the 26th minute.
Spurs were emboldened by the opener and would start to express themselves on the pitch and it didn’t take long before Erik Lamela doubled their lead with a smart finish in the 34th minute.
Toby Alderweireld, making his first start since recovering from a long-term hamstring injury, was proving to be a calm presence at the back and the hosts would comfortably hold the lower-league side at bay till the interval.
In fact, had it not been for some fine goalkeeping from Newport custodian Joe Day, the Lilywhites could easily have been 4-0 up.
Pochettino’s men took their foot off the gas a bit in the second-half, with a North London Derby on Saturday looming large but they remained in control and ideally should have scored a third when Llorente set up Lamela for a one-on-one after a fast break but the Argentine’s shot was well-saved by Day.
Substitute Christian Eriksen would flash a first-time shot from a Danny Rose cross just wide as the match progressed but despite enjoying plenty of chances, Spurs were unable to beat Day again, with Llorente in particular, guilty of a missing a few gilt-edged chances.
Spurs next take on Rochdale AFC in the fifth Round on February 18 but will now shift their focus to the small matter of their clash with crosstown rivals Arsenal on Saturday as the race for the top-four in the Premier League heats up.
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