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'Watching Gareth Bale out my window' - Tottenham win FA Cup game against eighth-tier, semi-pro club at local park

Marine's part-time players had been holding off Tottenham for 20 minutes when apprentice plumber Neil Kengni spotted his chance.

Tottenham's Carlos Vinicius scores passing Marine's goalkeeper Bayleigh Passant during the English FA Cup. Source: Associated Press

Some 30 yards from the goal of Joe Hart, who has played at a World Cup for England, Kengni unleashed a shot.

Surely the semiprofessional eighth-tier club could not take the lead against the Premier League's fourth-place team? Only the crossbar spared the blushes of Hart and Tottenham.

But incredibly, Tottenham still took 24 minutes to go in front in the biggest mismatch in FA Cup history as Carlos Vinícius broke the unexpectedly long deadlock on Sunday before scoring a hat trick.

It didn't always look like 161 places separated these sides in the English football pyramid as Marine defended valiantly against the 2019 Champions League runners-up.

Tottenham went on to win 5-0 but that is only the same goal margin the London club beat Manchester United by earlier in the Premier League season.

This was the ultimate culture shock for the millionaires of Tottenham. They changed in a wedding venue that's part of Marine Travel Arena.

Unlike Tottenham's new $1.5 billion arena, this is a sparse venue crammed between two streets of red-brick terraced houses with one small stand. Due to the pandemic, the only supporters able to watch in person were in the gardens of Rossett Road separated from the narrow touchline by a low, brick wall.

A few supporters stood on the wall and peered through the fence struck over Jose Mourinho and the Tottenham bench. Others climbed trees to gain any vantage point and blasted horns. The best view of the Tottenham players was in the streets of this Liverpool commuter town as fans lined the roads — despite the country being in a coronavirus lockdown — to see the team bus arrive.

One local tweeted midway through the match his disbelief of getting to watch Gareth Bale "whilst leaning out my window". Bale later replied to the tweet with a waving emoji.

While Harry Kane was left behind in London, this was still a Tottenham side packed with international stars, including Bale — one of the world's most expensive players. Yet even a trip to Marine saw Bale's frustrations continue with a free kick saved by goalkeeper Bayleigh Passant.

A moment of Tottenham history was created not just by playing the fixture but by Alfie Devine at 16 years and 163 becoming the team's youngest-ever scorer.

It was the only goal in the second half after fellow Brazilian Lucas Moura had also scored from a free kick before the break.

This was no rout or humiliation for the Marine players who will go back to their day jobs, uncertain when they will play again with their league on hold during the new lockdown.

And when the final whistle blew after a valiant display they went over the thank the fans peering from Rossett Road gardens.