Rochdale manager: We got what we deserved against Spurs

Rochdale manager praises his side after late leveller against Spurs

Rochdale manager Keith Hill said his third-tier side deserved a second chance against Tottenham Hotspur after they provided some FA Cup fifth-round magic with a last-gasp 2-2 draw at a rocking Spotland Stadium yesterday morning (Singapore time).

His League One strugglers were heading for a harsh defeat when Spurs substitute Harry Kane put the visitors ahead with an 89th-minute penalty but Steve Davies struck in the second minute of stoppage time to earn Rochdale a Wembley replay.

Hill's side are in danger of dropping back into the fourth tier, but yesterday they played above their level in an absorbing cup tie on a newly laid pitch.

"It was an amazing game... We took the opposition on and we know how good they are," Hill, who almost lost his flat cap in the delirious scenes following Davies' equaliser, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

"It was sacrificial behaviour at times, and going 1-0 up we almost lit the bomb and knew what would come. Heads could have gone down at 2-1 but they didn't. We got what we felt was a deserved equaliser.

"We'll see the replay as an opportunity, I think the opposition will see it as a headache."

Ian Henderson gave Rochdale the lead but Spurs hit back through Brazilian Lucas Moura, making his first start since joining the club from Paris Saint-Germain, and their England striker Kane before the thrilling climax.

Hill said: "I've never had a moment like that. We've had promotion twice but to do that against a team like Tottenham...

"Wembley is a reward for the players' efforts."

It is a sentiment shared by goalscorer Henderson, who said that his team always felt they had the chance to prolong the tie at England's national stadium and Spurs' temporary home.

He told the BBC: "We can't wait to go to Wembley. We always felt we had an opportunity, Stevo (Steve Davies) is an unbelievable finisher and we deserved that today.

"I've always dreamed of playing at Wembley and now I can say I've played there - if I'm fit and picked!"

Late-goal hero Davies joked that he had no choice but to follow in the footsteps of England's top striker Kane. He told the BBC: "I think I was hoping more than believing.

"We've got a great team spirit, we've just not had the best of seasons.

"I was always taught - have a good first touch. When they bring on the big guns and Harry Kane scores, I've got to follow suit haven't I?"


While Spurs curse having to play another game, their manager Mauricio Pochettino accepted it was the "magic" of the Cup and Kane was generous in his praise of Rochdale - the team he began his league career against while on loan at Leyton Orient seven years ago.

Said Pochettino: "The FA Cup is magic. We have another opportunity at Wembley, the same situation like before.

"I was not surprised. This competition is completely differently. (In the previous round) Newport gave us a fantastic game and they lost their next game in the league 5-0."

It wasn't just the Spurs boss who was swept away in the magic of the world's oldest knockout competition.

Former England and Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer called the fifth-round tie "an incredible game of football".

He told the BBC: "Rochdale deserved to be in front at half-time. Tottenham dominated in the second half and brought the big boys on to change the game and we thought that was it but what credit to Rochdale."

His former England teammate Martin Keown thanked the League One side for ensuring the FA Cup fifth round wasn't dominated by the debate surrounding VAR (video assistant referee).

The former Arsenal defender wrote in his Daily Mail column: "This was threatening to become another weekend in which the FA Cup was cheapened. That was until Rochdale rode to the rescue.

"Those scenes of jubilation as Steve Davies drilled his side to a replay against Tottenham... are what the Cup should be about.

"Not lengthy delays as incidents are reviewed by video technology, wavy lines indicating an offside call or draws made before teams have even played."

While Rochdale stole the show, there was a bright spark for Spurs in the form of January signing Moura.

Describing his performance on the BBC, former Liverpool and England midfielder Danny Murphy said: "He's electric isn't he?

"He can just go up the gears very, very quickly with that good close control."