Van der Vaart off the mark to leave Wolves howling

Tottenham Hotspur 3, Wolves 1

Tottenham Hotspur were rewarded for their self-belief here yesterday as they recorded their first home win and first home goals of the season in the Premier League yesterday.

Wolverhampton Wanderers took the lead late in the first half and looked on course to repeat their victory here last season until the 77th minute, when Rafael van der Vaart marked an impressive home debut with the equaliser from a penalty. Although the home side's two late goals, scored by substitutes Roman Pavlyuchenko and Alan Hutton, both had touches of fortune about them, Spurs deserved credit for their perseverance.

"I was disappointed to be 1-0 down at half-time, but not by the way we'd played," Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, said. "We stuck at it, and the three subs all came on and played their parts."

Mick McCarthy, the Wolves manager, said his team had been architects of their own downfall. "We've contrived to give that away," he said. "Marcus Hahnemann made two world-class saves but we should have had a penalty in the first half."

With Aaron Lennon on the bench, Younes Kaboul, the right-back, was expected to provide the width on the right, but the plan took a long time to bear fruit, after Hutton had replaced the injured Kaboul and earned the penalty from which Van der Vaart levelled the score.

However, the flaw in the system was exposed after only nine minutes when, with Kaboul marooned upfield, Matt Jarvis skinned Benoît Assou-Ekotto and bore down on the near post, falling under a challenge from William Gallas. There was no reaction from the officials, but plenty on the Wolves' bench, who were on their feet to a man.

But once Tottenham had made their first chance after 24 minutes, Gareth Bale sent clear of the defence by Jermaine Jenas' through pass to test Hahnemann, the openings began to emerge. Hahnemann was soon in action again, fingertipping the ball over after Van der Vaart's dipping volley and a powerful header for the top corner from Peter Crouch.

When Robbie Keane glanced a header wide after 39 minutes, it seemed only a matter of time before Tottenham took the lead. So of course, Wolves did. David Jones spotted an overlapping run by Kevin Foley and, with the home defence half-expecting an offside decision, Foley crossed low for the unmarked Steven Fletcher to score from close range.

"One-nil to the dirty boys," the visiting supporters crowed, in reference to their team's 13 bookings and one sending-off in their previous two matches, but Tottenham kept going. Hutton curled a shot inches wide, Van der Vaart did likewise, and finally Hutton was brought down by Stephen Ward. Van der Vaart converted the penalty with ease, sending Hahnemann the wrong way.

The goal was well-deserved after an impressive performance by the Dutchman, who had begun on the right but with licence to roam – which may change when Luka Modric returns from injury next week. "I can see them playing together," Redknapp said. "His best position is behind two strikers, and that's difficult the way we set up. But he's a good player and he'll fit in with the way we want to play."

Redknapp sent on Lennon five minutes from time, and his first contribution led to a goal. Wolves could not clear his cross from the right, and Tom Huddlestone's shot was deflected by Karl Henry into the path of Pavlyuchenko, who could not miss. To rub it in, Tottenham added a third in a freakish manner, Richard Stearman's attempted clearance rebounding off Hutton and into the net.

"The players were fabulous for most of the game, but you can't give Champions' League teams chances like that," McCarthy said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
books
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
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

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn