How quickly Tottenham's euphoria was shattered. Their record at this ground is poor – no win in 10 Premier League games now – but, four days after downing the champions of Europe on a sparkling night at White Hart Lane, this was more than a hangover moment; it was a proper thumping.
Tottenham scored two super late goals – the second a sizzling angled volley from Roman Pavlyuchenko of breathtaking technical quality – but they were flattered to be on the scoresheet as Bolton, full of energyand invention, tore them apart.
Owen Coyle attached his Icelandic full-back Gretar Steinsson to Gareth Bale and Tottenham's man of the moment, for whom £50 million is now the market rate, apparently, after his brilliance against Internazionale, was largely frozen out.
But there was far more to Bolton's game plan than stifling the opposition. Steinsson performed his principal task superbly and even found time to score, stroking home Bolton's second goal at the conclusion of the best move of the 90 minutes.
It was a piece of football that emphasised the kind of team Bolton have become under Coyle. They still use their strengths, as Sam Allardyce always would insist, and Kevin Davies was in the thick of it, with two goals to make it six in his last four games here against Tottenham.
But there is much more to their play now, with a deep layer of imagination on top of the discipline, in no one more so than Lee Chung-Yong, who produced enough moments of clever ball play to have been man of the match had Davies not risen to the presence of Fabio Capello in the audience by giving the England manager every reason to give him his second cap against France this month.
Davies put Bolton ahead after 31 minutes. He was probably offside when Johan Elmander, capitalising on Fabrice Muamba's dispossession of Sandro, found him unmarked between Tottenham's centrebacks, but his finish was high quality, as it was when he scored his second, from the penalty spot, after Lee had been brought down, to give the home side a 3-0 lead with 14 minutes left.
In between, Lee, Matt Taylor and Elmander had combined to set up Steinsson with the poise and flow of an accomplished passing side but it was Davies who dominated. His brilliant flick of the head in stoppage time sent the Bulgarian substitute Martin Petrov away to net Bolton's fourth.
Having defended so well until 11 minutes from time when Alan Hutton cut across Taylor and Paul Robinson to curl a wonderful shot beyond Jussi Jaaskelainen, Bolton's back four looked crestfallen. When Pavlyuchenko, in a Marco van Basten moment, then rifled home his stunning effort, they were exposed to the threat of an unlikely comeback.
But Coyle spared them any criticism. He said:"I felt Tottenham were there to be beaten but you are always respectful that they can hit you like that and I don't think we could have done much about either goal. But rather than concentrate on their players I wanted us to show what we could do."
Bale was not anonymous, by any means. On the occasions Tottenham worked the angles to give him daylight on the left, he delivered crosses that Peter Crouch might have put to better use.
"I thought he was our best player," Redknapp said, pointing out that an injury list containing Aaron Lennon, Jermaine Defoe, Rafael van der Vaart, Michael Dawson, Robbie Keane and Ledley King would have provided at least five starters in his line-up.
"But no disrespect to Bolton. As I found with Portsmouth, it is easy to get up for a game like this and they worked their socks off."
Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the match: K Davies
Match rating: 8/10Reuse content