Marine 0-5 Tottenham Hotspur
Ok, so there was no cup shock. And let’s be honest there was never really likely to be one either. But if ever there was a defiant message to those doubters who treat the Emirates FA Cup with compete contempt, this was it.
There 161 places separating Northern Premier League Division One North West outfit Marine and Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur. Nevertheless, a touching togetherness and ultimate respect, both for the competition and the opposition were evident in spades.
Unable to allow supporters to attend, Marine was denied an opportunity to fill their 3,185-capacity Rossett Park stadium. Sales of a ‘virtual match ticket’ at £10-a-pop hoped to attract around 600 punters. Incredibly, and with the backing of a sizable contingent from North London, more than 21,000 were snapped up. A gesture which will undoubtedly keep the wolf from the non-leaguers door for some time to come.
Tottenham had approached the game with respect and humility. Sure, Mourinho made a string of changes but fielded a side containing nine international and named a bench largely capable of competing at the top end of the Premier League.
Nevertheless, despite racing into a four-goal advantage before the interval, Spurs were almost handed a bloody nose when Neil Kengni thumped the bar from thirty-yards during a goalless opening 24 minutes.
But after Carlos Vinicius had netted the first of hat-trick, Tottenham’s progress was secured. Lucas Moura joined his fellow Brazilian on the scoresheet before the break.
Another cup statistic followed the restart when Alfie Devine – at 16 years, 163 days old – became the youngest goalscorer in Tottenham’s history as the rout was completed with the minimum of fuss.
Marine had won seven cup ties to reach this stage of the competition – their place in local folklore secured. Mourinho might not have seen too much similar to this during his illustrious career in coaching. Nevertheless, he’d taken it all in: “I think it was weird that we were ready for everything, even on the bench, the bench that we had, we were ready for everything,” the Spurs chief explained.
We didn’t want to be surprised. We were ready for difficulties. We were ready for absolutely anything because we wanted to win the game.
“To be 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0, for us, in fact, it doesn’t make a difference. The difference for us is only to always have the game under control. They hit the bar yes but what could we do to stop it. We played always in their half.
“They didn’t create any danger. They had that long-distance shot that I thought that Joe thought was not even going close to his goal so was an isolated situation.
“I have to admit that if they score 1-0 it would bring even more emotion to the game but it’s ok.”
Tottenham Hotspur return to Premier League action on Wednesday, January 13 when they face Aston Villa at Villa Park (8pm).
Marine: Passant, Solomon-Davies, Joyce, Devine (Strickland 75′), Miley, Raven (Shaw 81′), Kengni, Hmami (Doyle 67′), Cummins (Wignall 75′), Hughes (Howard 46′), Barrigan Subs not used: Mendes, Campbell, Lynch
Tottenham Hotspur: Hart, Doherty, Alderweireld (Tanganga 46′), Rodon, Davies (Capt) (Reguilon 71′), Sissoko (Devine 46′), White, Gedson, Dele (Bale 65′), Lucas (Clarke 65′), Vinicius Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Sachez, Ndombele, Son
Referee: Michael Oliver