Injury time strike gives Spurs win over Bolton

Tottenham 2 Bolton 1

Substitute Niko Kranjcar struck in injury time to give Tottenham three vital points on a compelling afternoon of action-packed football at White Hart Lane.

It was a spectacular 25-yard strike from the Croatian who has struggled this season to impress manager Harry Redknapp.

The victory keeps Tottenham in the chase for a Champions league place but it was harsh on Bolton, who deserved something after levelling through Daniel Sturridge 10 minutes into the second half following a first period which saw Tottenham handed two penalties within 60 seconds.

Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart netted the first but missed the second after being ordered to retake it by referee Mark Clattenburg, who had spotted players encroaching into the area.

But that hardly tells the story of a game which saw two teams intent on attacking at all cost.

The match could hardly have begun in more spectacular fashion with referee Clattenburg pointing to the spot after just five minutes.

It was a bizarre incident. Peter Crouch rose high to send a header goalwards, which Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen managed to scramble away but only to Vedran Corluka on the ground.

The Croatian tried to play the ball in but it struck Kevin Davies, who was also in a prone position, on the hand.

Van der Vaart stepped up to coolly plant the spot kick past Jaaskelainen.

Less than 60 seconds later the referee was pointing to the spot again after Sam Ricketts hacked down the speeding Aaron Lennon as he slalomed into the area.

Up stepped Van der Vaart once more and once again he planted the ball high to Jaaskelainen's right to send the net rippling.

Unfortunately, this time Clattenburg had spotted Wilson Palacios, among others, encroaching into the area.

He ordered the kick to be retaken and this time Van der Vaart went for the same spot sent the ball the wrong side of the post.

In hindsight Van der Vaart should probably have allowed Jermain Defoe to take the 'third' kick but he is a confident man who probably believes he is going to score from the spot every time.

To say that the first half was lively was something of an understatement. The teams could easily have gone in 4-2 at the break after Bolton's Johan Elmander rapped the Tottenham crossbar with a powerful header.

Crouch, too, had several chances to extend Tottenham's lead and in injury time he was the focal point of another penalty decision.

This time it was Bolton's Mark Davies who was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area from a Crouch header and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot once more.

Fortunately for Bolton the assistant referee's flag was raised, having spotted Crouch in an offside position before the hand ball offence occurred.

Judging by penalty calls and chances alone it would be easy to think it was all Tottenham. It wasn't. There is more culture to Bolton these days under Owen Coyle.

They are much more than a long-ball team even if much of their attacking threat still goes through big striker Kevin Davies.

The arrival of Sturridge from Chelsea promises even more enterprise and the striker was a constant menace to Tottenham's defenders.

It was no surprise when he came up with the equaliser.

It was a neat, flowing move with Mark Davies carrying the ball deep into the Tottenham half before feeding Sturridge who opened up his body to send a left-foot shot swerving under goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, who might have done better.

There were yet more appeals for a penalty when Gary Cahill went tumbling in the Tottenham area under a challenge from Pienaar. Bolton appealed for the penalty and there did appear to be contact but the referee instead booked Cahill for diving.

Jermaine Jenas hit the Bolton post with a stinging free-kick after 63 minutes and Tottenham would have retaken the lead but for a superb point-blank save by Jaaskelainen from new signing Steven Pienaar, who had come on at half-time.

It looked as if Tottenham would have to settle for a point, until Kranjcar stepped up to smash home a winner which might yet be worth millions to Tottenham.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?