Huddlestone strike keeps Spurs in touch

Tottenham took one more step towards Champions League qualification with a 1-0 win over Bolton thanks to a superb strike from Tom Huddlestone.

Last Updated: 01/05/10 at 17:17 Post Comment

Huddlestone: Celebrates goal

Huddlestone: Celebrates goal

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With seven minutes of the first half left, the midfielder picked up Benoit Assou-Ekotto's pass to hammer a 22-yard strike past Jussi Jaaskelainen in the Bolton goal.

Bolton spent most of Saturday's Premier League match at White Hart Lane on the back foot thanks to the pace and agility of Gareth Bale, who put in yet another outstanding performance for the north London club.

Spurs can now go into Wednesday's crunch match at Eastlands full of confidence, knowing that a win over Manchester City would guarantee them Champions League football for the first time in their history.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp opted to leave Aaron Lennon on the bench for the crunch game while Ledley King was chosen in defence with Younes Kaboul, who came in for Wilson Palacios.

Bolton boss Owen Coyle, meanwhile, stuck with the same XI that drew 2-2 with Portsmouth last Saturday.

Fourth-place Spurs, who were level on points with Aston Villa before kick-off, knew a win would be vital with Wednesday's clash looming on the horizon.

Redknapp's side also knew that they would be four points clear of City if they won today and Roberto Mancini's side lost to Villa.

Luka Modric, who is reportedly a summer target for Manchester United, shot wide after five minutes as Spurs took control of the game from the start.

Coyle was off his bench early on to vent frustration at his side for their lack of creativity.

Kaboul then skinned Matt Taylor before crossing to Roman Pavlyuchenko but the Russian mis-kicked his shot inside the box.

As news of Villa's opener at Eastlands filtered through, the home crowd urged their side on.

Bolton hit back though with a five-minute spell of possession that frustrated the Spurs midfield.

A series of crunching tackles also angered the home crowd before Bolton threatened through Gretar Steinsson and Vladimir Weiss.

The Trotters defence foolishly backed off Bale just before the half hour as he cut inside to fire a dangerous shot which was well saved by Jaaskelainen.

Paul Robinson entered the book for hacking down David Bentley before Huddlestone's strike sent the home crowd wild seven minutes before the break.

Assou-Ekotto cut inside from the left and laid the ball off to the midfielder who lashed a 20-yard shot into the top right-hand corner of the goal.

Kevin Davies blazed over from 25 yards just before the break as Bolton looked to get back into the game.

Michael Dawson was a tower of strength to cut out Taylor's cross as Bolton looked for an early way back into the match.

Modric then found Jermain Defoe inside the box but his shot was blocked by Fabrice Muamba before Chris Foy blew for offside against the England striker.

Two Bolton corners in quick succession put Spurs under pressure at the back but Gomes came out to clear.

Taylor was booked for pulling back Defoe just before the hour before Huddlestone fired a 25-yard curler wide minutes later.

Coyle's side then went quiet and he looked to freshen things up by replacing Weiss and Ivan Klasnic with Chung-Yong Lee and Johan Elmander.

Gomes reacted quickly to deny Taylor's 25-yard shot in a period of Bolton pressure just before the hour.

Defoe then sent a curling shot just wide of Jaaskelainen's right-hand post before Pavlyuchenko disappointed by sending a free header wide. Spurs continued to pile the pressure on and Bale forced Jaaskelainen to tip his shot wide after racing through down the left.

Kaboul then had to clear Taylor's goal-bound shot after Gomes was left stranded when he rushed out to try to block Davies' run.

Peter Crouch replaced Defoe before Lennon received a standing ovation as he came on for Bentley to make only his second appearance of 2010.

Jack Wilshere, who is on loan from Spurs' rivals Arsenal, threatened with a 25-yard effort but Dawson courageously threw himself in front of the midfielder's goal-bound shot.

An intelligent first-time ball from Bale skimmed across the box with 11 minutes left but Pavlyuchenko was just too slow to provide the tap-in.

Lee was then required to clear Crouch's downward header off the line from Bale's flat cross as Spurs looked for a killer goal.

Gomes pulled off a stunning save to deny Wilshere from the edge of the box with four minutes left.

Crouch almost grabbed a second in the dying minutes after beating three Bolton defenders before forcing Jaaskelainen into a diving save.

Wilshere received a booking for hacking down Kaboul in added time before substitute Eidur Gudjohnsen fired wide at the death.

Spurs came back onto the pitch to salute the home fans after signing off their home campaign with a vital win ahead of next week's crunch clash against Manchester City.

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