Dele Alli sends Tottenham Hotspur through to the fourth round of the English Football League Cup after eventually breaking down Barnsley
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
English Football League Cup third round: Tottenham Hotspur 1 Barnsley 0
Dele Alli scored the only goal of the game, as Tottenham Hotspur edged past a stubborn Barnsley side in the third round of the English Football League Cup at Wembley Stadium this evening.
In front of a disappointing crowd of 23,926, Spurs struggled to breakdown the Tykes, but eventually did with 25 minutes remaining.
The major positive for Mauricio Pochettino was the chance to give minutes to a number of players working their way back to full fitness.
And although it was far from vintage, Tottenham secured a first domestic win of the season at their new temporary home, which is sure to help going forward.
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Pochettino made six changes to the team which could only draw 0-0 with Swansea City in the Premier League at Wembley on Saturday.
Jan Vertonghen remained in the side and skippered Spurs with Kieran Trippier, Moussa Sissoko, Heung-min Son and Alli also retaining their starting XI spot.
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Fernando Llorente and Juan Foyth were handed debuts by Pochettino, while Michel Vorm, Kyle Walker-Peters, Mousa Dembele and Harry Winks were included from the off.
Tottenham made a bright start with Argentine youngster Foyth heading wide inside the first two minutes.
Alli quickly stamped his mark on the game by curling over, but both sides failed to create much in the opener quarter of an hour.
Winks, making his first start of the season, was his usual busy self and crossed in for Alli in the 21st minute, but the England man could only head wide.
Spurs began to up the ante slightly and soon after Dembele saw an effort deflect into Llorente’s path, but he was unable to get a shot off inside the area.
The Spaniard should have scored with 26 minutes on the clock when he met a corner from Trippier, though headed off target from six-yards.
It was a guilt-edged opportunity and seemed to boost the Tykes, who started to grow in confidence under the arch.
A stunning tackle by captain Vertonghen prevented Leicester City loanee Harvey Barnes from testing Vorm just past the half an hour mark, as Tottenham seemed to switch off a tough.
With the hosts frustration growing, they were fortunate they didn’t find themselves behind in the 41st minute.
A Ryan Hedges corner found the unmarked Liam Lindsey inside the six-yard area, but he inexplicably headed wide when it looked easier to score.
You sensed it was a massive chance for the Championship club and Sissoko tried to punish them on the stroke of half time, but smashed over and with that a disappointing first 45 drew to a close.
Barnsley began the second period brilliantly and should have taken the lead when Ike Ugbo got through on goal, but Vorm superbly denied him.
It was a major let-off for Spurs and seemed to wake them into action, as Son got on the ball and forced a corner.
Tottenham were unable to do anything from the set-piece, but Alli’s influence started to grow and he saw an effort deflected wide with 52 played.
Tykers goalkeeper Adam Davies was then called into action just after the hour mark when Trippier hung a cross to the back post and Winks controlled, but saw his shot smothered by the Barnsley custodian.
Another fine cross by the Spurs right-back minutes later caused the Championship outfit more problems, but no Tottenham player could get a telling touch.
Frustration was beginning to grow at Wembley and then, with 65 minutes played, the hosts made the breakthrough.
Barnsley failed to clear the ball well enough and Sissoko headed into Trippier’s path and he brilliantly beat his marker before cutting back towards the six-yard area where Alli was on hand to fire home.
Llorente was replaced soon after with George-Kevin Nkoudou coming on and given a chance to impress.
The substitute was immediately thrust into the action, as he cut inside his marker and tested Davies with a powerful shot.
It was an encouraging sign for a player who so far has flattered to deceive following a 2016 summer move to Spurs.
Straight after that chance and Vertonghen got forward well and chipped in, but with Son ready to pounce, Lindsay cleared.
Alli then looked to double his tally, but curled wide with quarter of an hour left at Wembley Stadium.
Pochettino made another change minutes later with Eric Dier replacing Dembele for the final 11 minutes.
Spurs, despite recent poor domestic results at the national arena this season, continued to look for a second goal and Son tested Davies in the 83rd minute, but failed to beat the Barnsley custodian.
If anyone was going to score, it was going to be the South Korean and he went close again two minutes later, yet was again denied by the Tykes goalkeeper.
Pochettino killed some more seconds on the stroke of full time, as he introduced Tashan Oakley-Boothe for his debut.
There was almost no time for the youngster to impress, as the game soon came to an end to send Spurs through to the fourth round.
It was far from vintage for Tottenham, but with Liverpool exiting the competition, they will fancy their chances of progressing further in the English Football League Cup.
Alli also netted his third goal of the campaign, so for all the talk about his poor form, he still knows where the goal is.
Spurs can expect a much tougher test on Saturday away to local rivals West Ham for a 12.30pm start in the Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur: Vorm; Trippier, Foyth, Vertonghen, Walker-Peters; Dembele (Dier 79), Winks; Sissoko, Alli (Oakley-Boothe 90), Son; Llorente (Nkoudou 67).
Unused substitutes: Gazzaniga, Alderweireld, Eriksen, Kane.
Barnsley: Davies; McCarthy, MacDonald, Lindsay, Fryers; Potts (Moncur 71), Bird, Williams (Bradshaw 79); Barnes (Hammill 71), Ugbo, Hedges.
Unused substitutes: Townsend, Jackson, Pearson, Thiam.