Kevin Davies claimed a dramatic late winner as Bolton Wanderers edged out Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 in a memorable Premier League clash at the Reebok Stadium here Saturday.
Darren Bent scored twice in as many minutes to spark a second-half Spurs fightback.
But it wasn’t enough, as new Bolton skipper Davies rose at the near post to head home Matt Taylor’s 87th minute corner for his second goal of the match.
Gary Megson’s side were cruising thanks to Sebastien Puygrenier and Davies but for the second time in three days they surrendered a two-goal lead.
However, Tottenham, forced to play down reports that 15.7 million pounds striker Jermain Defoe had been ruled out for the rest of the season with a foot injury, were unable to hang on for a point that would have eased their relegation fears.
England international Defoe, who has scored three goals in five games since his arrival from Portsmouth this month was absent from the starting line-up, meaning a more advanced role for Luka Modric in support of Roman Pavlyuchenko.
There was a debut for Wilson Palacios following the Honduras international’s 14 million pounds move from Wigan Athletic, but Pascal Chimbonda, returning for a second spell with Spurs following his three-million-pounds arrival from Sunderland, had to settle for a cameo second-half appearance off the bench.
Davies was handed the captain’s armband in Bolton’s first game since the unexpected four million pounds sale this week of former skipper Kevin Nolan to Newcastle United.
Ricardo Gardner was recalled to the side, and there was a full debut for Mark Davies following the midfielder’s recent arrival from Wolves.
After narrowly failing to find the net with a powerful header following neat interplay with Gretar Steinsson, Mark Davies played a major part in Bolton taking a 31st-minute lead.
Following a Palacios foul on Gardner, Davies swung in an inviting free-kick from Bolton’s left, where unmarked defender Puygrenier headed home from six yards in only his second start since joining on loan from Zenit St Petersburg.
In addition to it being the 27-year-old Frenchman’s first Premier League goal, it was Bolton’s first at home in six weeks, and only their third in three months in front of their own supporters.
Without Defoe, Spurs’s early attacks were at best sporadic, and manager Harry Redknapp tried to spark his side into life with the half-time introduction of Bent and Jermaine Jenas.
David Bentley forced Juusi Jaaskelainen to beat out an angled drive after a mistake by Steinsson and the midfielder also forced the Bolton keeper to dive low to his right to keep out a long distance effort.
It looked like Gary Megson’s side had made sure of victory in the 64th minutes thanks to Kevin Davies.
Taylor’s free-kick was blocked, but when Jlloyd Samuel sent the ball back into the box, Kevin Davies reacted first to Gary Cahill’s flick and curled in past an exposed Carlo Cudiccini.
Bent though handed Spurs a 73rd minute lifeline with a close range finish from Chimbonda’s cross after good work by Palacios and Aaron Lennon in the build-up.
And just two minutes later, Bent was in the right place to mop-up from six yards as Bolton froze after Palacios had seen his shot blocked by Jaaskelainen.
It looked like earning a point until Davies intervened at the death with his eighth goal of the season to leave the London club with just one victory in their last eight Premier League games.