Spurs on course for League Cup defence

Tottenham moved within touching distance of defending their League Cup title after super-substitute Jamie O'Hara inspired a 4-1 win over Burnley in Tuesday's semi-final first leg.

When Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp sent on O'Hara at half-time, Tottenham were trailing to Martin Paterson's early goal and had been completely outplayed by Owen Coyle's Championship team.

But O'Hara's arrival sparked a remarkable transformation at White Hart Lane. The England Under-21 midfielder's free-kick set up the equaliser for Michael Dawson and he scored Tottenham's second himself before Roman Pavlyuchenko made it three for the Premier League club. O'Hara wasn't finished there and he layed on the fourth goal with another free-kick that Michael Duff headed into his own net.

It was a whirlwind spell that left Burnley bewildered and Spurs on the verge of returning to Wembley on 1 March to defend the trophy they won last year by beating Chelsea. All Tottenham have to do now is finish the job at Turf Moor in the second leg in two weeks and they will be able to look forward to a final showdown against Manchester United or Derby.

Burnley had already claimed three Premier League scalps in the competition this season and those wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Fulham made it clear they would be no pushover. Just two minutes had passed when Clarets winger Chris Eagles burst clear down the right and fired just wide.

Eagles had served notice of his threat and the former Manchester United trainee punished Spurs for failing to heed the warning in the 14th minute. He surged into the penalty area past Gareth Bale and, as Tottenham's defence stood statuesque, cut a cross back for Paterson to tap into the empty net.

Burnley's 6,000 travelling fans went wild and Spurs almost went into meltdown. Eagles was tormenting Bale and whipped in another teasing cross that Robbie Blake glanced agonisingly past the far post.

Tottenham briefly sparked into life after 25 minutes, only to be thwarted by Burnley keeper Brian Jensen. The giant Dane looked beaten when Pavlyuchenko flicked Jonathan Woodgate's header goalwards but somehow pushed the close-range effort away for a corner. Yet Burnley won every 50-50 challenge in the first half and Aaron Lennon showed his frustration by thumping the ball into an advertising hoarding after another misplaced pass.

Spurs fightback
Redknapp responded by sending on O'Hara for David Bentley at half-time and it proved an inspired move. In the 47th minute, O'Hara swung over a corner and Dawson rose above Clarke Carlisle to looped his ahead into the roof of the net.

Suddenly Tottenham were inspired and they went in front as O'Hara turned from provider to scorer six minutes later. Pavlyuchenko's cross was glanced on by Luka Modric to O'Hara and his low shot crept in under Jensen. O'Hara wasn't just a thorn in Burnley's side going forward. His presence in front of Bale subdued Eagles for the first time and shutout the visitors' most creative force.

Bale's alert clearance denied Chris McCann midway through the half and moments later Pavyluchenko put Spurs in complete control. The Russia forward collected Bale's 65th minute pass, skipped past Clarke and beat Jensen with a fine low strike.

The floodgates were well and truely open now and Spurs added a fourth two minutes later when O'Hara's free-kick was headed into his own net by Duff.