CARLISLE United’s run in the Capital One Cup came to an abrupt end as Andre Villas-Boas’ Tottenham Hotspur proved too strong last night.
Goals from Jan Vertonghen, Andros Townsend and Gylfi Sigurdsson ensured Spurs’ safe passage into the fourth round with a 3-0 victory over the npower League One side at Brunton Park.
Spurs took the lead in the 37th minute when Vertonghen headed in Sigurdsson’s set-piece delivery, the Belgian registering his first goal for the club.
Townsend then doubled the advantage with a decent solo effort eight minutes after the restart before Sigurdsson, also opening his account for the visitors, wrapped the scoring up by nodding in Kyle Walker’s cross a minute from time.
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas would have been relieved to avoid a potential banana skin at Brunton Park as his team – showing eight changes from the 2-1 Barclays Premier League win over QPR on Sunday – dealt with what Carlisle were able to throw at them and did enough at the other end to complete the job.
The debate over Spurs’ goalkeepers will continue after Villas-Boas’ selection last night, with the Portuguese opting to play Carlo Cudicini and name Heurelho Gomes as his back-up on the bench, with Hugo Lloris not featuring in the squad.
Overall, though, it seems the pressure on the manager is continuing to ease, with this result meaning that ahead of Saturday’s league match at Manchester United, the London outfit are undefeated in the six games since their loss to Newcastle on the opening day of the top-flight campaign, and have won three of their last four in all competitions.
Carlisle went into the contest with some form themselves having put together a five-match unbeaten run, and showed early on that they were not afraid to run at their opponents.
Tottenham were the ones carving out the real opportunities, though, with Cumbrians’ goalkeeper Mark Gillespie tipping over an effort from Yago Falque in the ninth minute.
Spurs forward Clint Dempsey should have done better in the 25th minute when he nodded over from Townsend’s cross, and soon after the United States international saw an attempt cleared off the line by defender Danny Livesey.
The hosts continued to press when they could, but it was Tottenham who made the breakthrough eight minutes before the interval as Vertonghen nodded in Sigurdsson’s free-kick from the right.
Carlisle looked for a swift response and Danny Cadamarteri’s strike was deflected over via the head of Michael Dawson, who was appearing for the first time under Villas-Boas.
A nice move then saw Carlisle’s Kallum Higginbotham teed up, but his horribly skewed finish summed up the home side’s lack of cutting edge. It was apparent once more shortly after the break as Cadamarteri dragged an effort wide before Townsend demonstrated some potency by drilling in Spurs’ second, shooting low past Gillespie.
Gillespie then did well to keep out a Ryan Mason header before pulling off a further double save, pushing a header from the same player against the bar and then denying Sigurdsson.
Spurs added a third in the 89th minute as Sigurdsson headed in.
CARLISLE: Gillespie, Simek, Livesey, Murphy, Chantler, McGovern (Symington 61), Thirlwell (Noble 61), Berrett, Robson, Higginbotham (Beck 60), Cadamarteri. Subs (not used): Collin, Madden, Edwards, Potts.
TOTTENHAM: Cudicini, Smith, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen (Walker 65), Townsend, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Falque, Dempsey (Obika 75), Mason (Carroll 70). Subs (not used): Gomes, Lennon, Defoe, Sandro.
Goals: Vertonghen 37, Townsend 53, Sigurdsson 89.
Attendance: 12, 625 Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).