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Late rally sees Spurs sink Wolves
Published : 18 Sep 2010 17:10:00
Tottenham produced a remarkable late comeback to record their first Premier League home win of the season as they beat Wolves 3-1 on Saturday. The visitors looked set to complete a hat-trick of victories over Spurs after Steven Fletcher handed them a shock lead on the stroke of half-time. Despite dominating, Tottenham were becoming increasingly frustrated but were gifted an equaliser when Stephen Ward brought down Alan Hutton in the box and allowed Rafael van der Vaart to level 13 minutes from time, before substitutes Roman Pavyluchenko and Hutton completed the turnaround. Spurs, who handed Robbie Keane his first start for the club since January and recalled William Gallas, were looking to avoid the kind of Champions League hangover they suffered when they lost to Wigan in their previous home game. Wolves began with typical commitment, although Kevin Foley was adjudged to have crossed the line when he tripped Gareth Bale from behind 19 minutes in, earning the game's first caution. Seeking their first home goal of the Premier League season, Spurs finally forced Marcus Hahnemann to make a save in the 24th minute, the American sprawling to thwart Bale before Michael Mancienne and Ward threw themselves in front of Keane's follow-up. Hahnemann was called into action again six minutes later after the ball sat up perfectly for Van der Vaart to smash a volley after looping off the head of Foley. The goalkeeper got fingertips to that effort and also to Peter Crouch's 33rd-minute header following a super far-post cross from Bale. Crouch was winning almost everything in the air but it was strike partner Keane who had the best headed chance of the half six minutes before the break. Bale skinned Foley down the left and produced a cross Keane somehow nodded wide from eight yards. Tom Huddlestone was booked for handling Jarvis' attempted cross before Wolves snatched the lead when the recalled Fletcher slammed in Foley's low cross from point-blank range. Harry Redknapp was then forced to replace Younes Kaboul with Hutton, the right-back's first Spurs appearance since January. Jermaine Jenas nearly weaved his way through the entire Wolves defence in the opening moments of the second half before Jody Craddock finally robbed him. Hutton then cut inside from the right and curled a 20-yard left-footer that sailed inches wide. Wolves withdrew Jarvis for Jelle van Damme in the 54th minute before Van der Vaart bent an excellent shot wide on the turn. Keane almost produced a spectacular equaliser three minutes later, his scissors-kick from another outstanding Bale cross just failing to find the target. Wolves boss Mick McCarthy immediately threw on Dave Edwards for Fletcher to further bolster his side. Van der Vaart and Van Damme were involved in an angry 65th-minute exchange after the former clattered into the latter, earning a booking. Redknapp then replaced the disappointing Keane with Pavyluchenko before Wolves defender Richard Stearman - starting his first league game since January - went close to getting his head on David Jones' corner. Spurs were running out of ideas but Ward handed them an equaliser with 15 minutes remaining when he scythed down Hutton in full flight just inside the area. Van der Vaart sent Hahnemann the wrong way from the spot for what was his first Tottenham goal. Huddlestone sent a shot on the turn straight at Hahnemann as Spurs pushed for a winner, but Wolves were also refusing to settle for a point. They were almost caught out on the break when Van der Vaart dragged wide from 18 yards on his weaker right foot. Crouch then got a vital block in on a close-range rocket from Van Damme, who was booked for impeding Carlo Cudicini as the keeper tried to clear. Hahnemann just beat Bale to Van der Vaart's long ball before the latter was replaced for the final four minutes by Aaron Lennon. The substitution proved inspired as the winger helped set up Spurs' second goal moments later. Lennon's cross was partially cleared but played back into Huddlestone, whose shot was blocked straight to Pavyluchenko for the simplest of finishes. Pavyluchenko ripped off his shirt and ran to the jubilant Spurs fans to celebrate, earning himself a booking, while Hahnemann was also cautioned for dissent. Wolves sent on Marcus Bent for Mancienne but there was worse to come for the visitors in stoppage time as a mix-up between Stearman and Hahnemann allowed Hutton to nip in and bundle the ball home.