It's been a week where a hangover has dominated the national discourse but Tottenham supporters were primarily concerned with after-effects of a more metaphorical variety yesterday. Following the home side's Champions League qualifier victory over Young Boys last month, they failed miserably to rouse themselves for their subsequent Premier League encounter against Wigan at White Hart Lane and dropped three sloppy points. Yesterday, after their midweek European trip to Bremen, Tottenham again stumbled and stuttered their way through the 90 minutes against Wolves but they somehow stole all three points with the kind of miraculous comeback the Pope might want to investigate before he leaves London. It was that undeserved.
Poor Wolves. One-nil up with 76 minutes played, they were well worth their lead. They were committed, organised and knew precisely when to throw men forward, which is precisely what they did to take the lead on 45 minutes. It was classic counter-attack stuff. Dave Jones picked up a loose ball on the left, cut inside and played the ball to the onrushing Kevin Foley inside the Tottenham area. The Irish full-back in turn expertly found Steven Fletcher inside the six-yard box, who tapped the ball to the net from close range.
It was that simple, a complete contrast to the way an off-key Tottenham huffed and puffed their way through most of the 90 minutes, even if Hahnemann did have to produce some fine goalkeeping to deny them, particularly early on. In that first half, Bale, a player practically unplayable in current form, was put through on 25 minutes but shot straight at the American. Five minutes later, Rafael van der Vaart chested the ball down and volleyed 18 yards out but Hahnemann's left hand deflected his effort over. Not long after, that same hand tipped over a Peter Crouch header from six yards.
Yet all that hardly constituted an onslaught. Robbie Keane tried his best during his 66 minutes on the pitch but the more he plays at this level, the more out of touch he seems. He had three decent opportunities to score against one of his many former clubs but couldn't take one. The best of the lot came when Bale skinned Foley down the right on 39 minutes and crossed to Keane on the six-yard box, who nodded tamely wide. That said, the Irish captain was unlucky with an instinctive volley on 58 minutes that skimmed just past Hahnemann's post. With Roman Pavlyuchenko on for Keane, Tottenham equalised. Stephen Ward hacked down Alan Hutton and Van der Vaart stood up to stroke the penalty home. The Dutchman was replaced for the final 10 minutes by Aaron Lennon, who was involved in Tottenham taking the lead. The winger's cross from the right, after a typically speedy run, was never properly cleared, allowing Bale to set-up Tom Huddlestone on the edge of the box. The midfielder's ferocious shot was then deflected into the path of Pavlyuchenko eight yards from goal and the Russian tucked it neatly home.
Before the end, Tottenham rubbed more salt into the Wolves's wounds. Hutton, who had quite an impact on the game, chased a ball deep into the opposing penalty area and when Richard Stearman attempted to clear, it deflected off the Scottish full-back and into the net. Harsh on Wolves but the three points will the perfect balm for Tottenham's hangover.