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August 21, 2010 3:00 PM BST
 
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Stoke City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Gareth Bale Scores Twice As Spurs Show No Hangover From Champions League Tie

Superb performance by the Wales international clinches away win...

By Chris Davie

EPL,Gareth Bale,Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City(Getty Images)
A year ago, Tottenham Hotspur had not won a Premier League game in which Gareth Bale had featured; what a difference 12 months makes.

It was an astonishing record the 21-year-old held following his arrival from Southampton in 2007 - the winger had not been part of a winning Spurs side in the 24 league matches he had played.

If you asked a Spurs fan where they would be in a year's time at the start of last season, even the optimistic among the White Hart Lane faithful wouldn’t have predicted Bale scoring a brace by half time away to Stoke City, just four days after playing in a Champions League qualifier.

But it just shows how much the club and the Welsh international have developed during that period.

The question for Spurs and indeed for manager Harry Redknapp, was how they would recover from a midweek game in the Champions League. When scanning the fixture list, a trip to the Britannia Stadium is always treated with caution but heading to Stoke’s fortress just days after a Champions League game sounded arduous.

Redknapp equipped his team to match the ruggedness of the home side. Wilson Palacios was deployed to marshal occasions such as these. Peter Crouch acted as the lone striker and it appeared the Spurs manager was fighting fire with fire.

After an even opening, Spurs made the breakthrough in the 19th minute and their opening goal came partly through a stroke of good fortune and some excellent play from Aaron Lennon.

The Spurs midfielder’s first touch from a long ball took Robert Huth out of the game and after cutting inside, Lennon delivered a delicate pass over Stoke’s defence to Bale, whose effort was pushed into the path of Peter Crouch, but the striker’s header was cleared off the line by Ryan Shawcross. Unfortunately for the Potters centre-back, it hit the Welsh winger and went into the net.

Tottenham’s defensive frailties were exposed numerous times during the opening 30 minutes in Switzerland on Tuesday, and likewise, Tony Pulis’ side took half an hour to find a way past Heurelho Gomes.

A Matthew Etherington corner was the subject of poor marking from the Spurs back-line and Ricardo Fuller found space in front of Gomes and finished well. The Brazilian keeper was aggrieved at Robert Huth’s successful attempt to impair his vision, but he would have been better suited to venting his frustration towards his slack team-mates.

Spurs regained the lead five minutes later following a superb volley from Bale. Lennon was once again involved in Spurs’ build-up play and his ball to the edge of the area was met by the Welshman, who showed excellent technique to guide his shot into the top corner with his left foot.


Welsh flyer | Bale maintains his impressive form and scores a brace for Spurs

Tottenham started the second half brightly but were quickly put on the back foot by the home side.

Stoke’s reliable long-throw source of Rory Delap was not enough as Spurs maintained organisation at the back and defended set-pieces well.

Gomes was called into action in the 68th minute following a superb long-range strike from substitute Tuncay. The Brazilian goalkeeper was equal to the effort from the Turkish striker, who had looked lively when he came on.

Bale was denied his third seven minutes before the end. After bearing down on goal, the Welshman attempted a lob over Thomas Sorensen but the Stoke 'keeper managed to save.

Gomes kept Spurs in the game late on with another fine stop from Fuller at his near post.

Following a summer of goal-line technology controversy, it was inevitable the debate would find its way into the Premier League and one minute into injury time, debutant Jon Walters had a header cleared off the line by Peter Crouch, replays were inconclusive and the referee waved off the Stoke protests.

Spurs managed to hold out for the three points, proving that they have a squad capable, for the time being, of balancing between European and domestic pleasures.

Watch the goals from the exciting clash here.

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Stoke

29
Thomas Sørensen
Goalkeeper
0.00
5
Danny Collins
Defender
0.00
17
Ryan Shawcross
Defender
73′
0.00
4
Robert Huth
Defender
0.00
25
Abdoulaye Faye
Defender
0.00
6
Glenn Whelan
Midfielder
63′
0.00
18
Dean Whitehead
Midfielder
52′
0.00
24
Rory Delap
Midfielder
85′
0.00
26
0.00
10
0.00
19
0.00

Tottenham

0.00
1
Gomes
Goalkeeper
0.00
22
0.00
20
0.00
4
0.00
32
0.00
7
Aaron Lennon
Midfielder
87′
0.00
8
Jermaine Jenas
Midfielder
0.00
8
0.00
8
W. Palacios
Midfielder
54′
0.00
11
Gareth Bale
Midfielder
20′ 30′
0.00
25

Substitutes

1
Asmir Begovic
Goalkeeper
0.00
28
0.00
-
Danny Pugh
Midfielder
0.00
23
Michael Tonge
Midfielder
89′
0.00
11
0.00
17
Tuncay Şanlı
Midfielder
63′
0.00

Substitutes

0.00
26
Ben Alnwick
Goalkeeper
0.00
16
0.00
5
S. Bassong
Defender
0.00
14
Jake Livermore
Midfielder
0.00
3
Danny Rose
Midfielder
0.00
2
Kyle Walker
Defender
87′

Coach/Manager

-
0.00

Coach/Manager

0.00
-
 
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