‘Over the bar, over the bar,’ they jeered from the Portsmouth end as Harry Kane headed in a first-half free kick. In true football parlance, it’s best to deliver your revenge and your dig early. Because Kane always had the last laugh.
It will take a long time for that penalty miss against France to fade from terrace humour. But it will wither in the coming months. What will remain is the magnitude of Kane’s goal-scoring achievements. The free kick was missed, pushed directly into the defensive wall. However, there will be a denunciation later. Of course there will be.
In the coming months, iconic records will be broken. Kane now sits one goal behind Jimmy Greaves as the all-time Tottenham record goal-scorer. The celebrations for the passing of the greatest English goal-scorer will have to wait for now. Perhaps next week’s north London derby here would be a more appropriate occasion? Then Wayne Rooney’s England record will be surpassed when he next scores for the national team.
Harry Kane’s superb second-half curling effort was the difference as Spurs downed Portsmouth in the FA Cup
Antonio Conte’s men avoided an FA Cup third round upset with a determined display against Pompey at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Since returning from Qatar and his personal disappointment, Kane has four goals in four games. ‘I’m not impressed at all,’ said Cristian Stellini, Antonio Conte’s assistant and he meant it as the highest compliment, that you don’t expect anything from Kane.
But the puzzle remains. If Kane breaks Rooney’s record against France, could he be at the peak of his career and a World Cup winner? All idle speculation in a sense. Right now, the League Cup, the Intertoto Cup, any cup will do for Kane and Spurs.
A measure of Tottenham’s mediocrity is that League One rivals Portsmouth have won one major trophy more recently than Spurs. ‘When Sol went up/To lift the FA Cup/We were there!’ chanted the 8,500 traveling fans of their 2008 victory, a double jibe given Sol Campbell’s betrayal here.
The League One outfit put in a valiant display in front of their 9,000 traveling fans but their FA Cup journey comes to an end
Portsmouth’s Reeco Hackett-Fairchild had the best effort of the first-half with an acrobatic strike that had to elude Fraser Forster
Forster, Tanganga, D Sánchez, Davies, Emerson Royal, Sarr, Skipp, R Sessegnon (Spence 77′), Gil (Devine 90+2′), Son Heung-min, Kane
Subs are not used: Lloris, Doherty, Hjobjerg, Romero, Lenglet, White, Mundle
The objectives: Kane (50mins)
Bookings: Ben Davies
coaches: Antonio Conte
Griffiths, Swanson, Morrison, Raggett, Ogilvie, Hume, Tunnicliffe (Thompson 75′), Morrell (Jacobs 85′), Hackett-Fairchild (Koroma 75′), Dale (Curtis 87′), Bishop (Pigott 85′)
Subs are not used: Freeman, Oluwayemi, Payce, Dockeril
The objectives: nothing
coaches: Simon Bassey
Referee: Thomas Bramall
Player of the Match: TBA
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
The only response Spurs fans could give was ‘We want Levy out’, the visible discord at the club now seems to be a permanent feature since the last days of Mauricio Pochettino, the coach who seems to be fighting with the owner over who whether the managerial incumbent.
At the moment it is Antonio Conte and amid all the complaints and doubts about his future – he seems to believe he has been hired to drive a Formula One car and given the keys to a Ford Escort – it is not impossible that the This competition or even the Champions League could give a twist to a strangely ambivalent Tottenham season, which started full of promise but has faded away.
The FA Cup will be a seismic milestone for Spurs so, as such, this win could be marked as a baby step on that route.
Spurs players celebrate Harry Kane opening the scoring with his superb match-winning effort
Pompey goalkeeper Josh Griffiths couldn’t do anything about Kane’s curling he just had to watch it fly past him.
Kane’s latest goal for Spurs, his fourth in four, puts him just one goal behind Jimmy Greaves as Tottenham’s all-time leading goal scorer.
Without reducing everything to personalities, the future of Spurs depends on Conte and Kane. The latter has one year left on his deal. His window of opportunity to move to a club that has won major trophies is now.
If he and Conte both decide that Spurs aren’t that kind of club – and it’s been a quarter of a century since their 2008 League win in March – then Levy’s rebuild will continue to cut two of the club’s most famous names. .
For now, there is hope and there will be celebrations soon. How could there not be when a record synonymous with Greaves is about to fall? Kane’s step towards that goal came on 51 minutes, a rare moment of quality that this cup tie would have been unrecognizable, but for the commitment of the visitors and their fans.
Kane pounced on Ryan Tunnicliffe before exchanging passes with Ryan Sessgnon. Just outside the area, he looked up, grabbed, picked his spot and curled his strike into the far right corner. Classic Kane.
‘I think if we had got him, we might have won,’ said Simon Bassey, stand-in Portsmouth manager. ‘We just got done by a world class finish from a world class player.’
Kane’s goal came just after Emerson Royal hit the woodwork with a brilliant header back into the goal from a Son Heung-min cross
Oliver Skipp sent a powerful effort over the crossbar from around eight yards after the ball was played to him in the Pompey box.
Portsmouth’s players and coaching staff went straight to their fans at the full-time whistle to thank them for their vocal support
Tottenham had been pedestrian until then though two minutes before they had their best chance when Heung-Min son burst down the left and delivered a cross that was met by Emerson Royal. His header rounded goalkeeper Joshua Griffiths and looked set for the net but instead bounced off the inside of the post.
For all their efforts, Portsmouth didn’t really have an answer to Kane’s goal, and you wouldn’t expect them to sink to twelfth in League One, their last league win in October, a run replaced by manager Danny Cowley. Bassey said here.
But they are questionable here, their 5-3-2 keeping Tottenham at bay. Bassey’s verdict was ‘monumental’. ‘I’m proud of them,’ he added, before acknowledging that they now need to show that kind of form in League One.
Their best moment came on 13 minutes when Reeco Hackett-Fairchild met a cross with a glorious strike, spinning in mid-air to connect with the ball on the turn and force Fraser Forster to push it wide for the corner . This would have been some goal. No doubt Kane would have sympathized with Hackett-Fairchild’s sense of what might have been.
RE-LIVE ALL OF THIS OPENING ACTION WITH ARTHUR PARASHAR BELOW