Wolves stun Spurs on travels
Tottenham Hotspur's hopes of maintaining their UEFA Champions League hopes were dealt a blow by Wolverhampton Wanderers, after Kevin Doyle scored the only goal at White Hart Lane. Harry Redknapp's men drew their previous two Premier League games and this defeat had the hallmarks of Stoke City's smash-and-grab performance in October.
Mick McCarthy's side defended heroicly to hold on to their lead, earning them a fourth league win of the season and boosting their ambitions of survival this season - suddenly facing Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool before the end of the month is less daunting.
Redknapp's men scored nine in their previous home game, against Wigan Athletic, but Wolves ripped up the formbook with their opener from a move that started with Tom Huddlestone fouling Karl Henry on the right flank. Nenad Milijas swung over the cross and Doyle got in front of Michael Dawson to get the merest touches past Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
Inevitably after such an early goal, Wolves had to withstand pressure, although Tottenham's chances straight after the opener were not of the clear-cut variety. It was down to Jody Craddock and Christophe Berra to throw themselves at everything Spurs could throw at them.
Robbie Keane, playing against the club he started his career at, attempted to get Tottenham back in the game but when he had sight of goal from Niko Kranjcar's through ball, Craddock leant on him enough for Marcus Hahnemann to claim. Jermain Defoe fired a long-range effort straight at Hahnemann, then Keane got even closer when his finish went just over after Wilson Palacios' pass slipped through the Wolves defence.
Wolves' hard-working display was epitomised by Henry, although he earned a booking for two fouls on Tom Huddlestone within a minute of each other. Aaron Lennon had a quiet game by his standards and when he did have a shot Stephen Ward bravely got his body in the way.
Before the break Keane headed onto the roof of the net and Defoe failed to get purchase on his finish after Vedran Corluka found him the penalty area. Huddlestone also had a chance, going to ground after a Craddock challenge but managing to get a shot away from close range, which went wide.
Just like the first half, Wolves started well in the second. Doyle turned provider three minutes after the restart but Gomes was equal to Sylvan Ebanks-Blake's angled shot. Luka Modric, on his return from a fractured fibula suffered in August, was only meant to given 20 minutes action but he was introduced just before the hour mark, such was Spurs' urgency.
Redknapp did not have David Bentley to call upon as the midfielder was left out of the matchday squad following a training ground friendly in the week when he was accused of lacking effort. Jermaine Jenas and Roman Pavlyuchenko were not included either but Peter Crouch was among the substitutes and came on with Modric, as Keane and Palacios made way.
Crouch headed over the crossbar from Kranjcar's corner in the move after he came off the bench. Wolves were also forced into a change as David Edwards slipped awkwardly on the slick turf - and he returned from the dressing room with an ice-pack on his ankle.
Kranjcar stabbed wide before kicking the post in frustration, then he was replaced by Giovani dos Santos, who had recovered from a long-term ankle injury. Huddlestone forced Hahnemann into a fine stop before the end but Wolves held on for their first victory on Spurs' turf since 1973.