Sunday 22 April 2018

Spurs survive late blitz

Mark Staniforth

Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale struck early to claim three Premier League points for Tottenham at the DW Stadium but they were almost undone by a stirring fightback from 10-man Wigan.

Harry Redknapp's men should have been out of sight at half-time but they only had two early efforts to show from 45 minutes in which they were totally dominant.

A neat 49th-minute finish from Mohamed Diame thrust the Latics back in to contention and, despite Steve Gohouri's 63rd-minute red card, Roberto Martinez's men threatened right to the end.

Spurs looked sleek from the start and came close in the opening minute when Scott Parker found Kyle Walker on the right and his cross was bundled clear by James McCarthy.

Spurs men grabbed the lead in the third minute when Emmanuel Adebayor pounced on Maynor Figueroa's awful back-pass, beat Gary Caldwell and crossed for Van der Vaart to sweep home.

Spurs' seemingly inevitable second goal arrived in the 23rd minute when Bale was left unmarked in the box and was able to flick home Luka Modric's right-wing corner.

Martinez swapped Jordi Gomez for Ronnie Stam at the break and his side started the second half with more purpose, a dangerous Victor Moses cross booted out of the six-yard box by Younes Kaboul.

And Stam was instrumental in the Latics reducing the deficit on 49 minutes, pouncing on a poor Benoit Assou-Ekotto clearance to feed Diame, who twisted and fired a superb low shot past Brad Friedel.

Martinez made a double substitution on 73 minutes with Dubliner Conor Sammon and James McArthur replacing Franco Di Santo and Ben Watson as Wigan sought an improbable draw, but though they had efforts, Spurs held on to take the points.

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