Unimpressive Spurs make Harry Redknapp happy

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HARRY REDKNAPP was made to endure a nervy night on his return to the Tottenham dugout as his team edged into the fifth round of the FA Cup 1-0 thanks to Rafael van der Vaart’s first-half strike against Watford.

Redknapp, back on the touchline after spending his week contesting two charges of tax evasion, made the journey across London from Southwark Crown Court and watched his team put on a poor display in the first half, until Van der Vaart put the Barclays Premier League title chasers ahead with a 30-yard drive just before the break.

Npower championship side Watford, 35 places below Spurs in the league ladder, rattled the Tottenham woodwork on two occasions and Carlo Cudicini performed well to keep out lively striker Marvin Sordell in the second half as Spurs were made to work hard for their place in the next round.

Redknapp would have wanted an easier test on his return to action, but his team are safely through after avoiding an upset that looked likely for large parts of the game. The Hornets almost pulled level with ten minutes left when Cudicini saved Nyron Nosworthy’s shot with his feet. The ball bounced out to Sordell but Kyle Walker flung himself at the ball for a crucial block.

Watford threw everything at the visitors in the final ten minutes but to no avail.

Elsewhere, headers from Denis Stracqualursi and Marouane Fellaini sent Everton into the fifth round as they came from behind to beat Fulham 2-1 last night.

Danny Murphy gave Fulham a controversial early lead from the penalty spot at Goodison Park but hard-working Everton were rewarded for determined fightback. Landon Donovan was twice the provider as Stracqualursi, with his first goal for the club, equalised before half-time and Fellaini settled the contest 17 minutes from time.