Ryan Mason’s first Tottenham goal sparks comeback as Spurs overcome Nottingham Forest
PUBLISHED: 21:46 24 September 2014 | UPDATED: 07:37 25 September 2014
Ryan Mason came off the bench to score his first Tottenham goal and spark a crucial comeback as the Lilywhites came from behind to beat Championship leaders Nottingham Forest 3-1 in the Capital One Cup.
After a four-game winless run and a home defeat against West Brom on Sunday, Spurs looked like they might be embarrassed again as Jorge Grant put the visitors ahead in front on the hour-mark.
However, Mauricio Pochettino brought Mason off the bench for his first appearance of the season – and his fifth game ever for Spurs – and the 23-year-old levelled with a stunning 30-yard strike.
That goal changed the game and Roberto Soldado struck in the 83rd minute before another substitute, Harry Kane, added a third goal in injury-time.
Pochettino changed all 11 players from Sunday’s 1-0 home defeat against Albion, with Michel Vorm making his debut and Federico Fazio and Benjamin Stambouli playing at White Hart Lane for the first time.
It was largely a second-string side but Stuart Pearce also fielded a heavily weakened team, showing his intention to prioritise a Championship promotion push by making nine changes himself.
Tottenham dominated possession in the opening 20 minutes but were unable to create any real chances or test visiting goalkeeper Dorus de Vries.
Indeed it was Forest who went closest to getting the opening goal, with Ben Osborn running from halfway and beating Stambouli and Fazio before hitting the underside of the bar from 20 yards, while Grant’s curling follow-up was saved by Vorm.
Andros Townsend appeared to get away with a handball in the box as the ball dropped out of the air and hit his arm – and Fazio then allowed Lars Veldwijk to latch onto a routine long ball down the middle, forcing the Argentine to make a last-ditch sliding tackle.
Townsend finally gave De Vries something to worry about, taking the ball from Paulinho in a central position and sending a 30-yard effort whistling just past the left post – and Fazio then hit a rising 35-yard thunderbolt overt the bar.
Townsend then took the ball from Nabil Bentaleb and cut inside to the edge of the box, finding some space as a defender slipped, but he dragged his low 20-yard shot wide.
Having managed a total of one shot on target throughout their previous two matches against Partizan Belgrade and West Brom, Spurs had failed to test the opposing goalkeeper again in the first half.
They continued to be frustrated after the interval but went close 10 minutes after the restart, with left-back Ben Davies whipping in a cross and Paulinho flicking it inches wide of the far post.
However, it was Forest who took the lead in the 60th minute. Danny Fox’s long-range effort was blocked but fell for Veldwijk on the left. Fazio was slow to get across and close him down, and the visiting forward delivered a low cross for Grant, who finished from eight yards.
Paulinho sent a header wide but was then replaced as Pochettino made a double change, swapping the Brazilian for Kane and replacing Stambouli with Mason.
Both substitutes quickly made an impact, with Kane leaping to meet Davies’ cross and heading at De Vries just before Mason equalised in the 72nd minute, picking the ball up 30 yards out and hammering a dipping strike into the top left corner.
Suddenly Spurs had the wind in their sails with a previously frustrated crowd roaring them on and, when Kane won a free kick, Townsend saw his 25-yard effort crash against the crossbar.
Townsend tried his luck again soon afterwards, unleashing a low 20-yard effort - and Soldado was on hand around the penalty spot to divert it past De Vries and give Tottenham an 83rd-minute lead.
Pochettino introduced Erk Lamela and he set up the third goal in injury-time, cutting inside from the right and playing a reverse pass to Kane, who finished into the bottom far corner.
Lamela nearly added another goal himself before the final whistle, breaking through the centre of the pitch and firing just wide.
Tottenham: Vorm, Naughton, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies, Stambouli (Mason 64), Bentaleb, Townsend, Paulinho (Kane 64), Lennon, Soldado (Lamela 85)