Vokes back to earn cup replay against Spurs

After the most inept first half, Spurs grabbed the initiative after the break with a Nacer Chadli goal, but Vokes came on just past the hour and on 73 minutes turned in a deflected Michael Kightly cross to level things and earn us a replay.

My first ever FA Cup tie was 54 years ago tomorrow against the then named Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic at home. John Connelly scored as we won 1-0 in front of 24,817. It's worth noting that the attendance at the previous home league game against Newcastle was just 155 more while the next home league game against West Brom attracted just 15,005.

That's how the FA Cup was back then so I had a good laugh when I read a piece on the FA's own web site last week of a poem that had been written to celebrate the unique adventure of the world's oldest domestic cup competition.

Ben Mee was in excellent form in the centre of defence

It suggested that the poem captured the unique adventure that football fans experience with the FA Cup, from the dreams of the underdogs, the edge of seat moments and the heartbreak that comes with another campaign coming to an end.

Poet Lemn Sissay MBE said: "The FA Cup is like no other competition in football. Every year, fans experience a unique adventure, with hopes and dreams of reaching Wembley Stadium for a day of glory."

Meanwhile, two Premier League clubs, two former winners of the competition, one of them this year celebrating the centenary of their only win, kicked the competition right where it hurts by shifting it to a Monday night, by closing part of the stadium and basically dismissing the competition as a virtual non-entity.

I have to say I was staggered to hear Sean Dyche say after the game that there weren't as many there to watch it as they were hoping for. I'm not sure what he expected with this scheduling but I thought an attendance over 9,000 was as much as they might have hoped for.

I was also very disappointed to see that Dyche made reference to the scheduling and claiming it to be a good decision. I'm rarely at odds with the manager but those comments were ill conceived no matter who had pushed the words into his mouth.

And so we played with no one behind one goal and the Spurs fans behind the other. It's a strange one isn't it? Previously the upper tiers have been closed and we've been told it is the manager who prefers the crowd close to the action. This time we shut one of the lower tiers, and the one that we should always be aiming to fill to improve any atmosphere.

Apart from a few chants from the Spurs fans, there was precious little atmosphere in the ground particularly in the first half when the teams might as well not have bothered coming out.

The teams that did come out showed Burnley making just two changes from the team that started at Newcastle. Danny Lafferty came in at left back with Ben Mee moving into a central role with Jason Shackell out injured and the only other change saw Michael Kightly play for David Jones, the latest to fall victim of the bug that forced Dean Marney off at St. James' Park and prevented Sam Vokes from pushing for a place.

I'd like to write expansively about the first half but with neither side having a shot at goal, and I don't just mean on target, there really is nothing to write about. It was dire stuff and most people sat around me looked totally relieved when referee Roger East actually got a decision correct in blowing for half time.

Thankfully, there was some improvement after the break but unfortunately it led to Spurs taking the lead. They brought on Harry Kane at half time and their whole performance lifted as they attacked their own fans.

There was some excitement when they had a corner cleared and then got the first effort on goal of the night. Kane then came close to scoring before Danny Ings, at the other end, forced Michel Vorm into a save which he just grabbed at the second attempt as both Kightly and Ashley Barnes closed in.

But it was Spurs who went in front on 56 minutes when Chadli collected a ball from Ben Davies and shot past Tom Heaton.

At that point I thought Spurs were going to finish off the job. They pushed looking for a second and Heaton saved to deny Kane and then it all seemed to die a death again.

We brought on Vokes just past the hour and things did pick up although it was Marney who almost got on the end of a ball through from George Boyd. He was closed down quickly by the Spurs' defenders just when it looked as if he might score against his old club.

Soon after the equaliser did come. Scott Arfield gained possession and played it to Kightly who got past his man on the right. His pull back deflected nicely off Davies right into the path of Vokes who turned it into the far corner.

Burnley went in search of a winner but chances were at a premium although Ings did force Vorm into another save, but the last chance went Tottenham's way and only a brave block from Mee kept them out.

It was appropriate that Mee played the last part in the game. I was as baffled as most with the announcement of Vokes as man of the match, for me it had to be either of our two central defenders - Michael Keane and Mee.

So a replay at White Hart Lane with no date as yet confirmed.

It certainly hadn't been an exciting game and I would say if either of the two sides deserved to win it then it was Tottenham so we can be happy to get a second bite at trying to get through to face Leicester in the next round when, who knows, it could be played on a Saturday with all four sides of the ground open.

The teams were;

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Danny Lafferty, George Boyd (Ross Wallace 79), Scott Arfield, Dean Marney, Michael Kightly, Danny Ings (Marvin Sordell 79), Ashley Barnes (Sam Vokes 61). Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Luke O'Neill, Steven Reid, Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Tottenham: Michel Vorm, Vlad Chiriches, Federico Fazio, Jan Vertonghen, Ben Davies, Mousa Dembélé, Benjamin Stambouli (Harry Kane ht), Nacer Chadli, Paulinho, Christian Eriksen, Roberto Soldado (Andros Townsend 67). Subs not used: Brad Friedel, Eric Dier, Kyle Naughton, Etienne Capoue, Joshua Onomah.
Yellow Card: Benjamin Stambouli.

Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire).

Attendance: 9,348 (including 2,494 from Tottenham).