News24

Spurs sweep past Bolton

2011-12-03 19:43

London - Tottenham Hotspur swept into second place in the English Premiership on Saturday after a 3-0 demolition of 10-man Bolton Wanderers at White Hart Lane.

Goals from Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe ensured that Spurs leapfrogged Chelsea and Manchester United, but the champions had the chance to reclaim second place by beating Aston Villa in the day's late fixture.

It was Tottenham's sixth consecutive Premier League victory, equalling the club record.

Spurs now lie seven points behind leaders Manchester City, who thumped Norwich City 5-1, with a game in hand.

Bolton, who had England defender Gary Cahill sent off for a professional foul, remain deep in relegation trouble, two points adrift of safety.

The 35,896 crowd and both sets of players joined in a minute's applause before kick-off to honour former Wanderers midfielder Gary Speed, who was found hanged at his home on Sunday.

The visitors got off to the worst possible start when Bale, who played under Speed for the Wales national team, nipped in front of his marker to divert Luka Modric's corner into the bottom corner of the goal.

The highly-rated midfielder took off his boot and held it aloft in apparent tribute to his former manager.

Wanderers' misery was compounded 10 minutes later when Cahill was controversially red-carded after hauling down England midfielder Scott Parker, whom referee Stuart Attwell adjudged to have had a clear run on goal.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle was visibly incensed, gesticulating and shouting at the young official from the touchline.

Spurs predictably dominated the rest of the first half and nearly doubled their advantage through Defoe, but visiting goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen made a miraculous save to keep out his close-range effort.

Wanderers nearly drew level on 25 minutes when winger Chris Eagles managed to get away a shot, which took a vicious deflection before being well saved by Brad Friedel.

At the other end, Jaaskelainen repelled Spurs almost single-handedly, pulling off stunning stops to twice deny striker Emmanuel Adebayor, while Bale lashed over the bar when well set in the area.

The visitors' luck ran out early in the second period when Lennon, fed by Defoe, cut into the area and drove a powerful shot past Jaaskelainen.

Tottenham were furious shortly afterwards when defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto went down in the area under a challenge from veteran Bolton striker Kevin Davies, but Attwell ignored appeals for a penalty.

Defoe got himself on the score-sheet on the hour mark, turning in Bale's flick-on from close range.

Jaaskelainen made a strong claim for man of the match, pulling off further saves from Croatia international Modric and his midfield partner Parker, as well as Bale and Defoe.

AFP