Tottenham Hotspur avoided an FA Cup upset by scoring three goals in five minutes to beat Wycombe Wanderers 4-1 on Monday evening.
Gareth Ainsworth’s men made the perfect start by Fred Onyedinma who slotted underneath Joe Hart before Gareth Bale scored on the stroke of half time to bring Spurs level.
It looked like the Championship side was forcing Jose Mourinho’s side into extra-time, until three goals in five minutes, including a double from Tanguy Ndombele and wonderful curler from Harry Winks.
Despite having an unusual eight-day break, Jose Mourinho made ten changes to the side that faced Sheffield United previously, including a return for Gareth Bale, who hasn’t started a game since the Carabao Cup quarter-final tie against Stoke City.
Story of the match
The Welshman should have broken the deadlock within the opening three minutes after Lucas Moura’s delivery was right on the head of Bale, but he couldn’t convert his header on target.
It was a lively start at Adams Park as Wycombe Wanderers, who hasn’t played since January 9 due to a coronavirus outbreak within the club, called Joe Hart into a terrific save.
Admiral Muskwe got across the front post to flick a header towards goal in which the experienced Spurs goalkeeper tipped behind.
Bale had another great chance, picking up space on the edge of the box before unleashing a left-footed shot that flashed narrowly wide of the post, but it was an impressive start for the Welshman who looked to impress Mourinho.
Gareth Ainsworth’s side started to influence their physical presence on Spurs defence, specifically Toby Alderweireld who struggled against Wanderers' strikers. The Belgian defender was easily rolled by Uche Ikpeazu who pulled a ball back for Fred Onyedinma to slot past Hart and gave Wycombe a shock lead.
Spurs tried to look for a quick response, Bale produced some lovely footwork to skip past his man and worked it onto his right foot, but he hit the side netting from a tight angle.
Shortly after, the Welshman picked out Moussa Sissoko in acres of space, whose right-footed effort was deflected on to the crossbar before bouncing back into keeper’s arm.
Moments before half-time, Spurs struck the crossbar once again with Japhet Tanganga failing to keep his header under the woodwork, but Mourinho’s men equalised seconds later.
Bale, who was arguably Spurs’ brightest player in the first half, made a well-timed run into the box to sweep home Moura’s cross.
Spurs dominated the opening exchanges in the second half, and should have taken the lead. Bale produced a burst of acceleration to take him beyond the Wycombe defenders but dragged his shot across the face of goal.
Despite an impressive start to the second half, Mourinho decided to call in the calvary, bringing on Harry Kane in place of Carlos Vinicius. Shortly after, Heung-Min Son and Tanguy Ndombele were introduced, replacing Moura and Erik Lamela as the game entered the final 20 minutes.
Mourinho’s men continued to probe as Kane did brilliantly to take down Davies’ driven cross but couldn’t tap it past Ryan Allsop, who did superbly to smother the England captain.
Moments later, Son had his first chance of the game, who flashed an effort past the far post.
Chances continued to fall for Spurs as Son lifted his shot well over the bar from six yards out after Sissoko’s cut back to South Korean. It started to look like one of those evenings for the Premier League after wasting several chances throughout the evening.
However, with five minutes left on the clock, the quality finally prevailed at Adams Park.
A delightful cross by Ndombele picked out Kane at the back post, who he took one touch but his shot was smartly saved as Wycombe cleared the ball only to Harry Winks. The midfielder curled a left-footed effort over Allsop to give Spurs a vital lead in the FA Cup tie as extra-time loomed.
One minute later, Ndombele all but sealed Spurs progression into FA Cup fifth round after Son drove into the area and teed up the Frenchman, who slotted into the bottom corner.
The 23-year-old added a second to his name in injury-time, as he dragged the ball through his legs and unleashed a shot past Allsop.
The North London side will now travel to Everton in the FA Cup Fifth Round.
Man of the match – Gareth Bale
Although I thought Bale was the man of the match, ultimately, it was a disappointing night for the Welshman. However, he was the brightest player in the first half, creating a handful of chances that he should have converted before bringing Spurs level at half time.
The 31-year-old showed glimpses of quality, breezing past defenders and throwing out a few skills, and completed his first 90 minutes since returning to Spurs. Hopefully, Bale can build on this promising display.