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Match Report


Posted Sat 01 May 10 at 20:02 PM

Report: Tottenham 1 Bolton 0

Only a thunderous long-range effort from Tom Huddlestone separated Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers at White Hart Lane.

The England hopeful hit the decisive winning strike on 38 minutes in what was an enthrallingly open contest despite just the solitary goal.

Matt Taylor had several efforts in the second-half which were either blocked or saved by the inspirational Heurelho Gomes.

With Wolves losing at Portsmouth, Wanderers remained in 14th spot while the three points for Spurs meant that they kept on course for qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in the club's history.

Spurs 1 Bolton 0

With plenty at stake for the home side, a loud and passionate atmosphere greeted both sets of teams, and indeed it was a ferocious end-to-end start to proceedings.

Bolton forced their first corner inside the opening minute, Luca Modric dragged a shot wide from outside the area whilst Wanderers' own Croatian international Ivan Klasnic was the first to test Heurelho Gomes with a 25-yard skidding effort.

The first clear cut opportunity fell to Roman Pavlyuchenko, who had notched a brace against Owen Coyle's side on their last visit to White Hart Lane in February. Younes Kaboul beat Paul Robinson on the touchline but the Russian striker scuffed his finish when unmarked just ten yards from goal.

Kevin Davies made a crucial headed clearance under his own crossbar while Zat Knight also had to make vital interceptions, most notably when Spurs made a lightning quick counter attack down the right through Kaboul once again.

Bolton's own right-back Gretar Steinsson saw a deflected effort drift just wide of the upright, but the Icelander's main call of duty, along with his team mates, was in defence during the first-half.

With just under half an hour on the clock, Jussi Jaaskelainen made the finest save of the half to deny Gareth Bale.

Buoyed by his recent performances and goal against Chelsea, the left-back had the confidence to maraud forward to unleash a piledriver which was palmed away superbly by the Bolton stopper.

The home side's main source of ingenuity was David Bentley, who went roaming from the right-side of midfield to receive possession at every available opportunity. Paul Robinson was the first man to have his name taken for a foul on the England international but it was the only blip in Wanderers' defensive discipline in what had been a resilient first-half showing.

Crucially though Bolton conceded shortly before half-time, just like in their previous visit to London against Chelsea. However, it was an effort that no goalkeeper would have been able to prevent.

Assou-Ekotto laid the ball perfectly into the path of Huddlestone and the former Derby County man hit an unstoppable drive from outside the area into the top corner of the net past Jaaskelainen's full-stretched dive to send the home fans delirious.

Matt Taylor had a half-chance to level in the final few minutes of the half, but he side-footed over following Klasnic's lay-off.

Taylor again was the first Bolton player to work the Spurs defence after the break with a long-range free-kick that was deflected wide, as Owen Coyle's side came out and enjoyed a short period of possession after the restart.

Chung-Yong Lee and Johan Elmander were thrown in the place of Vladimir Weiss and Ivan Klasnic on the hour mark, moments after Huddlestone had come within a few yards of doubling the lead with another fierce effort from distance.

After the double substitution the game began to open up and within the space of ten minutes there were no less than five excellent opportunities for both teams.

Taylor, never afraid to try his luck, brought a smart low save out of Gomes with another attempt and Jermain Defoe cut in from the left before curling inches wide.

Pavlyuchenko saw a near post header drift the wrong side of the post, Jaaskelainen thwarted Bale for the third time after the Welshman got a clear run on goal, and then Taylor once again had his effort blocked as this time Kaboul cleared off the line.

Jack Wilshere was at the heart of everything that Bolton created and the on loan Gunner was clearly relishing the opportunity of starring against Arsenal's North London rivals. Indeed, if Wilshere wasn't causing problems for the home side with his vision and passing in the middle of the park then it was with the venomous shot that he possessed. Certainly Michael Dawson knew about it when he had to make a full-length block on 73 minutes.

Aaron Lennon, Peter Crouch, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Ricardo Gardner were all introduced by their respective managers as the pace refused to relent as the game entered its final stages.

But Bolton and Taylor in particular knew that it wasn't to be their day when Gomes denied the midfielder once again with just two minutes remaining.

Taylor took time to position himself before volleying towards Gomes who moved to his left and made another excellent save to ensure that his team remain on course for qualifying for next season's Champions League.

Tottenham: Gomes, Bale, Bentley (Lennon 74), Huddlestone, Pavlyuchenko , Modric, Defoe (Crouch 72), King, Assou-Ekotto, Dawson, Kaboul (Subs: Jenas, Bassong, Alnwick)

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Robinson, Weiss (Chung-Yong 60), Muamba (Gardner 78), Wilshere, Taylor, Klasnic (Elmander 60), Kevin Davies (Subs: Al Habsi, Gardner, Samuel, Ricketts, Mark Davies)

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