Tottenham Hotspur 3 Stoke City 1

Last updated : 27 January 2009 By Footymad Previewer
Tottenham recorded a crucial 3-1 win over fellow strugglers Stoke City to move clear of the bottom three and ease their relegation worries.

Harry Redknapp's side had gone six league games without a win and were hovering just above the relegation zone, but they showed all their fighting qualities to clinch a crucial three points at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham raced into a three-goal lead after Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe and Michael Dawson put the home side in pole position after just 23 minutes.

James Beattie pulled a goal back for Stoke early in the second half to ensure a nervy end to the game, but Tottenham held on to give them the perfect confidence boost ahead of another vital six-pointer against Bolton on Saturday.

With new signings Wilson Palacios and Pascal Chimbonda to come into the reckoning, Redknapp must be confident that his side will retain their Premier League status.

Tottenham got off to a dream start on eight minutes. Defoe's pass picked out Lennon, who raced into the box and fired his shot through the legs of Thomas Sorensen.

Stoke had a golden chance to grab an equaliser on 16 minutes. Matthew Etherington's cross picked out Ryan Shawcross, who rose above the Tottenham defence and flicked a close-range header inches over the bar.

The away team were made to pay as Defoe added a second for Tottenham on 20 minutes.

Roman Pavlyuchenko played the perfect through ball to his strike partner and Defoe showed all his predatory instincts to fire the ball past Sorensen into the corner of the net.

Things got even worse for Stoke when Dawson made it 3-0 on 25 minutes.

David Bentley's curling free-kick produced a superb save from Sorensen, who tipped the ball over the bar.

From the resulting corner, Luka Modric played a perfect cross into the path of Dawson, who powered a close-range header into the back of the net.

The home side should have made it four on 27 minutes when Lennon saw his shot cleared off the line by Andy Wilkinson.

The game should have been over, but Stoke showed all their fighting qualities and pulled a goal back on 57 minutes.

Etherington chipped the ball into the path of Beattie, who struck a crisp shot past Tottenham's new signing Carlo Cudicini into the corner of the net.

Tottenham had strong claims for a penalty turned down on 66 minutes when Shawcross appeared to push Lennon inside the box but referee Mike Riley refused to point to the spot.

Stoke then blew a golden chance to pull another goal back on 84 minutes when Richard Cresswell's header flew just past the post as the home side held on to record a priceless three points.