Monday 26 February 2018

Adebayor nets brace as Spurs offer Redknapp consolation

Bolton 1 Tottenham 4

Hot shot: Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates his brace against Bolton. Photo: Getty Images
Hot shot: Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates his brace against Bolton. Photo: Getty Images

Chris Bascombe

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 a 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 the English FA'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', after the late great Brian Clough.

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

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. 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.

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 volleyed wastefully high and wide with the 'keeper scurrying to make a block.

Coyle had to gamble in pursuit of the minimum of a point, but warnings of being caught on the counter-attack were frequent. Little wonder the manager flew out of his seat in fist-pumping delight 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.

But Spurs' response was both brutal and cruel as two instant breakaway goals brought a dominant Bolton spell to a despairing end.

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.

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. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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