Peter Crouch went some way to making amends for his Champions League dismissal with a brace in Tottenham’s 3-2 win over Stoke on Saturday.
Crouch was the villain for Tottenham against Real Madrid on Tuesday, with his early sending off playing a major part in his side crashing to a 4-0 defeat at the Bernabeu in the Champions League quarter final.
But he was the hero at White Hart Lane as his brace ensured Tottenham secured all three points and helped the north London club record their first victory in the English Premier League since February 12.
Harry Redknapp’s side had gone four games without a win, but they are determined to keep alive their chances of finishing in the top four and are now just three points behind Manchester City.
Stoke gave everything but this latest defeat means they are still only six points clear of the bottom three and will need a couple more victories to cement their top-flight status.
In a thrilling first half, it was Tottenham who opened the scoring on 11 minutes.
Rafael Van der Vaart played a short pass to Roman Pavlyuchenko, whose cross picked out strike partner Crouch. The England man made no mistake to nod the ball past Asmir Begovic in the Stoke goal.
Pavlyuchenko turned provider once again on 18 minutes when he fed a short ball to Luka Modric, who raced past Robert Huth into the box and fired the ball under Begovic to make it a dream start for the home side.
Stoke refused to lie down and Matthew Etherington scored a superb individual goal on 27 minutes to help his side get back into the game.
The former Tottenham winger raced from his own half past Michael Dawson and then took the ball around Tom Huddlestone in the penalty area before striking the ball through the legs of Heurelho Gomes to give Stoke a lifeline.
But Crouch restored Tottenham’s two-goal lead when he added his second of the game on 34 minutes.
The Tottenham striker rose above Ryan Shawcross to meet a cross from Huddlestone and directed a powerful header into the corner of the net.
Another cracking effort helped Stoke get back into the game on 41 minutes.
Bale lost the ball and Kenwyne Jones fired an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area which sailed into the roof of the net past Gomes.
Stoke were desperately unlucky not to grab an equaliser on 53 minutes.
Jones weaved his way into the box and crossed in for Jon Walters to shoot at Gomes, with the ball deflected onto the post.
Jones was causing all kinds of problems for the Tottenham defence and he came close to scoring once more on 57 minutes when he connected with a cross from Jermaine Pennant and saw his header fall inches past the post.
Tottenham had the ball in the Stoke net again on 67 minutes but the effort was ruled out after Younes Kaboul was adjudged to have fouled Begovic when he jumped for the ball.
Gomes came to Tottenham’s rescue on 87 minutes when he made a stunning save to deny Jones’ 25-yard effort, but the home side held on to record a crucial win.
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