It was deja vu at half-time as, for the second time in a month, Tottenham found themselves trailing 1-0 away against lower-league opposition in the FA Cup. Spurs had battled back to grab a 1-1 draw against League One side Newport County on the previous occasion, and this time they seemed to have gone one better against League One’s basement boys Rochdale.
When Lucas Moura’s leveller was followed by an 88th-minute Harry Kane penalty, the north Londoners appeared to have avoided a replay. But there was to be a final twist as Steve Davies rammed home an injury-time equaliser.
Lucas was Spurs’ shining light on his full debut, showing off his pace and footwork while proving he also has an end product. The early signs are he will be a real asset.
Meanwhile, Tottenham are still in the competition and will back themselves to finish the job at Wembley, just as they did against Newport. A number of their squad men look like they could do with the additional outing anyway.
On paper, Tottenham have real strength in depth now, with senior internationals being omitted from the 18-man squad in each match. But in practice, a number of players look rusty and are not really exerting pressure on Mauricio Pochettino’s first-choice men. Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Harry Winks were all well below their best after recently returning from injury, and the cavalry was required again against a lower-league side.
Manager rating out of 10
8 — Pochettino could have picked a stronger lineup but it was understandable that he rested his top men and gave game time to fringe players who need it more. When his side fell behind he switched from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 — a shift that produced an equaliser — and all three of his substitutes played a part in Spurs’ second goal. He was let down by poor performances and individual mistakes.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Michel Vorm, 6 — Beaten twice but cannot really be blamed for either goal, and he stuck to Pochettino’s principles in passing the ball out, even when things were not going to plan in front of him.
DF Kieran Trippier, 7 — Defended a few crosses well at the back post and put in a couple of dangerous deliveries of his own, from open play and dead-ball situations.
DF Juan Foyth, 6 — A mixed display. The 20-year-old was confident on the ball again, but he sometimes over-complicated things and he lacks a physical presence.
DF Toby Alderweireld, 4 — Looked uncharacteristically unreliable and vulnerable, losing his footing a couple of times and gifting the hosts their equaliser by flicking a header to the far post. At the other end of the pitch, the Belgian’s over-elaborate flick gave Rochdale a chance to break, and he had to take a yellow card to halt them. No wonder he wasn’t taken to Turin.
DF Danny Rose, 5 — Took 70 minutes to really get into the game. The left-back helped Spurs to win their penalty, but before that he was quiet, some of his passing was careless and a free kick was wastefully underhit.
MF Victor Wanyama, 4 — Like at Newport, the Kenyan was outmuscled at times and his passing was inconsistent. He was also very slow to spot the run behind him when Rochdale took the lead, and he missed a good chance at point-blank range.
MF Harry Winks, 4 — Struggled to exert his usual influence in the first half and lost the ball when Rochdale scored their opener. Clearly keen to make amends, he burst forward and sent a shot at Josh Lillis, but he was withdrawn around the hour mark.
MF Moussa Sissoko, 6 — Put in a committed performance, offering plenty of energy, effort and movement. He should have attacked Trippier’s cross as it rolled enticingly across the goalmouth, but he set up Lucas’ equaliser with a neat through ball.
MF Lucas Moura, 8 — Impressed in his first start. The Brazilian made some exciting runs through midfield, won a number of headers and scored Tottenham’s first goal, starting and finishing the move.
MF Son Heung-Min, 4 — Missed two decent chances in the first half, especially when he was one on one with the goalkeeper, and then had a very quiet second half.
FW Fernando Llorente, 5 — Led the line fairly well in the first half, setting up both of Son’s chances, but missed a good opportunity of his own and offered little after the break.
MF Erik Lamela, 7 — Replaced Winks and gave Spurs the link man they had been missing in the No. 10 role. His exchange of passes with Rose helped to win the penalty.
MF Dele Alli, NR — Came on in place of Lucas and reacted first to a loose ball to win the spot kick.
FW Harry Kane, NR — Entered the fray with 15 minutes left and coolly scored from the spot.
Ben is ESPN FC’s Tottenham blogger. Follow on Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs.