Kanouté dismissed as late double breaks Spurs' resolve

Bolton Wanderers 3 - Tottenham Hotspur 1
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The Independent Online

Another victory for Greater Manchester over North London, although Bolton's defeat of Tottenham lacked the resonance of events at Highbury.

Another victory for Greater Manchester over North London, although Bolton's defeat of Tottenham lacked the resonance of events at Highbury.

In the record books, Bolton's sixth successive victory seems absolutely emphatic, although it was only sealed once Tottenham were reduced to 10 men following Frédéric Kanouté's dismissal. Bolton, however, rammed home their advantage rather better than Arsenal did as first Tal Ben Haim, with a header from a corner, and Kevin Davies profiting from a hopelessly stretched defence, finished off a well worked move.

The last time Martin Jol took Tottenham to these parts he watched Pedro Mendes' shot at Old Trafford land a yard behind the goal line and saw the benefit of the doubt go to the goalkeeper. Since that incident a month ago, Spurs had not won in the Premiership and last night they felt damned by two more refereeing decisions. The handball given against Erik Edman as he jumped with Davies looked harsh and became harder to swallow when El-Hadji Diouf converted the penalty but Jol was driven to fury by the dismissal of Kanouté, for a second bookable offence, after an ill-judged tackle on Anthony Barness.

The referee, Mike Dean, could hardly have been criticised for showing the striker a yellow card for a typical centre-forward's tackle but had Kanoute not earlier got himself booked for dissent he might have completed the match.

Had he stayed Tottenham might have won. They had cancelled out Diouf's penalty when, three minutes after coming on, Jermain Defoe seized on a ball from Robbie Keane, turned his marker and shot in one movement. Defoe's speed of thought deserved a goal although Jussi Jaaskelainen could have done better with the shot.

Before kick-off, Bolton paraded Vincent Candela, the latest ageing talent Sam Allardyce had enticed to the Reebok Stadium. You hoped Candela thought the journey from Rome worthwhile, although the French international would have been confident of his chances of getting a game. Andy Reid and Michael Dawson, who had cost Tottenham £8m from Nottingham Forest but who did not make Martin Jol's squad, might have felt the same.

The sheer dreadfulness of much of the match could be gauged from the fact that a general groan went up around the Reebok when the fourth official indicated there were four minutes of first-half stoppage time.

It is rare to go through 45 minutes of football where almost nothing happened but aside from a couple of interventions from Kanouté, who showed some unexpected bursts of sharpness around the box, the two sides lacked anything that might be called invention.

Bolton Wanderers: (4-1-3-2) Jaaskelainen; Barness (Fadiga, 77), Ben Haim, N'Gotty, Gardner; Campo; Giannakopoulos (Hierro, 88), Nolan, Speed; Diouf, Davies (Pedersen, 90). Substitutes not used: Poole (gk), Jaidi.

Tottenham Hotspur: (4-4-2) Robinson; Kelly, King, Gardner, Edman (Defoe, 63); Davies, Carrick, Brown, Atouba; Kanoute, Keane. Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Bunjevcevic, Mido, Marney.

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).

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