Sunday, 6 March 2011

Wolverhampton 3 - 3 Tottenham

Substitute Steven Fletcher scored a late goal to earn struggling Wolves a valuable point against Tottenham.
Kevin Doyle gave the home side the lead with a flicked header from Nenad Milijas's cross before Jermain Defoe fired in the equaliser from 20 yards.
Defoe scored again from a similar range but Doyle levelled matters from the spot after Alan Hutton fouled Milijas.
Roman Pavlyuchenko's thunderbolt gave Spurs the lead again only for Fletcher deny the visitors with a header.
The goals were half the story in what could be described as one of the most entertaining matches of the season, if not the most.


But once the magic dust has settled, the table reads that Wolves remain in the bottom three, while Spurs failed to leapfrog fourth-placed Chelsea in the race for a Champions League spot.
For the first 20 minutes you could sense the cautious approach of both sides with so much at stake, and it was not until Doyle's first that the contest became the pulsating match we will remember it for.
It was a simple opener, although Doyle needed to adjust his position to head in Milijas's cross after the Serb's initial corner was blocked.
Spurs were going into the match on the back of a heavy defeat at Blackpool and with perhaps some of their focus on Wednesday's Champions home leg against AC Milan.
They also started with striker Defoe, who had yet to score a league goal this season. That statistic was obliterated in stunning style in five first-half minutes.
His first was a brilliant whipped shot from 20 yards after Pavlyuchenko, who was one of Spurs's star performers, laid the ball at the feet of the England forward.
His second was as delicate as the first was fierce - a instinctive curled effort after the loose ball from Luka Modric's block shot came back to him.
But Tottenham held the lead for only five minutes when Wolves were awarded a penalty. Doyle's strike from the edge of the box took a deflection and trickled to the six yard area where Milijas was judged to have had his shirt tugged back by Hutton.
The former Rangers defender escaped a straight red and instead was shown a yellow before Doyle stepped up to slot in the equaliser.
There were fewer goals after the break, but the tempo and action did not relent.
Three minutes after the restart Pavlyuchenko rivalled his colleague Defoe for the goal-of-the-match.
On this occasion, Jermaine Jenas drove to the edge of the area and found Russian who nudged to ball into the box before slamming in high into the net.
Wolves threw everything at Spurs, with Stephen Ward heading wide while Heurelho Gomes produced a fabulous save to push Milijas's low shot on to his post.
And referee Mark Halsey did Harry Redknapp's side a favour when Richard Stearman appeared to head the ball into the back of the net only for the official to blow for a foul on Gomes.
Time and luck appeared to be out for Mick McCarthy's men until the 87th minute when Matt Jarvis dinked the ball into the area for Fletcher, who looped his header over the Spurs keeper.
Before play got under way, there was an emotional tribute to former Wolves and Tottenham player Dean Richards, who died last weekend aged 36 after a long battle with illness.
His widow and two children were joined on the pitch by four representatives of the clubs the defender played for prior to the minute's applause.

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