Flying high: Peter Crouch attempts an overhead kick against Portsmouth; he would later score a header in Spurs' 2-0 win

Tottenham remained ahead in the race for fourth as Peter Crouch and Niko Kranjcar both scored against their old team in a 2-0 win over bottom club Portsmouth. Spurs, chasing a fifth successive Premier League victory, started slowly, but went ahead when Crouch nodded in a deep cross from Gareth Bale before Kranjcar netted from close range five minutes before the break.

Pompey – who are all but relegated following a nine-point deduction for going into administration – actually had the better of the early exchanges. However, Anthony Vanden Borre failed to beat the goalkeeper when clean through and the visitors then lost defender Hermann Hreidarsson to what looked a serious ankle injury at the start of the second, while England goalkeeper David James also went off – and could now be a doubt for the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley in a fortnight against Spurs, who are five points clear of Manchester City in the race for the final Champions League qualifying place.

It had been a bright start by Pompey, who were thrashed 5-0 at home by Chelsea in midweek. Kanu – who scored the winning goal in the 2008 FA Cup final for then Pompey boss Harry Redknapp – tried his luck from 25 yards, but dragged the ball wide. Pompey continued to have more possession, but without making any real threat in the final third.

Michael Dawson had to be alert to cut out a low centre from Kanu at the near post. In the 16th minute David Bentley – recalled to the starting XI following his fine second-half display in the midweek FA Cup win over Fulham – swung the ball over and found Crouch at the far post, but the former Pompey striker could only guide his header back across goal.

It should have been 1-0 to the visitors when Frederic Piquionne played a clever one-two with Vanden Borre to put the Belgian clear in the area, but Heurelho Gomes came out to smother.

At the other end, James – whose mis-kick had handed Chelsea the lead in midweek – was on hand to collect a goal-bound deflection from Hreidarsson as Spurs delivered another teasing cross into the Pompey danger area.

Tottenham grabbed the lead in the 27th minute as Bale charged down the left and chipped the ball into the area and Crouch got ahead of the defenders to nod the ball down past James for his 11th goal of the season.

It was nearly 2-0 when Dawson flashed a header wide after he connected with another fine delivery from Bentley. After such a promising start, Pompey were unfortunate to find themselves now chasing the game.

Tom Huddlestone cracked a 25-yard effort against the bar, before Crouch's dipping volley also came back off the woodwork, glancing the outside of the far post, and the second goal came with five minutes of the half remaining. Luka Modric's shot was blocked and the ball fell kindly to Kranjcar, who flicked it on into the bottom corner to also net against his old club.

Pompey then almost pulled a goal back immediately when Kanu's downward header found Michael Brown, but Gomes was again out quickly to deny the former Spurs midfielder. Play was stopped at the start of the second half when Hreidarsson fell awkwardly at a Spurs corner. The Icelander was eventually carried off on a stretcher, taking gas for the pain with his ankle strapped in a protective cast.

As the hour approached, Gomes needed two attempts to gather in a low, 20-yard drive from Kanu. Brown then flashed a shot wide from just outside the area as Pompey continued to take the game to the hosts. Pompey's miserable afternoon was complete when sub Danny Webber also left the field on a stretcher following an innocuous-looking challenge with Benoit Assou-Ekotto, while James was also forced off by injury.