Tottenham will face Rochdale in the FA Cup round of 16 after beating pesky Newport County.
First-half goals from Erik Lamela and an own goal by Dan Butler made sure that Tottenham Hotspur comfortably progressed through to the fifth round of the FA Cup over plucky League Two opponents Newport County in their replay at Wembley stadium on Wednesday night.
Both teams made a series of changes to their line ups from last weekend's league fixtures. Unsurprisingly, Mauricio Pochettino made 10 changes; only Son Heung-min retaining his place.
With a large squad the Argentine coach has the luxury to rotate and keep players fresh especially with the visit of north London rivals Arsenal on Saturday. Newport manager Mike Flynn made three changes from the side that lost to 2-0 at Colchester United with David Pipe, Ben White and Scott Bennett all starting.
The game kicked off in front of a sea of empty seats, but the Welsh traveling contingent - in excess of 7,000 - were making themselves heard to support their heroes as battle commenced. However, it didn't take long for the home side to begin to exert their authority and quality even though Newport adopted a high press. The first real opportunity of the match came for the visitors, when well-traveled striker Padraig Amond headed over a deep cross from six yards out.
The Exiles certainly were not overawed by the occasion or the surroundings and worked hard while Spurs maintained possession without really testing Joe Day in the visitors' goal. Spurs created their first chance in the 20th minute as a deflected Moussa Sissoko cross was driven first time into the side netting by Danny Rose.
Spurs then took the lead in the 25th minute as Sissoko was finding more space on the right flank, the French international's cross was deflected past his own keeper by the on-rushing Dan Butler to give the home side a very fortunate lead.
Pochettino's men were now playing with more intensity and passing the ball crisply which had been a criticism of the Lilywhites in the first tie. Day was being called in to action with increased regularity as Spurs seized control. Son's direct running was causing problems and the Korean's clever pass allowed the lively Lamela to skilfully place a shot past the advancing Day to extend Tottenham's lead in the 34th minute.
Spurs fully deserved their halftime lead, they were in complete control with the League Two side doing their best to break up play and stem the wave of attacks. It appeared it was going to be a long night for the Welsh side especially with the performances of Son and Lamela conducting the play.
The Lilywhites started the second half where they had finished the first, giving the impression that they were a side unwilling to show too much mercy towards their opponents. Newport's inability to retain possession high up the pitch was causing a lot of their issues and their defense was given little respite.
Much of the game was being played in the visitor's half as the Exiles were becoming less of an attacking threat, although their commitment and resilience throughout could never be questioned. Day made another timely block after clever interplay between Llorente and Lamela on the edge of area, but the third goal only seemed a matter of time.
A thoroughly professional display was nearly compounded after more slick play from Tottenham as Lamela, who was dictating the play, subtly crossed for the unmarked Llorente who headed narrowly wide.
Minutes later, a tremendous burst from second half substitute Dele Alli from his own half on to a well weighted pass from Eriksen, resulted in the England international blasting the ball against the bar. In the end, the missed opportunities didn't really matter but they would have given the scoreline a more realistic reflection of Spurs' dominance.
Tottenham Hotspur now can look ahead to Rochdale away in the next round and trying to navigate their difficult playing surface at Spotland. For Newport, the fairy tale is over for another season and back to reality with Forest Green Rovers their league opponents at Rodney Parade on Saturday.