Spurs ease past Colchester

London, January 30

Tottenham Hotspur negotiated a potentially tricky FA Cup trip to lowly Colchester United on Saturday with relative ease, winning their fourth-round tie 4-1 thanks largely to a double from Nacer Chadli.

Colchester, bottom of the third tier League One, had been hoping to rekindle memories of one of the Cup’s most famous upsets when, as a fourth tier club in 1971, they beat mighty Leeds United. Yet after their two centre halves, Alex Wynter and Tom Eastman, collided early in the game and had to be substituted, the underdogs were outclassed by a strong Spurs side in the first half when a fine Chadli shot put them ahead in the 27th minute.

Despite also having their woodwork struck twice,

the spirited home side seemed to be getting a foothold until Eric Dier’s speculative 64th-minute shot took a cruel looping deflection into the net.

Chadli headed home Kieran Trippier’s cross after 79 minutes before Colchester were finally rewarded for their efforts when Gavin Massey’s shot hit the post and the ball rebounded off the shins of Spurs defender Ben Davies and into the goal. Chadli rounded off his fine performance with a cross which enabled Tom Carroll to seal an emphatic triumph seven minutes from time.

On Friday, Under-pressure Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal enjoyed a rare highlight after weeks of gloom when his side comfortably beat Derby County 3-1 to reach the FA Cup fifth round. Goals from Wayne Rooney, Daley Blind and Juan Mata put the 11-time Cup winners through, with second-tier Derby only briefly threatening a shock when George Thorne equalised shortly before the break at a noisy Pride Park.

Dutchman Van Gaal has been under mounting pressure after a recent poor run of form and shortage of entertainment, but United were good value for their fourth-round win. Rooney put the visitors ahead with a superb curling effort after 16 minutes and United, cheered on by 5,000 visiting fans, should have been further in front before Thorne’s expertly-taken equaliser with Derby’s first meaningful attack. Blind restored United’s lead after 65 minutes with a sharp finish before Mata sealed the win late on.