Bale defies Bogdan's heroics to set up derby

Tottenham Hotspur 3 Bolton Wanderers 1

White Hart Lane

After all the emotion, the match, but no great romantic tale. However much of a tonic victory for Bolton Wanderers might have been for Fabrice Muamba, still in hospital just a few miles away, it would to be brutally honest have been footballing larceny.

Tottenham, in qualifying for an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on 15 April against Chelsea, were so superior that the scoreline could have reached embarrassing proportions but for a superb display by Adam Bogdan in Bolton's goal. It was almost ridiculous that a minute from time Kevin Davies should reduce the deficit to a single goal but perspective was restored when another substitute Louis Saha scored with the last kick of the match.

The visiting manager, Owen Coyle, maintaining the spirit that has pervaded both camps since the original ghastly incident, acknowledged: "I don't think anyone can argue with the fact that Tottenham were the better side. They were terrific tonight. We could have passed the ball better but I was delighted at how we went about it."

His opposite number. Harry Redknapp, did not believe Spurs could have done anything much better apart from sparing him and the home crowd the frustration of 73 minutes without a goal. At half-time he told his players: "The goals have got to come, he can't keep making saves." For almost half an hour more, Bogdan did but finally he was beaten by an unlikely scorer in Ryan Nelsen, the defender registering his first goal since joining from Blackburn.

 

"I've never seen a keeper make so many saves," Redknapp added. "Now I'm looking forward to a great weekend of semi-finals with a London derby and a Merseyside derby." Spurs will take heart for theirs in the knowledge that they more than matched Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, and the same system, even with a few changes of personnel, served them well last night. Scott Parker again guarded the back four – who needed little protection on this occasion – and Rafael van der Vaart, while nominally wide on the right, was allowed to roam, Kyle Walker filling the space down the flank with his pace and control. That allowed Gareth Bale to work the left side, where he is much more comfortable, with Luka Modric, and it was from there that much of the threat came.

From early on Bolton survived only because of some remarkable work by their young Hungarian goalkeeper. He made nine or 10 saves, of which the highlights were two doubles early on. After only seven minutes Bogdan plunged down to beat away a shot by Jake Livermore and then leapt up to palm the follow-up from Modric over the bar. Before a quarter of the tie had been played he had repeated the feat, pushing away Emmanuel Adebayor's shot and holding Bale's effort.

In between times one Bale shot rippled the side-netting and another curled at just the wrong time, veering off target at the last moment. Bolton by then were forced into a change that did not help any attacking intent: Darren Pratley fouled Bale and suffered the indignity of seeing a yellow card being held up as he departed on a stretcher. Mark Davies and Chris Eagles had replaced Muamba and Martin Petrov from the original tie, but their team took a long time to even suggest they could replicate the goal that Pratley had forced in off Bale early on that day. When Carlo Cudicini held Ivan Klasnic's shot in the 69th minute it was his first save of the match.

Van der Vaart's dipping free-kick hit the bar with Bogdan for once beaten and the goalkeeper saved twice more at close range from Van der Vaart and Adebayor. Three-quarters of the game had gone when Tottenham sent on Jermain Defoe and finally broke through twice in almost as many minutes. Nelsen headed in Van der Vaart's corner at the far post and in the next move, the substitute set up Bale for the goal he deserved more than anyone.

Bolton supporters believing in miracles in Muamba's case must have hoped for a footballing one when Davies scored but Saha's riposte was almost immediate.

Man of the match Bale.

Match rating 7/10.

Referee H Webb (S Yorkshire).

Attendance 30,718.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week