Two goals from Emmanuel Adebayor sent Tottenham to its first away victory of the calendar year as it ran out a 4-1 winner against Bolton.
The highlight of the evening was the emotional return of Fabrice Muamba, who walked out onto the pitch to an incredible reception from both sets of fans, just 41 days after he suffered cardiac arrest in the FA Cup match between the sides at White Hart Lane.
Spurs began to take control of possession but were struggling to break through a stubborn home defense. Bale carved out an opportunity as he skipped beyond David Wheater to the byline, but his cut-back fizzed across goal with no-one in a black shirt there to meet it.
Brad Friedel was finally called into action with 35 minutes on the clock. Martin Petrov got away from Kyle Walker, his cross evaded Kevin Davies but Chris Eagles turned it back to N’Gog who was denied from point-blank range by the American.
Signs were encouraging for the hosts, but just a few minutes later, Spurs went in front in sumptuous style.
Van Der Vaart was denied by Bogdan from close range and the ball was cleared for a corner. From the resulting set-piece, the Dutchman picked out Luka Modric on the edge of the area, who chested the ball down before unleashing an unstoppable half-volley into the top corner.
Owen Coyle was furious that the corner had been awarded in the first place after Sandro appeared to handle the ball following Bogdan’s save from Van Der Vaart, but the quality of Modric’s finish could not be called into question.
Bolton then had a penalty shout waved away after William Gallas appeared to handle the ball when challenging N’Gog on the edge of the area, before Boyatta wasted his side’s best chance of the half in the final minute of stoppage time as he lashed over from close range despite the time and space afforded by Spurs’ defenders.
The hosts were in desperate need of a reaction after halftime and, with just five minutes on the clock, they found themselves on level terms.
Kevin Davies flicked a header on to N’Gog, who back-heeled the ball brilliantly into the path of Nigel Reo-Coker who rifled past Friedel from 12 yards.
The Trotters seemed completely rejuvenated, and dominated the opening exchanges of the half. Eagles came within a whisker of making their pressure pay, firing the ball inches over Friedel’s bar following another Boyatta throw-in.
Just when another goal for the hosts seemed inevitable, they found themselves behind after a slick counter-attack from Spurs.
Bale surged down the left flank and pulled the ball across to the arriving Van Der Vaart, who swept home across Bogdan’s goal into the bottom corner to silence the home fans.
And just two minutes later, Harry Redknapp’s side doubled its advantage: Modric found Lennon to the right of the penalty area, who raced past Ricketts before squaring the ball for Adebayor to tap home.
A shell-shocked Bolton responded by bringing on Josh Vela and Ivan Klasnic in a bid to get back in the game, but with 20 minutes to go the game was dead and buried.
Bale and Van Der Vaart combined well in midfield before the Welshman slipped the ball through to Adebayor, who rounded Bogdan before slotting home in front of the jubilant Spurs faithful.
Klasnic did his best to give his side a lift, playing a clever reverse ball to Petrov only for Friedel to deny the Bulgarian, but all the fire seemed to have gone out of the Trotters’ fight.
Adebayor came close to completing his hat trick in the closing stages, bending a shot just over Bogdan’s top left-hand corner, but ultimately Spurs had to settle for four as they eased their way to their first away win of 2012.
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