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REPORT: SPURS 1, BOLTON 1

Posted on 27 April 2008  - 12:00

A fourth 1-1 draw in a row was recorded at White Hart Lane as Luka Modric watched Steed Malbranque level the score after Bolton took a lead against the run of play early in the second half.

A fourth 1-1 draw in a row was recorded at White Hart Lane as Luka Modric watched Steed Malbranque level the score after Bolton took a lead against the run of play early in the second half.

Despite the visitor's need for the points being far more acute, it was Juande Ramos' side who went all out for the win, with goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi making several crucial stops to keep it at three games unbeaten for his team in their bid to avoid the drop.

The opening stages were devoid of significant goalmouth action, bar a Robbie Keane effort from the edge of the area on an afternoon with more of an August feel to it than an April one. But spring it is and Bolton, with a packed support in the away end to bolster their survival instincts, were sure to prove resolute opponents with all to play for.

Steed Malbranque bent a shot just wide on 27 minutes as the team in white before Gilberto, making his full league debut, unleashed a shot that took Ali Al Habsi by surprise, the goalkeeper clutching on after the Brazilian tried his luck from 25-30 yards.

Modric was watching on from the Directors' Box as the team asserted control of a rapidly elapsing first half without really putting Al Habsi in a state of high alert.

He was though when a Gilberto free-kick took a deflection and rattled against the post on the stroke of half-time. Alan Hutton was replaced after the interval by Tom Huddlestone, with Didier Zokora dropping in at right-back.

It was a Bolton substitute who made an immediate impact. Stelios pouncing to score a minute after the break when failure to clear a low cross was punished, the Greek beating Radek Cerny to the ball.

The lead, thankfully, did not last too long and when Jermaine Jenas pushed the ball into Robbie Keane, the striker spun and shot. His effort deflected fortunately into the path of Malbraque, who steered low past Al Habsi.

Michael Dawson was immediately withdrawn, Huddlestone dropped in at centre half, Keane retreated into midfield and Darren Bent was introduced into attack.

Keane then came close to securing an advantage when a Berbatov cut back was met by the skipper, who jinked past a couple of challenges before pulling the trigger, only for the body of Al Habsi to rescue his side.

He wouldn't have had a prayer if Malbranque had hit the target with his far post volley from Keane's cross just before the hour mark.

Al Habsi did brilliantly to tip away Berbatov's arrowed low drive towards the bottom corner as the tide of pressure threatened to overwhelm the visitors. A Huddlestone throughball sent Bent clear but the bouncing ball favoured Al Habsi and the goalkeeper managed to grab.

The goalscorer Malbranque made way for Jamie O'Hara with 13 minutes left on the clock, but it was Jonathan Woodgate who next came close to troubling the scoreboard when he flashed a header just wide from an O'Hara corner.

Bent then watched in agony as Danny Guthrie cleared his header off the line and finally, in added time, Berbatov looked odds-on to bag the winner only to head O'Hara's free-kick over unmarked in front of goal. It was one of those days...