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Wolves shut the door

Posted on 12 December 2009  - 12:00

Kevin Doyle's early goal proved enough as Wolves held on for a 1-0 win on a frustrating afternoon at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

Wolves shut the door

Kevin Doyle's early goal proved enough as Wolves held on for a 1-0 win on a frustrating afternoon at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

The Republic of Ireland striker glanced home Nenad Milijas' free-kick in the third minute and it was a lead the visitors defended with their lives.

Try as we might, we couldn't break through and not even the arrival of Luka Modric - back in action after three months out - could spark a revival.

Harry Redknapp made just the on change from the side that drew at Everton the previous Sunday with Robbie Keane back in to face his first club. Luka Modric and Giovani dos Santos both made welcome returns to the bench, Modric after three months on the sidelines.

Expectation levels were running high but there was a shock in store with less than three minutes on the clock.

It all stemmed from a questionable free-kick awarded against Tom Huddlestone for what looked no more than shoulder to shoulder with Karl Henry, who went over. Nevertheless, the free-kick went against us, Nenad Milijas curled in from the touchline and Kevin Doyle rose highest to glance the feintest of headers into the far corner.

It was a somewhat frustrating opening quarter as a few passes went astray, crosses were blocked and we couldn't quite get going.

Marcus Hahnemann was out quickly to gather as Niko Kranjcar looked for Keane and at the other end, Doyle went up for a Milijas corner but got underneath the flight of the ball.

Possession was firmly weighted in our favour and although clear-cut chances were proving hard to find, that pressure started to tell from about the midway point of the half.

Defoe hit a 25-yarder straight at Hahnemann, Keane's shot was diverted wide by Jody Craddock's sliding challenge and Keane looped Kranjcar's teasing cross onto the roof of the net.

Kranjcar was again involved in the next opening, picking out Corluka's run to the far post, the full-back did well to volley back across goal but Defoe couldn't get enough on his effort at the near post.

Kranjcar then found Huddlestone breaking into the box and the midfielder flicked the ball over Milijas before volleying just wide in the same movement. Aaron Lennon and Defoe had further shots blocked, almost summing up the half as the whistle sounded.

No changes at half-time and there was another early scare in the second half as Doyle fed in Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, but he couldn't find enough power to trouble Heurelho Gomes - his first save.

Harry made a double change just before the hour with Peter Crouch on for Keane and Modric back in the fold to a standing ovation for Palacios. Wolves were also forced into a switch after David Edwards was injured, Kevin Foley replacing him.

Bassong soon powered Kranjcar's corner over and Crouch stooped low to head Assou-Ekotto's cross at goal, Hahnemann saving comfortably.

Clear-cut chances remained at a premium as Wolves defended in numbers, crosses were cleared, attempted shots blocked, Crouch's headers down were hammered away.

Vedran Corluka and Aaron Lennon carved out the best so far with a one-two down the right, Corluka picked out Kranjcar but his Croatian compatriot scuffed wide from eight yards. The frustration was tangible.

That was Kranjcar's last involvement as Harry threw on Giovani with 11 minutes remaining.

Huddlestone forced a fine save from Hahnemann from 20 yards, then Defoe's shot was blocked and the rebound fell to Huddlestone again, another fine shot, another fine save.

The threat of a Stoke-like counter-attack was also growing and Ebanks-Blake lashed inches wide with 85 minutes on the clock.

We continued to pile forward. Defoe got onto Crouch's flick but hit his overhead too high, Corluka got into the box again but Dawson's shot was deflected, Crouch climbed well to meet Assou-Ekotto's cross but headed a yard wide.

Six minutes of added time gave extra hope, but came to nothing.

Spurs: Gomes; Corluka, Bassong, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Huddlestone, Palacios (Modric, 59), Kranjcar (Giovani, 78); Keane (Crouch, 59), Defoe. Subs: Alnwick, Bale, Hutton, Rose.

Wolves: Hahnemann; Stearman (Iwelumo, 80), Craddock, Berra, Ward; Edwards (Foley, 60), Henry, Milijas (Mancienne, 70), Jarvis; Doyle, Ebanks-Blake. Subs: Hennessey, Castillo, Surman, Maierhofer.