Wolves last night completed their first Premier League double, an exquisitely crafted and sweetly-taken goal by David Jones ensuring that they also defeated Tottenham twice in a season for the first time in 56 years and dealt another blow to Spurs' hopes of a top-four finish.
The 1953-54 campaign ended with Stan Cullis' Wolves raising the old-gold standard over the entire Football League. This year, Mick McCarthy will settle for top-flight survival, and by his reckoning before this, their first win since 20 December, a side now up to 15th place need another five victories in the final 13 games.
Spurs, who did not deserve the point that would have restored them to fourth spot, have won just once in six matches while scoring a mere three league goals in 2010. Until stoppage time, when Wilson Palacios' deflected effort induced palpitations among the Molineux faithful before being clutched by Marcus Hahnemann, they mustered a single shot on target.
McCarthy, asked whether he was surprised to take six points from Spurs, answered by saying he "never thought we'd lose at home to Portsmouth, Wigan or West Ham". Wolves had led at Birmingham on Sunday only to fall to two late goals by Kevin Phillips, but their manager never sensed they would suffer a repeat failure. "Birmingham had their Johnny-on-the-spot, but we were terrific this time," he said.
Harry Redknapp, who faces a court hearing today to answer charges concerning his tax affairs, struggled to explain "our worst performance of the season" and "a very costly defeat". The Spurs manager added: "Wolves played the extra man in midfield and one up front, which made it difficult for us. We had an awful lot of the ball but didn't create much. In the second half they got plenty of bodies behind the ball and defended their lead well.
"We've been playing very well – we were fantastic against Aston Villa on Saturday and very good at Birmingham and Leeds. So it's difficult to put your finger on it. We've had a lot of games [eight in 25 days] and one or two were looking a bit tired, so I rested a few and changed some around. But credit to Wolves – they ran their socks off and we didn't play well."
At White Hart Lane, Kevin Doyle's goal left Wolves with 87 minutes to defend their advantage. On this occasion, after Hahnemann made an important early save when Niko Kranjcar raced clear, they were comparatively tardy in beating Heurelho Gomes. The 27th-minute goal was worth waiting for, following as it did a move comprising 18 passes. It culminated in Jones feeding the ball wide to Matt Jarvis and darting into the penalty area before applying a first-time touch to the winger's cross.
Jones' joy was unconfined – his previous Premier League goal came two years earlier earlier in Derby's 6-1 rout at Chelsea – and two minutes later Martin Clattenburg refused Wolves' appeal for a penalty after Jarvis tumbled under Michael Dawson's challenge. Undaunted, and with on-loan French-Algerian midfielder Aldene Guedioura outshining fellow debutants Eidur Gudjonsen and Younes Kaboul , McCarthy's men grew in confidence.
Redknapp sent on Palacios for Jermaine Jenas and introduced Peter Crouch to partner Defoe for the final half-hour. What did not change, though, was Wolves' collective resolve or Spurs' poverty of imagination in the final third.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-5-1): Hahnemann; Zubar, Craddock, Berra, Ward (Elokobi, 60); Foley, Henry, Jones, Guedioura (Mancienne, 72), Jarvis (Milijas, 81); Doyle. Substitutes not used: Hennessey (gk), Ebanks-Blake, Vokes, Mujangi.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-1-1): Gomes; Kaboul, Dawson, Bassong, Bale; Bentley, Huddlestone, Jenas (Palacios, h-t), Kranjcar (Modric, 72); Gudjohnsen (Crouch, 63; Defoe. Substitutes not used: Alnwick (gk), Pavlyuchenko, Corluka, Walker.
Referee: M Clattenburg (Co Durham).
Booked: Wolves Doyle, Elokobi; Tottenham Palacios.
Man of the match: Guedioura.
Attendance: 27,992.Reuse content