Tottenham Crouch earns hard fought victory against Stoke City

Posted on by SoccerPunter

Peter Crouch put his Real Madrid misery behind him as he scored twice to help Tottenham to their first Premier League win in almost two months, Harry Redknapp’s side beating Stoke 3-2.

The England striker’s first-half double was either side of Luka Modric’s effort, but Stoke, who play Bolton in the FA Cup semi-final next week, came back twice through Matthew Etherington and Kenwyne Jones.

Crouch, who was told by Redknapp that he had forgiven him for the red card in last week’s Champions League loss to Real Madrid, was included in the starting line-up.

Crouch was partnered up front by Roman Pavlyuchenko, as Redknapp appeared to shun the European-style formation he had used earlier in the season.

After a scrappy opening period, Gareth Bale was first to test Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic, firing a 20-yard shot which was easily saved.

Three minutes later Robert Huth got in the way of a Bale cross just ahead of Pavlyuchenko.

And with Stoke looking stretched, it was only as matter of time – 11 minutes to be exact – before the pressure told, as Crouch headed home Pavlyuchenko’s cross for the opening goal.

It was the first goal Tottenham had scored in 413 minutes of football – stretching back to the 3-3 draw with Wolves at the beginning of March.

Modric made it two after 17 minutes, latching on to Pavlyuchenko’s through ball to slot home with Huth trying and failing to keep him out.

Stoke were looking troubled after the second, as Tottenham passed crisply between them, but the home side’s porous defence, which has let in more goals than the rest of the top five in the Premier League, again let them down.

Michael Dawson could only look on as Matthew Etherington ran past him on 28 minutes, before slotting home past Heurelho Gomes.

However Crouch had a point to prove, and as if to put last Tuesday’s dismal showing against Real Madrid behind him, he grabbed another goal 11 minutes before half time, again with his head.

Tom Huddlestone burst up the right flank before taking his time to pick his spot for his cross, Crouch heading across the goal past Begovic.

Six minutes later Stoke were back to one goal behind, as Andy Wilkinson’s tackle on Bale put the ball into the path of Kenwyne Jones, who burst past Younes Kaboul to strike a superb effort which flew in off the crossbar.

Spurs began the second half as they ended the first, Rafael van der Vaart’s powerful shot deflected behind for a corner on 47 minutes.

Stoke went close on 51 minutes after Jones went past Kaboul to cross into the box, as Gomes palmed the ball onto the knee of Jon Walters, whose shot hit the post from four yards out.

The visiting side had two massive let-offs on 64 minutes after Andy Wilkinson body-checked Bale, but van der Vaart blasted the resulting free kick into the wall.

Then the Dutchman ballooned a ball over the top of the Stoke defence into the path of Crouch, but Huth was able to head the ball clear.

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