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Sloppy Wigan made to pay for poor first half

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Wigan 1
(Diame, 50)

Tottenham 2
(Van der Vaart 3, Bale 27)

Tottenham made hard work of their 2-1 win away to Wigan on Saturday as the hosts saw Steve Gahouri reduced to ten-men in the second half.

Harry Redknapp made two changes from the side that demolished Liverpool on Sunday, Sandro coming in for the injured Niko Kranjcar while Rafael Van see Vaart replaced Jermain Defoe in the Spurs attack, the England man coming down with a virus in the build-up to the game.

And it was the Dutchman who opened the scoring after little more than three minutes, Emmanuel Adebayor picking up on some sloppy defending by Maynor Figeuroa and the Togolese picked out the midfielder who slotted nicely past the oncoming Ali Al Habsi in the Wigan goal.

It could, and perhaps should, have been two after eight minutes as Scott Parker picked out Kyle Walker on the right-flank before the marauding full-back squared to Adebayor but his effort failed to test Al Habsi.

Spurs continued to pressure the Wigan back four and their efforts were rewarded after 23 minutes when a Luka Modric corner was met by Gareth Bale, whose glancing header found the corner of the net.

The trick was almost repeated minutes later, the Welshman heading over on the second attempt before the winger tested Al Habsi once more at the near post following a superb run down the left.

As the half dragged on, Redknapp’s side began to take the game to Wigan but failed to extend their lead with Adebayor having forced Al Habsi into a smart save five minutes before the interval.

Roberto Martinez clearly couldn’t wait for the opening exchanges the end and his half-time words clearly had an effect as the home side pulled one back five minutes after the restart, Diame firing low past Brad Friedel after some sloppy defending from Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

However, any hopes of the home side getting back into the game were severely hindered when Gahouri was given his marching orders, the full-back going in too hard on Bale with the referee forced to pull him back for his second booking of the afternoon.

Spurs attempted to make the one-man advantage count, Assou-Ekotto’s cross just too quick for the arriving Modric while Younes Kaboul almost restored the two-goal advantage from a corner the stemmed from a decent Van der Vaart effort after the Dutchman managed to get his shot away despite pressure from the Wigan defence.

Giovani Dos Santos entered the fold 13 minutes from time and came close to making an immediate impact, teeing up Modric for an effort on the Wigan goal before the Mexican was bought down illegally, the resulting effort hitting the bar after Kaboul’s effort was deflected on to the woodwork.

James McArthur attempted an audacious volley on Friedel’s goal but it proved in vain as Spurs held on for all three points. 9 points gained and sixth in the league for the North London side, who take on Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League on Thursday night.

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