Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Bolton 1 Tottenham 4

Harry Redknapp was given a timely reminder that if his heart remains set on managing a golden generation of footballers, he has more chance of doing so at Tottenham than from the England dugout.

Spurs’ Champions League aspirations were enhanced with a victory which keeps Bolton staring into the relegation abyss. Luka Modric’s exquisite first-half volley, a double from Emmanuel Adebayor and poacher’s strike from Rafael van der Vaart cheered up their manager after a humbling week.

With so much at stake at both ends of the Premier League, Spurs needed to withstand a home barrage at the start of the second half before imposing the kind of stylish play their fans had been accustomed to do in the days before David Bernstein’s recruitment process was a White Hart Lane obsession.

If Owen Coyle hoped to channel the positive energy from Fabrice Muamba’s presence in the directors’ box, his opposite number was on a mission to shake off the frustration of landing his new title as the second best manager England have never had.

Redknapp may console himself in the immediate fate of his new soul mate, Brian Clough, whose rejection in favour of Ron Greenwood in 1977 was Hodgson-esque.

Clough’s response was to win the league title and a couple of European Cups, delivering an emphatic message that quite often the most charismatic and obvious choice is not the safest one.

When he reflects on recent events, Redknapp should feel grateful rather than bitter. No longer auditioning for the ‘impossible’ job and released from a burden more hassle than it’s worth, he ought to have felt galvanised by his good fortune as he arrived in Lancashire seeking to consolidate a Champions League place.

At the very least, he no longer needs to fend off accusations of his mind being on a different job.

It has seemed the mere mention of England in recent months has transformed Spurs from the Premier League’s most expansive unit to a team of startled bunnies. At first, there were timely recollections of the potency they had shown in the days when Fabio Capello was still checking Polish training camps.

Spurs should have led on 12 minutes courtesy of nervous goalkeeping by Adam Bogdan. The 24 year-old fumbled Gareth Bale’s left-footed drive, but immediately made amends to block Rafael Van Der Vaart’s follow-up strike.

With Aaron Lennon looking speedy enough to catch a hare rather than a football, the visitors appeared to have rediscovered their verve.

Lennon’s deflected shot from the edge of the box in the 18th minute had Bogdan, scurrying anxiously, but grateful to see the ball dip narrowly over.

Only the end product was lacking, especially when a typical Bale run and cross found no one in the six-yard box to pounce for a tap-in.

Bolton finally provoked Brad Friedel into action with a snapshot from David Ngog on 35 minutes, but that prompted a flurry of attacking activity from Spurs leading to a stunning opening goal from Modric.

The Croatian chested down Bale’s short corner, and from the edge of the box he struck a dipping volley into the top corner.

Tottenham’s loss of form was partly down to Modric’s recent disappearing act, so the Spurs fans will feel he owed them that.

Bolton believed it should never have been allowed. Their irate fans cited a handball by Sandro in the build-up to the set-play and replays made a compelling case for the

prosecution. Nevertheless, the complaints could not detract from the beauty of the finish.

It was the least the visitors deserved for their superior first-half play with Friedel largely untroubled. The American should have been called into action in first half injury-time, though, when full back Dedryck Boyata volley wastefully high and wide with the keeper scurrying to make a block.

Bolton had to respond. They knew this game in hand was key to their bottom three exit strategy and they emerged for the second half in a more visibly feisty mood.

Coyle had no option but to gamble in pursuit of the minimum of a point, but warnings of being caught on the counter-attack were frequent.

Little wonder the Scot flew out of his seat in fist-pumping fury when Nigel Reo-Coker equalised on 52 minutes.

Ngog’s clever back-heel found the midfielder’s rampaging run and he unleashed a vicious volley past Friedel. The volume level in The Reebok now matched the increasing intensity of Bolton’s performance.

Spurs were temporarily holding on, a succession of corners testing the nerve of William Gallas and Younes Kaboul as Kevin Davies bulldozed his way into each aerial battle, every corner welcomed with the same enthusiasm as a penalty kick.

The Londoners’ response was both brutal and cruel as two instant breakaway goals brought a dominant Bolton spell to a despairing end.

The pace and artistry of Spurs’ midfield was able to expose their more pedestrian opponents. Van der Vaart and Adebayor took advantage of blistering wing play from Bale and Lennon. First, the Dutchman received Bale’s cross with enough time to pick his spot on the hour.

Before Bolton could recover, Lennon was sent scurrying down the opposite flank and this time found the right pass, dispatched expertly by Adebayor.

An encouraging start to the second half was already a distant memory for Coyle, whose evening deteriorated further when Bale sent Adebayor clear for his second on 70 minutes. By now, Wanderers had to be more concerned about goal difference than points.

Bolton’s defence was no match for the rejuvenated Spurs attack who having begun the evening seeking to preserve fourth will now have Arsenal back in their sights.

Tags: ,

Related Posts

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.