Premier League - Bale brace as Spurs beat Rovers
Sat, 13 Nov 16:52:00 2010
Tottenham Hotspur ended their stuttering run of Premier League form with a 4-2 win over Blackburn Rovers at White Hart Lane.
Gareth Bale marked his 100th career league appearance with the opening goal before Roman Pavlyuchenko made up for missing from the penalty spot to double Spurs' lead.
Peter Crouch put the gloss on the result with his first league goal of the season midway through the second half, before Bale grabbed his eighth of the season 15 minutes from time.
Substitute David Dunn and Gael Givet pulled two goals back in the final 10 minutes, but the game was already well beyond the visitors.
Harry Redknapp's side had gone four domestic games without a win, but the victory over Rovers sends them up to sixth in the table.
Bale opened the scoring on 16 minutes when he lost Givet at the near post from a corner and beat former Spurs keeper Paul Robinson with a header.
Pavlyuchenko then netted his third goal in his last four games in the run-up to half-time when Bale surged past two defenders and found the Russian unmarked at the far post to head in Tottenham's second.
Pavlyuchenko has earlier missed from the penalty spot on the half-hour mark after Robinson was adjudged by referee Andre Marriner to have brought down Crouch.
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce introduced forward El-Hadji Diouf in place of right-back Michel Salgado before half-time. The veteran Spaniard had been a good match for Bale up until that point.
Despite scoring twice in Rovers' last three games, striker Jason Roberts had to wait until half-time before he came on in place of Nikola Kalinic. The Croatian had a quiet first 45 minutes, although he could have scored when he was fed inside the box by the impressive David Hoillett and turned skilfully, but Heurelho Gomes was equal to his effort.
A high-tempo spell around the hour-mark saw Rafael van der Vaart force a fine save from Robinson, William Gallas block Morten Gamst Pedersen's shot on the line and Gomes save from Diouf after Roberts found him with a backheel.
It was Spurs that came out of that period on top, with Robinson saving Pavlyuchenko's shot, but Crouch pounced to score from the rebound and claim his first league goal since May.
Van der Vaart looked set to continue his run of scoring in every appearance at White Hart Lane since joining Spurs in September, but his control from Alan Hutton's cross fell more kindly for Bale, who stole in with a low finish for his second of the game.
Rovers rallied as Spurs began to relax in the final stages and Dunn, and second-half replacement for Pedersen, fired a low shot past Gomes from the edge of the area after the ball was headed around the box.
Givet then grabbed his second goal of the season in the 89th minute with a firmly-struck effort, but the three points were already Tottenham's.Tony Mabert / Eurosport