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17:35 24th September 2011


Ten-man Latics fall just short in fightback against Spurs

Diame 50
Gohouri sent-off 63

Van der Vaart 3
Bale 23

By Iain McMullen

A spirited fightback from ten-man Latics was not enough to avoid defeat this afternoon, as they went down 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur at the DW Stadium.

A pulsating second half performance dragged Roberto Martinez's men back into a game which had seemed beyond them at half-time, before they eventuall fell to a first home defeat since February.

Both sides had enjoyed a contrast in fortunes coming into the game; Spurs secured a magnificent four-goal victory over Liverpool last week, while Latics were sunk at Goodison Park by Everton.

After two consecutive defeats Roberto Martinez's men were looking to get the season back on track but were without the services of Hugo Rodallega who is out with a knee injury.

There was some good news for the manager however, as Steve Gohouri came back into the side to make his first appearance of the season.

Harry Redknapp brought Sandro and Dutchman, Rafael van der Vaart into his starting XI as Spurs looked to build on last week's impressive result.

It was a bright start for the Londoners as they moved the ball about the pitch with intent from the opening whistle, the midfield duo of Parker and Modric linking up well to cause some early problems.

Latics were still attempting to get a foothold in the game when Maynor Figueroa's weak back pass was picked up by Adebayor 40 yards from goal.

The Togolese hitman worked his way into the penalty area and played a simple ball to Rafael van der Vaart, who smashed it past a helpless Ali Al Habsi to make it 1-0 with less than three minutes gone.

Latics battled back however and Momo Diame almost created an opportunity when his fine run was halted just as he was about to fire a cross in the six-yard box.

In the 22nd minute the home side found themselves two down when Gareth Bale rose well to head a Luka Modric cross past Al Habsi.

It was a fine finish by the young Welshman and little more than his side deserved.

Bale almost grabbed another five minutes later when his powerful header flew just over the crossbar, leaving a furious Al Habsi to berate his defence.

There was no lack of effort from Roberto Martinez's men as they closed the visitors down well, James McCarthy and Franco Di Santo both chasing every ball, but Spurs were playing some fantastic possession football which made a mockery of the two heavy defeats they suffered in the opening weeks of the season.

Adebayor forced Al Habsi into a smart save minutes before a difficult first half ended, and there was a sense of frustration as the sides went donw the tunnel at the break.

Dutchman Ronnie Stam replaced Jordi Gomez at half-time as Martinez looked for a better performance from his side, and the effect was immediate as Latics began with a verve that was lacking from the first 45 minutes.

The crowd finally found their voice and there was a new sense of belief reverberating around the DW Stadium with Spurs beginning to look vulnerable.

The goal finally came following some indecisive defending form the away side.

Mohammed Diame picked up the ball on the edge of the area and was afforded the time to unleash a low drive that nestled in the corner of Brad Friedel's goal.

Latics began to increase the tempo of the game following the strike, and Harry Redknapp was becoming increasingly animated on the touchline as his saw his side beginning to make mistakes.

In the 62nd minute however, Latics were reduced to ten men when Steve Gohouri picked up his second yellow card following a heavy challenge on Adebayor near the touchline.

James McArthur and Connor Summon were brought into the fray with 20 minutes remaining, with both soon providing some much needed impetus for Latics as they searched for the elusive second goal.

The man advantage allowed Spurs to work the ball around the pitch but they were hounded all the way by a tigerish McArthur and McCarthy in the centre of midfield.

Luka Modric cannoned a sweetly-struck free-kick off the crossbar with five minutes remaining but Latics kept their composure and fought magnificently until the referee brought the encounter to an unsatisfactory end following four minutes of added time.

Latics:Al Habsi; Gohouri, Caldwell, Figueroa, Van Aanholt, Diame, Watson (McArthur, 72), McCarthy, Moses, Di Santo (Sammon, 72), Gomez (Stam, 45)

Unused Subs: Kirkland, Crusat, Maloney, Jones

Tottenham: Friedel; Walker, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto, Modric, Parker, Sandro (Livermore, 90), Bale, Van der Vaart (Dos Santos, 77), Adebayor

Unused Subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Corluka, Townsend, Carroll

    Data provided by Press Association