Spurs were too strong for Bolton, despite a heroic showing from visiting keeper Adam Bogdan
We all know why we're here tonight, why Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers are required to replay their original FA Cup quarter-final, abandoned ten days ago. When Fabrice Muamba collapsed during that match just before half time, having suffered a cardiac arrest, events appeared to be unfolding in the most tragic manner imaginable. But now, with the player making a slow yet remarkable recovery in hospital, there's genuine hope that this distressing story will have what at one point seemed a scarcely believable happy denouement. Let's count no chickens, of course - you may wish to Pray4Muamba, or perform your secular liturgy of choice - but optimism abounds. Which gives us licence to concentrate on the football...
And this is a big match for Tottenham, for sure, with their season in danger of falling to pieces like wet cake. Just a few weeks ago, they looked to be a shoo-in for third place in the Premier League. But they haven't won any of their last five league games, allowing Arsenal to saunter past them in the table. Chelsea and Newcastle, meanwhile, are coming up on the rail. Could they miss out on the Champions League altogether? The FA Cup, suddenly, looks more important than ever. And the pressure's certainly on Harry Redknapp, who for all his good notices as Spurs boss, may leave for England having won the square root of nowt, placing him below the likes of Juande Ramos and George Graham on the White Hart Lane Achievement-o-meter, no better than Christian Gross or Ossie Ardiles. Or, indeed, Juande Ramos or George Graham. Oh Harry!
Bolton, meanwhile, will be looking to Do It For Fabrice. Easier said than done, of course, although they managed to see off Blackburn Rovers easily enough at the weekend, in a game played in a very unique atmosphere. It'll be interesting to gauge tonight's mood at White Hart Lane, where both sets of fans acted in exemplary fashion on that chilling Saturday evening ten days back. Here's hoping for a cracking cup tie.
Kick off: We were scheduled for a 7.30pm start, but there's extreme traffic in north London tonight, so the match won't get going until 7.45pm.
Tottenham Hotspur: Cudicini, Walker, King, Nelsen, Assou-Ekotto, Modric, Livermore, Parker, Bale, Adebayor, Van der Vaart. Subs: Friedel, Kaboul, Saha, Giovani, Defoe, Kranjcar, Rose.
Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Alonso, Boyata, Knight, Ricketts, Reo-Coker, Mark Davies, Pratley, Eagles, Klasnic, Miyaichi.
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Sanli, Petrov, Kevin Davies, Ngog, Ream, Vela.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
Bolton manager Owen Coyle, incidentally, has written in tonight's programme, thanking everyone for their support during a hellish week and a bit:
On behalf of everyone at Bolton Wanderers and our supporters, I would like to offer our sincere thanks to Tottenham Hotspur - the staff, players, management and fans - for their support for Fabrice and his family at this difficult time.
We have been truly humbled by the care and concern shown by you all for Fabrice.
Harry has been in touch regularly to check on Fabrice's progress and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has been in regular contact with our chairman Phil Gartside.
The family have appreciated the many messages of support from Spurs fans.
Tottenham's club doctor Shabaaz Mughal, the medical team and paramedics in attendance at White Hart Lane last Saturday played a vital part in giving Fabrice the best possible chance after his cardiac arrest and I would like to thank them all.
I would like to ask you to keep Fabrice and his family in your thoughts and prayers as he continues his recovery.
He has a long road ahead of him and the messages of support have been a great source of strength and energy for everybody. Thank you all.
The players are also warming up wearing t-shirts bearing the legend THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT FOR FABRICE. There's going to be a minute's worth of applause before kick off, too. All lovely stuff. It's refreshing to see the world of football pulling together as one. What are the odds of this match degenerating into a slapstick 21-man 1980s-at-Ibrox-style brawl, do you think?
The teams are out! Tottenham Hotspur decked out in their famous lilywhite, Bolton resplendent in awayday black. A minute's applause to wish Muamba well, and to thank the medical staff who raced to his aid so heroically ten days ago. Dr Andrew Deaner, who leapt over the advertising hoardings to assist the stricken player, is pictured in the stands, where he's been rewarded with a VIP seat.
And we're off! After the understandably thoughtful and respectful pre-match exchanges, we're underway. "We are Tottenham," bellow the home support with a lusty rasp, suggesting the niceties are over now. And Bolton are on the attack immediately, Reo-Coker gaining a yard down the right and whipping a dangerous cross through the Spurs six-yard area, Pratley not far from connecting.
3 min: A strong start by Bolton, that, and Spurs are quick to respond, the ball being shuttled left to right, where Walker cuts inside from the wing and attempts to feed the ball into the centre for Adebayor and Van der Vaart. His low cross is blocked, but Bolton will do well to watch this young man, who caused all sorts of bother when romping inside from the right against Chelsea at the weekend.
5 min: Modric slides down the left wing and then whips a pass into the centre for Bale. Thirty yards from goal and in the centre of the park, Bale takes one touch back to the left, then unleashes a low swerving drive goalwards. It's straight down Bogdan's throat, though the keeper coughs it up like a furball and is forced to smother it at the second attempt.
7 min: Adebayor is sprung free down the inside-right channel, Bolton undoing themselves with a loose backpass. Ricketts manages to crowd the striker out of shooting, but the ball breaks to Livermore, who should score from six yards, albeit from a testing angle on the right. But his effort is blocked. The ball falls to Modric, on the edge of the area. His shot is heading for the net, but Bogdan manages to get a hand to the ball and sends it over the bar. Corner. Which is wasted.
10 min: Bolton are under the cosh here. More pressure leads to another Spurs corner, this time down the right. Ricketts throws himself in front of Adebayor, who is leaping in front of goal. Adebayor can't get any purchase on his header, and the ball's cleared. Ricketts gets to his feet very gingerly, but he'll be OK.
12 min: Bolton can't quite get their passing game together. Mark Davies, Klasnic and Miyaichi attempt to ping some pretty triangles down the middle, but the move breaks down quickly enough. Spurs are soon bombing back upfield, again down the right, this time through Walker, whose lung-bursting run wins a corner. Why do I bother mentioning corners? I don't know. You know how it pans out.
13 min: Hoick! It's another long-distance shot by Spurs. It's Van der Vaart taking a skelp now; it's straight at Bogdan, who claims without fuss.
16 min: Bale slides a pass down the inside-left channel for Adebayor, who toe-pokes a clever effort towards the near post. Bogdan does well to get down in double-quick time to palm the ball out. From the corner, the ball is shuttled out to Modric, 30 yards out. His effort is 30 yards high, and 30 yards wide left, which is mathematically and aesthetically pleasing if nothing else.
18 min: Somebody's switched the crowd off at White Hart Lane. Can somebody do some shouting, please? We could do with that 21-man brawl, actually. Spurs are enjoying plenty of the ball, but this is nevertheless a bit flat.
19 min: A corner to Bolton down the left. It comes to nothing. Spurs look to clear upfield through Assou-Ekotto, but Bolton win the ball back, Pratley swinging the ball into the box, forcing Walker to head behind for another corner, this time on the right. Again, nothing much comes of it. But at least Bolton spend a couple of minutes down the right end.
20 min: Assou-Ekotto is much more convincing up the other end of the pitch. Here he sashays in from the left, sliding the ball in to Adebayor, who shoots straight at Bogdan. The ball breaks out right to Bale, who hammers a low shot towards the right-hand post. Bogdan - who is, in a good way, all over the shop - springs up to parry, and then gather the rebound. Bolton can't afford to keep giving up shooting opportunities. Someone's going to slot one home soon enough.
24 min: A free kick for Spurs down the right, as Van der Vaart is upended near the white line. It's a dangerous place to whip a free kick into the area from, but Van der Vaart overcooks the delivery, looking for Bale at the far post but blootering the thing straight out of play.
25 min: Bale drops a shoulder, cutting in from the left, and looks to power down the middle of the park. He's chased infield by Pratley, who takes his legs from under him with a wild lunge. A no-brainer foul, and a no-brainer booking for the Bolton midfielder. And karma gives Pratley a damn good kicking for his trouble: he'll not be continuing, having injured himself making the tackle.
28 min: The physios are on, as is the stretcher. A splint is put onto Pratley's leg. There's an eerie silence around White Hart Lane; while this is nothing like the appalling scenes involving Muamba ten days ago, this sort of stoppage has obviously - understandably - stirred up a few unwelcome memories in the anxious crowd. Pratley will be fine, of course, and is shown the yellow as he departs. Early signs suggest it's not a break, but a wound to the knee. The former New York Red Bulls man Tim Ream comes on by way of replacement.
31 min: Bale tries to spring Van der Vaart clear with a hopeless Hollywood diagonal ball, right to left. It flies into the stands. You can hear it fizz through the air, so quiet is the crowd. This match could do with a goal. Or a preposterous 21-man fistfight. Excitement, please!
33 min: A free kick for Bolton, just inside the Spurs half, on the left. Eagles swings it into the area. Cudicini plucks the ball out of the sky, with Boyata offering token resistance.
34 min: Bale, skedaddling down the right, pulls a low ball back into the centre for the onrushing Modric. Mark Davies slides in ahead of the Spurs midfielder. Modric goes down, and claims for a penalty in a half-arsed fashion, but even he doesn't really believe in the claim. We move on.
36 min: Adebayor shakes and shimmies down the left. He rolls the ball to Bale, on the edge of the D. Bale shifts the ball to the left, then belts the thing into the side netting. A half-decent attempt, but you expect better. This is a poor game.
37 min: Lovely, lovely football by Spurs. Adebayor skates inside from the left, pulling Bolton infield. The ball's laid off, and immediately slid back out to the wing where Bale is in the space created by his striking team-mate. He romps down the wing, and slides a low ball across the face of the Bolton goal, eight yards out. Adebayor, who followed up play, dummies to let Parker in. He's looking straight at Bogdan, with plenty of goal either side to aim for - and hits an idiotic shot straight at the keeper. Well done, England captain! Bolton hack out for a corner, from which there's an almighty scramble, Adebayor unable to dig the ball out from between his legs by the right-hand post. Once again, Bolton clear. The nearest Spurs have come to scoring; it would have been a deserved lead.
40 min: Bale takes a rare old hammer at the ball from 25 yards. It's a cracking effort, flying just wide left of the Bolton goal. Spurs, sleepy for so long, are beginning to turn up the heat again.
43 min: Adebayor is here, there and everywhere this evening. He zips down the inside-left channel before sliding a ball foward to Parker, who is denied from breaking clear into the area (albeit along the byline) by a sliding tackle from Boyata. The corner is a nonsense.
45 min: Bale bombs down the left, dawdles around awhile, then slides a pass into the area for Adebayor. The striker is clearly checked by Boyata, who ushers the ball out of play for a goal kick, but forwards never get obstruction decisions in the area, do they.
HALF TIME: Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Bolton Wanderers. Well, that wasn't very good.
Spectacular atomic-weapon chic for kids, from the year Bolton last won the cup.
And we're offski again! No changes. Let's hope this half is a bit better in terms of entertainment, though Spurs would expect to score at some point should things trundle along as before. Meanwhile, here's a video of Bolton fans giving their pre-match thoughts on Fabrice Muamba. Enjoy, enjoy.
47 min: Spurs are on the front foot immediately. First Walker flits down the right and sends a cross into the centre. He claims handball against Mark Davies, who blocks his pass, but nothing's doing. Spurs are quickly coming straight back at Bolton, Modric dancing around just outside the Bolton D. He's upended by Knight. That'll be a free kick in a very dangerous position, just to the left of the D.
48 min: From the free kick, Van der Vaart loudly twangs the top of the crossbar; B♭.
49 min: Modric is sent zooming into the area down the inside-right channel. He cocks his leg to shoot, and then gets the yips, unable to follow through. Alonso is on hand to hoof clear. Very strange.
52 min: Ssshhh. The atmosphere at English football matches these days. This is an FA Cup quarter final!
55 min: Bolton are offering absolutely nothing up front. This is an incredibly poor show from them. Miyaichi tries to break down the right, but there's nobody following up to help him down the flank, or show for him in the middle.
56 min: From a tight position on the right, Livermore whips a delicious ball to the near post, where Adebayor lurks. Alonso hacks behind for a corner. Bogdan plucks the resulting set piece from the sky. "By my reckoning Spurs have scored two of their previous 90-odd shots on goal," writes Alistair Hann. "This must surely be some kind of record. Anyway, can't stop to chat. I'm off to repeatedly punch the wall." You don't watch much Liverpool, do you?
58 min: Of course, Bolton are under no obligation to come out tap dancing all around the pitch. They'll be looking to hold their hosts, and take them back up north for a replay, with the intention of doing a number on them in the replay. They're defending staunchly; Spurs need to up their game.
60 min: Spurs up their game. A corner down the left. Nothing comes of it, but they nearly score with a second-phase move. The ball ends up at the feet of Van der Vaart, 30 yards out on the left. He whips a curling cross towards King, ten yards out. King flicks a header towards the top left, and he's this close from finding the corner. The ball settles on the top netting as the crowd oohs and aahs. That was crisp, direct football, and nearly a picturebook header.
62 min: Bolton finally do something up the other end. First Reo-Coker nearly bursts clear down the right; he's hustled out of it by Nelsen on the edge of the Spurs area. Then Eagles has a dig, cutting inside from the right; the ball's deflected out for a corner. From which, nowt.
63 min: Bolton are cut into ribbons by a cute flick down the middle by Adebayor. Van der Vaart finds himself clear in the area with only Bogdan to beat. He looks to guide a first-time effort into the bottom-left corner, but his sidefoot is hacked clear by the boot of Bogdan, who is fast becoming Bolton's man of the match.
65 min: Bale flicks the ball wide left to Assou-Ekotto, who whips a cross into the centre for Adebayor. The striker heads goalwards, but with no power, and straight at Bogdan.
66 min: Coming in from the right, Walker cuts across the front of the ball, shooting from distance, going for the top-right corner. Bogdan has that covered, but he isn't too far away. Bolton can't keep playing like this. It's surely only a matter of time before Spurs - who have had 18 shots on goal - score.
67 min: This is getting silly now. Adebayor gains a yard down the inside-right channel, and slashes a powerful effort towards the top right. Bogdan, who has 16 arms, nine legs, and is operating a magnetic forcefield, defects the ball wide right of goal.
68 min: From the corner on the right, Bogdan finally makes a mistake. He comes for Van der Vaart's cross, flaps and misses, leaving Livermore with a free header, six yards out. Livermore heads over. How are Spurs not leading this?
70 min: And after all that, Bolton so nearly take the lead. A loose ball down the Spurs left, and suddenly Klasnic is breaking clear down the flank! He romps into the area, and should score, but hits his shot straight at Cudicini, at the near post. What a waste.
71 min: Defoe comes on for Parker. Spurs have already been going for this... but they're going for this!
72 min: Within the space of 30 seconds, Reo-Coker sends two troublesome crosses fizzing through the Spurs box from the right. There's nobody in black waiting to take advantage, but the home side want to watch out for a sucker punch.
73 min: Back up the other end, Bogdan makes two saves in a minute. First from Defoe, shooting low towards the left-hand post, then from Bale, who heads the resulting corner straight at the keeper. Tha ball's tipped over for another set piece.
74 min: IT HAD TO HAPPEN! Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Bolton Wanderers. After a corner sent in from the right, Bogdan comes out to claim. He runs into a crowd, however, and the ball sails over his head to Nelsen, who heads back across goal and into the top-right corner. The keeper, who has been magnificent, looks distraught. Nelsen disappears under a pile of team-mates.
75 min: Kevin Davies comes on for Boyata.
76 min: AND ANOTHER! Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Bolton Wanderers. Bolton push forward looking for an instant response. But their move immediately breaks down. Defoe is racing into the Bolton half. He draws the only two Bolton defenders nearby, before slipping a clever pass between them and out right to Bale, who cuts inside, reaches the area, opens his body, and slides a shot into the bottom-left corner. All of a sudden, this is over.
78 min: Bale romps down the inside-left channel, and hits a low rasper inches wide of the right-hand post. Bolton are in tatters.
79 min: Another change for Bolton: Tuncay comes on for Miyaichi.
80 min: And two more changes for Spurs: Adebayor and Van der Vaart der-paart, with Saha and Rose coming on in their stead.
82 min: From the right, Tuncay wheechs a low shot straight across the face of the Spurs goal, the ball fizzing just wide left of goal. Klasnic was inches from flicking that home. A goal now for Bolton, and I guess you never know. But they've looked pretty lightweight up front.
83 min: Bolton are stroking it around the middle of the park. It's all very nice, but they're making no advances on the Spurs area, and the home side seem perfectly content to let them faff around like this.
84 min: Within 60 seconds, Defoe is on the end of two low crosses from the right. A better touch when dealing with either, and he'd have had a free shot on goal from ten yards. But there's no control on display, and the chances are spurned. No sense that this will cost the home side, though.
86 min: From the left, Eagles slides the ball inside to Klasnic, who shoots straight at Cudicini from distance. Weak stuff.
87 min: Plenty of space for Rose down the left. The ball he sends ballooning through the area is neither a cross nor a shot. Defoe, free in the centre, has the mild heat.
88 min: Free kick for Bolton, 25 yards out, near the left touchline. Eagles sends a dangerous ball to the far post, where Kevin Davies lurks, but Nelsen, the goalscoring hero, does his job at the back, heading powerfully clear. That was a decent ball into the area, very well defended.
90 min: GOAL! COULD THEY? Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Bolton Wanderers. Klasnic is set free down the right. He whips a ball into the six-yard box. Nelsen can't get a telescopic leg to the ball. Kevin Davies slides in and guides the ball into the right-hand side of the net, Cudicini having chased the ball across goal and left most of it unguarded.
90 min +1: There will be three added minutes. The first is spent in Bolton territory. White Hart Lane is once again enveloped in anxiety, although tonight, thankfully, it's just with common-or-garden football worries. What a difference ten days make.
90 min +2: Bolton can't get up the other end. Spurs have done enough.
90 min +3: GOAL!!! Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Bolton Wanderers. Spurs have done enough alright. Saha cuts inside from the left and launches an unstoppable riser into the top-right corner. Bogdan, who has been the best player on the pitch, could do nothing about that.
FULL TIME: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Bolton Wanderers. There's no time to restart the game. That's it. Spurs are in the semi-finals, where they'll face Chelsea, a team they gave a proper (if futile) runaround last weekend. They'll surely be favourites to get to the final - though only just. They'll certainly need to sharpen up in front of goal - but then again, they won't be facing Adam Bogdan every day.