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Bolton brings Spurs' Euro stars back down to earth

BOLTON: Bolton brought Tottenham back down to earth after the latter's Champions League heroics as the host beat Harry Redknapp's team 4-2 at the Reebok Stadium here on Saturday.

Just four days ago, the Spurs were the toast of Europe after its Gareth Bale-inspired victory against holder Inter Milan.

But the glamour of a White Hart Lane showdown with Europe's finest quickly faded as Kevin Davies fired Bolton ahead from an offside position in the first half before Gretar Rafn Steinsson increased the lead after the interval.

Davies added a third from the penalty spot and, although Alan Hutton and Roman Pavlyuchenko struck for Tottenham to set up a nervous finish, Martin Petrov netted Bolton's fourth as Owen Coyle's side moved into fifth place ahead of Saturday's later games.

With Rafael van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon sidelined with hamstring injuries, Redknapp shuffled his pack and made four changes to the side that defeated Inter in midweek.

Bolton could have taken the lead inside the first minute when South Korean midfielder Lee Chung-yong picked out an unmarked Matt Taylor in the penalty area, but the midfielder failed to test Heurelho Gomes.

Gareth Bale's reputation has soared to new heights since his superb displays against Inter over the last month.

The Spurs winger had tormented Inter right-back Maicon, regarded as one of the best in the world in his position, on Tuesday but his lung-bursting surges down the left weren't quite so effective here.

Bolton punished a mistake by Sandro to take the lead in the 31st minute. Sandro squandered possession to Fabrice Muamba and played the ball on to Taylor, who then slipped it through to Davies.

The England striker was a yard offside, but the flag stayed down and he found the bottom corner.

Tottenham almost drew level in the 52nd minute following a superb free-kick from Bale that shaved the outside of Jussi Jaaskelainen's post.

But the momentum swung back to Bolton as it extended its lead in the 56th minute when Steinsson got on the end of a cut back from Johan Elmander to shoot past Gomes for his first goal of the season.

Davies made it 3-0 with a penalty after 75 minutes, following Benoit Assou-Ekotto's push on Lee. But a fine run and finish from Alan Hutton in the 79th minute was followed by a blistering volley from substitute Pavlyuchenko nine minutes later as Spurs fought back.

Petrov sealed Bolton's victory with a cool strike in stoppage time.

The scores: Bolton 4 (Davies 31, 76-pen, Steinsson 56, Petrov 90) Tottenham 2 (Hutton 79, Pavlyuchenko 87) . — Agencies

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