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Match Report


Posted Sat 06 Nov 10 at 19:08 PM

Wanderers 4 Tottenham 2

Wanderers returned to winning ways by edging a six-goal thriller at the Reebok Stadium in what was arguably game of the season so far in the Barclays Premier League.

The Whites looked to be cruising to their biggest win of the season when they led by three goals with just ten minutes remaining.

Kevin Davies opened the scoring on the half hour mark before Gretar Steinsson doubled the lead ten minutes into the second-half.

Davies netted his second from the penalty spot before Spurs hit back with two fantastic late goals from Alan Hutton and Roman Pavlyuchenko.

But the nerves were eased when Martin Petrov hit Bolton's fourth goal of the game deep into stoppage time to floor a side that destroyed Champions of Europe Inter Milan just three days earlier.

To an individual it was a superb team performance from Owen Coyle's men, but deservedly the man of the match accolade went to Super Kevin Davies, who could not have done anything other than impress the watching England manager Fabio Capello with a courageous display.

Wanderers almost got off to the perfect start with just 30 seconds played as Matt Taylor - who had kept his place in the team despite Martin Petrov's return to fitness - found space inside the box.

The Spurs defence were caught cold when Johan Elmander slipped the ball across from the right, but Taylor got too much purchase on his finish and he fired over from just inside the area.

Much had been made about Gareth Bale's recent form and Gretar Steinsson gave the Welsh international an early wake-up call when he scythed the Welsh international down with just five minutes on the clock.

Indeed, Wanderers were fired up from the start as they knocked the ball about with confidence. Stuart Holden made several important challenges in midfield, the defence was well marshalled by Gary Cahill and Zat Knight, while Kevin Davies and Elmander caused plenty of problems for William Gallas and Younes Kaboul.

The wide men, Chung-Yong Lee and Taylor, were also heavily involved in the action. The South Korean twice picked himself up off the floor after being on the end of blows to the face and leg respectively, while Taylor made a couple of timely runs into the penalty area before bringing Heurelho Gomes into action with a stinging effort from 30 yards out.

The visitors, operating under a 4-5-1 formation, were restricted to scraps inside the opening half hour. The only noteworthy attempt on goal from the North Londoners was a shot from Brazilian midfielder Sandro that sailed high and wide.

The deadlock was broken on the half hour mark, unsurprisingly from the boot of Kevin Davies, who always seems to find the net against Tottenham.

Prior to kick-off, four of Wanderers' last six strikes against Spurs had come from the captain, so it was business as usual when Davies found the back of the net with a fizzing left-foot shot from just inside the box.

Slack play Sandro from allowed Fabrice Muamba to win the ball 35 yards from goal, Taylor was the recipient of possession and he proceeded to play the ball into Davies' feet. Spurs' defenders appealed offside but the assistant referee didn't raise his flag and the Bolton skipper made no mistake with his precise finish.

Spurs, and Bale in particular, stepped up a gear after falling behind. Twice the in-form wide-man delivered testing crosses from the left which had Wanderers stretched, while Jussi Jaaskelainen was fortunate to see his parried save from Gallas land at the feet of Cahill rather than the preying Peter Crouch.

The entire last ten minutes of the first-half was played virtually in Bolton's half, but thankfully the Whites dug deep and held on to their clean sheet going into the half-time interval.

With his team trailing, Harry Redknapp wasted no time by introducing Roman Pavlyuchenko in place of Wilson Palacios at the start of the second-half.

Bale clipped the outside of the post with a 25-yard free-kick shortly after the restart, but it was his direct opponent, Gretar Steinsson, who bagged the crucial second goal of the game.

After Gomes prevented Elmander with a brave block and Cahill volleyed just inches wide of the post, Steinsson popped up with an astute, clinical finish to double Bolton's lead on 55 minutes.

Patient build-up play from Bolton resulted in Elmander collecting the ball inside the penalty box, and the Swede showed great vision to pick out Steinsson, who took one touch to set himself before slamming the ball across Gomes and into the corner of the goal from ten yards.

With a firm grip now on the contest, Wanderers continued to press in the search of more goals. Elmander flicked a near post Taylor corner just wide before the provider nearly became scorer when the number seven elegantly volleyed against the outside of the post.

And just a minute later Wanderers once again ripped a hole in Tottenham's rearguard as Muamba embarked on a mesmeric solo run, which unfortunately ended with the ball hitting the outside of the net rather than the back.

The third goal was well and truly on the cards and it duly arrived on 75 minutes.

Chung-Yong Lee was sent tumbling inside the box by Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Kevin Davies stepped up to slot the ball beyond Gomes from 12 yards out. It was the perfect penalty - the Brazilian dove full-stretch in the right direction but still got nowhere near the ball.

Spurs started their comeback with ten minutes remaining.

Firstly full-back Alan Hutton curled an unstoppable drive into the top corner of the goal, leaving Jaaskelainen with no chance.

And, just six minutes later, Pavlyuchenko took a page out of the Marco van Basten book of finishing with a stunning volley from the acutest of angles to set up a frantic final few minutes.

But, thankfully, Wanderers weathered the late storm and they made the victory assured with virtually the last kick of the game through substitute Martin Petrov.

Just moments after hammering a volley inches wide, the Bulgarian showed his true international class to round-off a sweeping counter-attack.

After a superb Holden tackle, a long punt down the touchline by Cahill was cleverly headed into the path of Petrov by Davies and the winger made absolutely no mistake with a cool finish with the outside of his left boot.

The result made sure that Spurs had to wait for at least another season before they could record their first ever Premier League win at the Reebok Stadium.

Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Chung-Yong, Muamba, Holden, Taylor (Petrov 82), Elmander (M Davies 90+4), K Davies (Blake 90+6) (Unused substitutes: Bogdan, Ricketts, Klasnic, Rodrigo) Tottenham: Gomes, Hutton, Bale, Kaboul, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Palacios (Pavluchenko 46), Modric, Kranjcar (Bentley 78), Sandro (Huddlestone 62), Crouch (Unused substitutes: Cudicini, Bassong, Corluka, Jenas)

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