TOTTENHAM (3) vs QPR (1)
SPURS boss Harry Redknapp lavished praise on summer signing Scott Parker last night, after the England midfielder starred in a convincing win over London rivals QPR.
The visitors struggled to cope with Tottenham’s first--half onslaught and were fortunate only to be trailing to clinically taken goals from Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart at the break.
A 62nd minute header from ex-Arsenal striker Jay Bothroyd gave Neil Warnock’s men a glimmer of hope, but Bale’s second left-footed finish 10 minutes later sealed the win for the home side.
“Scott is a fantastic player,” Redknapp said. “He was top of my list [of players to buy in the summer] and he’s just what we needed.”
Before being substituted for Brazilian Sandro in the 86th minute, Parker completed more tackles and more passes than any other player on the pitch, claiming the man of the match award.
“He tackles, doesn’t give the ball away and he’s a great boy and fantastic person,” Redknapp enthused. “He’s what you build great football clubs around.”
Tottenham’s third home league win of the season moved them up to fifth in the Premier League – level on points with Newcastle and Chelsea and one place behind the coveted Champions League places.
After dominating the opening period, Spurs broke the deadlock through a route one goal in the 20th minute. A goal kick from Brad Friedel was flicked on by Emmanuel Adebayor, allowing Rafael Van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon to set up Bale, who smashed the ball home.
The second goal came shortly after the half hour mark when Ledley King’s skewed long-distance shot fell kindly at the feet of Van der Vaart, who was played onside by a jagged and disorganised QPR defence.
Presented with an easy chance, the Dutchman made no mistake, drilling the ball past goalkeeper Paddy Kenny from close range.
Two ambitious half time substitutions from QPR manager Warnock led to a decent spell of pressure early in the second half. The home fans mocked QPR’s often-controversial midfielder Joey Barton as he lined up to take two consecutive corners in the 62nd minute, yet were silenced when the second was headed goalwards by Heidar Helguson and nodded in by Bothroyd to half the deficit.
Spurs rallied straight away, a 63rd minute free-kick by Rafael Van der Vaart stinging the gloves of Kenny. The ball spilled to Adebayor, yet the striker – who fluffed a plethora of chances throughout the game – failed to turn the ball in from close-range.
Nonetheless, the Hoops’ comeback was stunted in the 72nd minute when a neat passing move culminated in Bale’s curling shot from just inside the area beating Kenny, and condemning QPR to their fourth league defeat of the season.
“We brought the first half on ourselves, giving the ball away in silly areas,” Warnock said. “But second half, we showed what could happen to the best of teams. They knew they were in for a game.”