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Late drama at the Lane!

Posted on 5 February 2011  - 12:00

Niko Kranjcar picked the perfect time to score his first goal of the season and claim a massive three points against Bolton at the Lane.

Late drama at the Lane!

Niko Kranjcar picked the perfect time to score his first goal of the season and claim a massive three points against Bolton at the Lane.

The Croatian came off the bench with 13 minutes remaining of a game seemingly headed for a draw after Daniel Sturridge had cancelled out Rafael van der Vaart’s early penalty.

It meant it looked like we were going to be left to rue a second, re-taken, spot kick from the Dutchman that he put wide just moments following his first.

But a bit of last gasp brilliance from Kranjcar, who fired into the top corner from the edge of the box, in four minutes of added time puts us level on points with fourth placed Chelsea who play Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Harry Redknapp made just one change from the side that won at Blackburn in midweek, with captain Michael Dawson returning from suspension to take the place of Sebastien Bassong alongside William Gallas at the heart of the defence.

Dawson was called into action early on to make a crucial challenge on Johan Elmander after Gallas had lost control in the box. But the side were clearly buoyed by Wednesday’s exploits in Lancashire and were in front after just six minutes.

Dawson headed Van der Vaart’s corner goalwards at the near post, Jussi Jaaskelainen made the save and Kevin Davies also used his arm when blocking Vedran Corluka’s close range shot.

Referee Mark Clattenburg awarded the spot-kick and Van der Vaart duly dispatched it for his 12th goal of the season.

The Dutchman was given the chance to double his tally and our lead just moments later when Aaron Lennon was upended in the box by Sam Ricketts.

Again a penalty was given, and again Van der Vaart slammed home. But Jermain Defoe was adjudged to have encroached and a re-take was ordered. And wouldn’t you just know it, the second penalty was put wide!

A frantic start to the game and we continued to look for the second with Lennon shooting wide on 14 minutes and Ricketts making a last ditch challenge on Peter Crouch soon after.

Midway through the first half, Bolton awoke and started to ask questions with Elmander’s close range header clattering the bar and Sturridge finding the side-netting.

But once we weathered that storm, we again looked the better side. Defoe saw his glancing header ruled out for offside and Crouch was guilty of delaying a shot for too long to allow Paul Robinson to get back and make the vital challenge.

There was nearly time for yet another Spurs penalty before half-time when Mark Davies handballed and Clattenburg again pointed to the spot, but Crouch had already been flagged offside.

We were left to regret missed opportunities just 10 minutes into the second half when Mark Davies broke and laid wide to Sturridge, who cut onto his left foot and hit a shot Heurelho Gomes would normally have dealt with comfortably.

This time, however, the ball slipped through the Brazilian’s hands and into the back of the net for the equaliser.

Our response was as you would expect. Defoe struck over from a good position, Jermaine Jenas rattled the post with a free-kick, and substitute Steven Pienaar was denied by Jaaskelainen at close range.

We threw on Roman Pavlyuchenko and Kranjcar to try to turn the screw as the half progressed but we found little by way of clear cut chances.

Defoe was pushed too wide by Lennon’s ball and was denied by Jaaskelainen at a tight angle, while Stuart Holden shot not far wide for Bolton at the other end.

It looked like both teams would be settling for a point before, suddenly, Lennon found space to run, played inside to Pavlyuchenko who teed it up for Kranjcar to side-step his marker and fire into the top corner with his left foot.

What a goal and what an end to an eventful afternoon. A massive three points and out of almost nothing!

Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Gallas, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto; Van der Vaart (Pienaar, 46), Jenas, Palacios (Kranjcar, 77), Lennon; Crouch (Pavlyuchenko, 72), Defoe
Subs not used: Cudicini, Bassong, Hutton, Sandro

Goals: Van der Vaart (pen 6), Kranjcar (90)

Bolton (4-4-2): Jaakelainen; Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Robinson; Elmander (Lee, 68), Holden (Muamba, 86), M Davies, Taylor (Petrov, 77); Sturridge, K Davies
Subs not used: Bogdan, Wheater, Moreno, Klasnic

Goals: Sturridge (55)

Referee: Mark Clattenburg