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May 12, 2013
• Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Referee: K. Friend
• Attendance: 27531
S. N'Zonzi 3'
C. Dempsey 20'
E. Adebayor 83'
90' + 4'
Full-time! Tottenham, thanks to former Arsenal man Adebayor, have claimed three absolutely vital points in the race for Champions League. They had to come from behind after Nzonzi's early goal, but after Dempsey's fine finish and the Togo international's late tap-in, Villas-Boas will be a very happy man as they leapfrog their rivals - who play Wigan on Tuesday - into fourth place. Over to you, Gunners.
90' + 3'
Jerome finds Wilson at the far post with a fine ball in, but the defender can only head into the floor and off target.
90' + 2'
Stoke are enjoying possession in these final stages but they have been unable to carve out one last chance thus far.
Four minutes added on.
Tottenham have slowed things right down now as they look to hold on to the victory.
Here's Liam Twomey's reaction: "Is that the goal which ultimately gives Tottenham Champions League football next season? If it is, Arsenal will have Emmanuel Adebayor to thank. For a while it looked as if Stoke might hold out, but this is surely over now."
GOAL!! Adebayor taps home after Dempsey's low cross to surely give Tottenham all three crucial points in the race for a top-four finish! How important could that goal be?! It has to be said, Whitehead's defending was all over the place there.
Robert Huth heads just over the bar after Whitehead's free kick from the left - it's a powerful connection from the defender and he should really do better.
Liam Twomey reports from the ground: "The introduction of Mousa Dembele has given Tottenham greater guile, but they are running out of time to get a winner here. Gareth Bale's miss in particular just moments ago was gilt-edged, and you have to wonder whether this might just not be Tottenham's day - or season."
Vertonghen gets into a great position on the left after a fine Huddlestone ball, but his touch is poor and Cameron intercepts it.
Yellow CardTom Huddlestone
So close Bale!! The Welshman twists neatly in the box before firing just wide with his unfavoured right boot. You'd have put your house on him scoring that with his left.
Another corner for Spurs is headed away as the hosts continue to hold firm.
Dempsey shoots from range but it's tipped over by Begovic.
Yellow CardRyan Shotton
Vertonghen heads just over after a good ball in from the left. That was close and I'm not sure if Begovic had it covered.
Bale hits a free kick at goal but it's deflected behind for a corner. Spurs go short and Walker eventually fires at goal, however it's blocked and the Potters counter.
Huddlestone is stopped at the last by a brilliant Shawcross tackle as Spurs flood forward again. The balls falls to Bale and he fizzes it back across the box but Begovic claims it.
Vertonghen drives a powerful cross into the box but it's hacked away - the second ball comes in from Bale but Dempsey can't get on the end of it.
Parker plays Lennon in behind the Stoke defence but Wilson makes a perfectly-timed sliding interception and halts the attack.
Stoke are already struggling to hold on to the ball and Begovic kicking it straight out for a throw in - as he just has - isn't helping.
Dempsey gets in behind after a lucky break in which the ball hits him on the back - he lays it off to Vertonghen but the defender's first-time effort is wild and way off target.
Spurs are, again, probing left and right as they look for an opening in Stoke's defence. But, once more, they can't find any way past it and end their attack with a poor ball into the box that Begovic claims with ease.
Since that red card Crouch has become quite isolated for Stoke as they sit deep and soak up Tottenham's possession - still no way through for Spurs though.
So close for Spurs! Huddlestone fires at goal after a long spell of of Tottenham passing, it's deflected behind for a corner from which Dempsey is inches away from a second goal. I'm not sure how much he knew about that, though.
RED CARD! Adam picks up a second yellow card for a rash challenge on Vertonghen and is given his marching orders.
Stoke get the second half underway.
Our man Liam Twomey reports from the ground: "Since Charlie Adam's foolish sending off, Tottenham's control of this game has become almost total. The Potters have become even more direct than ever, but the visitors are monopolising the ball and Gareth Bale is probing with intent. A second Spurs goal is surely only a matter of time."
Half-time! After falling behind early on when Nzonzi headed home for Stoke, Tottenham reacted well and grabbed a fantastic equaliser through Dempsey after 20 minutes. The American also had the ball in the net moments before, but it was ruled out for offside. Since the leveller it's been a fairly open game with a few chances for both sides, Bale and Dawson testing Begovic while Adam and Walters are causing Spurs problems, however it has lacked a bit of quality in the final third.
45' + 1'
Adam does well on the right to beat Dempsey before rolling a dangerous ball across the face of the six-yard box, however Spurs scramble it behind for a corner which they also just about clear.
Two minutes added on.
Yellow CardCharlie Adam
Bale cuts in onto his left foot after a decent run and forces Begovic into a smart low save.
Matthew Etherington delivers a great ball in from the left, Dawson does brilliantly to beat Walters to it at the front post before Adam gets there ahead of Vertonghen at the back stick.
Yellow CardAsmir Begovic
Begovic picks up a silly booking for an exchange of words with the referee.
Michael Dawson gets away from his marker, Ryan Shawcross, and forces a good stop out of Begovic after Bale's ball in.
Tottenham waste a second corner in quick succession as Tom Huddlestone's ball clears everyone in the box and rolls out for a throw.
Yellow CardRobert Huth
Crouch nearly gets on the end of a teasing ball into the Spurs box but Lloris get to it just in time.
Adebayor gives the ball away as Spurs look to break. Shotton chucks another long throw in towards the visitors' box but it's just about cleared.
Bale is caught by a late Nzonzi challenge - Stoke have made a fair few of those thus far this afternoon.
Emmanuel Adebayor isn't really offering any threat up front for Tottenham at the moment. They are enjoying plenty of ball outside the Stoke box but have lacked penetration as another attack ends with an offside.
Lennon, Parker and Walker try to work an opening on the right flank but have no luck getting through the solid Stoke defence and are forced backwards.
Bale gets in behind Shotton on two occasions, thanks to his electrifying turn of pace, but the defender does well to concede a corner - which Peter Crouch clears.
A promising Spurs attack breaks down after a sloppy pass from Parker.
Bale drives a free kick at goal from way out but he can't get it to dip far enough and it flies over the bar.
GOAL!! Dempsey equalises with a fantastic instinctive finish! Scott Parker tries to play Aaron Lennon in behind the Stoke defence but the defender cuts it out. However the ball falls to the American with Begovic out of position and the Spurs attacker finds the back of the net with an improvised first-time shot.
Spurs are in the middle of a prolonged spell of possession but they aren't really going anywhere as their opponents pack the midfield.
Goal! No, wait - Dempsey is flagged offside as he directs Walker's off-target shot home. Still 1-0.
The ball finds Jonathan Walters at the back post and the attacker is able to nod it back across goal, however Lloris is on hand to punch it clear.
Kyle Walker attempts a cross-field ball to Jan Vertonghen but gets it all wrong and gifts the hosts a thrown in, from which they win a corner...
Clint Dempsey finds Bale with a bit of space the centre, just outside the Stoke box. The Welshman hits it first time but it's way over the bar.
Ryan Shotton launches a long throw into the Spurs box but the visiting defence get in clear. The ball comes back at Villas-Boas's men, but again they hack it away.
Bale runs into Marc Wilson at speed and goes down clutching his ribs. The travelling Spurs fans collectively hold their breath but it seems like he'll be ok.
Great save! Gareth Bale strikes at goal from way out but Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic does brilliantly to tip it over.
Tottenham are enjoying a little spell of possession now as they look to get back into this one.
GOAL!! What a start for the hosts! Stoke take an early lead as Steven Nzonzi heads home after Charlie Adam's free kick delivery. It was a perfect, inswinging ball from the former Liverpool man, with the Potters midfielder able to get in front of his man at the near post and beat Hugo Lloris.
Tottenham get us underway.
Here's more from our man in Stoke, Liam Twomey: "There aren't too many empty seats at the Britannia today, and the eye is instantly drawn to the home fans wearing red and white T-shirts to create a stripe effect in the stands. Whatever their gripes with Tony Pulis, the home crowd look and sound like they intend to make this atmosphere as intimidating as possible for Spurs on Stoke's last home match of the season."
While Tottenham are still chasing a top-four spot, Stoke are not quite mathematically safe from relegation. A point today would see them completely home and dry, and the omens suggest that could be the case with Villas-Boas' previous two league meetings with Stoke (one with Spurs and one with Chelsea) ending 0-0.
Tottenham go into this one in fifth place, one point behind Arsenal who are in fourth and six behind Chelsea in third - though the Blues have played one more game than both north London clubs. With the Gunners up against FA Cup winners Wigan on Tuesday, Spurs have the chance to leapfrog above them today and put the pressure on Arsene Wenger's side.
And here's the reaction from our man at the ground, Liam Twomey reports: "Andre Villas-Boas knows nothing less than a win will keep Tottenham's top four hopes alive today, and has picked his team accordingly. The Portuguese has largely kept faith with the side which drew 2-2 with Chelsea on Wednesday, although super-sub Gylfi Sigurdsson is once again consigned to the bench. Lewis Holtby and Benoit Assou-Ekotto also make way, while Emmanuel Adebayor keeps his place up front after producing his best performance of the season against the Blues. Meanwhile, Matthew Etherington and Dean Whitehead replace Cameron Jerome and Glenn Whelan for Stoke's last home match of the season."
Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Caulker, Dawson, Vertonghen; Lennon, Huddlestone, Parker, Dempsey; Bale; Adebayor. Subs: Friedel, Naughton, Carroll, Dembele, Holtby, Sigurdsson, Defoe.
Stoke: Begovic; Shotton, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Adam, Whitehead, Nzonzi, Etherington; Walters, Crouch. Subs: Sorensen, Cameron, Jones, Owen, Kightly, Wilkinson, Jerome.
There's lots to talk about ahead of this one, but first of all, let's bring you the team news …
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play text commentary of Tottenham's trip to the Britannia Stadium where they face Stoke City in today's early Premier League fixture. Andre Villas-Boas' men will be desperate to spoil the Potters' 150th anniversary this afternoon, with them still chasing a top-four finish, but with the hosts unbeaten in their last three games against Spurs it won't be easy.
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