Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • March 27, 2012 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton's FA Cup dream has come to an end after they were beaten 3-1 by Tottenham Hotspur on an emotional night at White Hart Lane.

Spurs dominated the game from start to finish but were continuously frustrated by the heroics of Adam Bogdan in the Bolton goal. Their ever-increasing pressure finally paid off, however, when Ryan Nelsen headed the hosts ahead from a Rafael van der Vaart corner with just 16 minutes remaining.

Then, just like waiting for a bus, another one arrived shortly afterwards as Jermain Defoe picked out Gareth Bale, who completed a counter-attack by beating Bogdan in a one-on-one situation.

Wanderers substitute Kevin Davies pulled one back for the visitors in the first of three added minutes, but Louis Saha condemned the Trotters to defeat by adding a third for Tottenham with the last kick of the game.

Prior to the game, both teams warmed up sporting T-shirts which read 'Uniting For Muamba' on the front and 'Thank You For Your Support For Fabrice' on the rear.

Everybody inside the ground then stood in applause for 60 seconds, with chants of Muamba's name echoing around the stadium. Those chants returned in the 41st minute of the tie, the exact moment when the 23-year-old collapsed to the ground in last Saturday's original match.

Dr Andrew Deaner was shown on the giant screens inside the ground. Deaner was the Spurs supporter who ran on to the pitch to aid the treatment of Muamba and he was rewarded by being invited as a guest of the Spurs board.

On the field, Wanderers were on the back foot straight from the word go. Bale was the first to force Bogdan into a save, before the Hungary international made a superb double stop to deny Jake Livermore and then a rebound from Luka Modric. Emmanuel Adebayor headed wide from a corner soon after as Bolton survived the early siege on their goal.

Rafael van der Vaart tried a speculative 25 yard strike on the quarter-hour mark, but his shot was easy for Bogdan, who was on hand to deny Adebayor again less than 60 seconds later.

The Bolton goalkeeper was having a superb game in goal and he did well to deny Adebayor midway through the half, before springing to his feet to deny Bale from poking the loose ball into the empty net.

With 25 minutes on the clock, Darren Pratley came out worse for wear after committing a foul on Bale. The Wanderers midfielder received three minutes of treatment on the field, before stretchered off the field with his leg in a brace. Then, to rub salt into the wounds, referee Howard Webb showed him a yellow card for the challenge.

Pratley is believed to have suffered a deep puncture wound to his leg and was immediately transported to hospital for expert advice on the injury. Tim Ream came on as his replacement.

With 10 minutes left before the break, Adebayor picked out the run of Bale, who shot into the side netting. Many of the home supporters thought the ball had rippled inside the goal, but the game remained goalless.

Five minutes later, the Welshman combined with Scott Parker, who somehow failed to beat Bogdan from close range, with the Bolton stopper continuing to keep the hosts out single handedly.

Bale sliced a shot inches wide of the target as the opening 45 minutes drew to a close, with the game somehow level at 0-0.

The second half began just as the first half ended, with Spurs maintaining their pressure in the final third.

van der Vaart was the first to try his luck after the break and was unlucky to see his 25-yard free-kick cannon back off the crossbar, especially as Bogdan appeared to have finally been beaten.

Bolton's first shot of the night arrived on 49 minutes, but Marcos Alonso's speculative effort from distance sailed harmlessly into the stands, prompting ironic cheers from the home supporters behind the goal.

Ledley King came close to breaking the deadlock on the hour as he rose highest to meet a van der Vaart cross, but his headed clipped the top of the net and went behind for a goal kick.

After being put under constant pressure, Wanderers almost took a surprise lead on the hour as a shot from Chris Eagles took a wicked deflection off Nelsen, only to land on the top of Carlo Cudicini's net, with the Italian goalkeeper well beaten.

Spurs finally looked set to break the deadlock on 63 minutes, but Bogdan once again came to Bolton's rescue as he dived at the feet of van der Vaart to deflect his shot away from goal with his outstretched right leg.

Adebayor and Kyle Walker both failed to test Bogdan soon after, before Cudicini was brought into action for the first time with 20 minutes to go as he denied Ivan Klasnic, who had done well to turn away from Nelsen.

Reo-Coker brought another stop out of Cudicini moments later, before Bogdan was on hand again, this time to deny Spurs substitute Jermain Defoe.

Then, with 16 minutes left on the clock, Tottenham's pressure finally paid off as they took the lead. Bogdan had been the Bolton hero on numerous occasions on the night, but he failed to deal with a routine corner from van der Vaart and Nelsen headed into the empty net to score his first goal in Spurs colours.

Three minutes later, Spurs had a second. Defoe's pass from inside his own half sent Bale racing through on goal and with only Bogdan left to beat, he made no mistake in placing the ball into the bottom corner to all but seal Spurs' semi-final place.

Their passage to Wembley wasn't certain, though, as Wanderers pulled one back in the first of three added minutes when substitute Kevin Davies capitalised on a slip from Nelsen to put the ball past Cudicini and give the visitors a lifeline.

Any hope of a miraculous comeback was ended with the final kick of the game, as Saha cut inside from the left before sending an unstoppable 20 yard strike past Bogdan, who was left routed to the spot.

An emotional night at the Lane came to an end with Harry Redknapp's side advancing into the last four of the competition, where they will face Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on April 15th.

Bolton return to action at Molineux on Saturday afternoon when they will continue their battle against Premier League relegation by facing bottom club Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Tottenham Hotspur: Cudicini, Walker, King, Nelsen, Assou-Ekotto, Modric, Livermore, Parker (Defoe 71), Bale, Adebayor (Saha 79), van der Vaart (Rose 80)
Subs Not Used: Freidel, Kaboul, dos Santos, Kranjcar
Goals: Nelsen 74, Bale 77, Saha 90

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Alonso, Boyata (K Davies 76), Knight, Ricketts, Reo-Coker, M Davies, Pratley (Ream 28), Eagles, Klasnic, Miyaichi (Tuncay 79)
Subs Not Used: Jaaskelainen, Petrov, Ngog, Vela
Booked: Pratley
Goals: K Davies 90

Referee: Howard Webb
Attendance: 30,718

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
11 Ipswich Town 20 27
12 Cheltenham Town 19 27
13 Bolton Wanderers 20 26
14 Accrington Stanley 19 24
15 Charlton Athletic 20 23
View Full Standings >>


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