Premier League - Bale bags brace as Spurs beat QPR

Sun, 30 Oct 17:56:00 2011

Tottenham Hotspur turned on the style as they beat Queens Park Rangers 3-1 at White Hart Lane to move up to fifth in the Premier League table.

Tottenham 3 QPR 1

Goals from Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart had Spurs 2-0 up and cruising at half-time. QPR manager Neil Warnock responded by making two changes at the break including Jay Bothroyd, whose first goal for the club briefly gave the visitors hope of claiming a point, but Bale's second of the game ensured Spurs registered a sixth win in seven league games.

The derby defeat was a second consecutive one on the road for QPR, who were thrashed 6-0 by Fulham in their last away match. The Rs remain 12th in the table.

As early as the third minute Spurs cut through the visitors' back line when Van der Vaart latched on to Luka Modric's through ball and forced an excellent save from Paddy Kenny.

After the injured Fitz Hall was replaced by Danny Gabbidon in only the seventh minute, Spurs continued to pass their way through QPR seemingly at will. Emmanuel Adebayor headed wide when he should have scored before Bale's low cross went through his legs as he went to shoot.

However, those misses should not detract from the fact the Togolese did a sterling job in spearheading the Tottenham attack, and his involvement in the opening goal on 20 minutes was key.

His header was flicked on to Van der Vaart, who spotted Aaron Lennon's intelligent run across the edge of the box. The England winger received the ball and moved it across to Bale, who had time to take a touch before firing past Kenny.

Van der Vaart got on the scoresheet himself just past the half-hour mark. Ledley King's long-range effort deflected off a defender and into the Dutchman's feet, and he calmly hit a low shot on the turn to score his sixth goal in his last five league appearances.

The home side were buoyant and played some of their best football under Harry Redknapp's management for the remainder of the half, with Modric firing wide to round off a move in which almost every player in a white shirt had a touch.

Warnock had seen enough, and at the break took off Shaun Derry and former Tottenham player Adel Taarabt in exchange for Bothroyd and Jamie Mackie.

The visitors gave a much better account of themselves from the restart. Heidar Helguson - who scored the winning penalty in last week's 1-0 win over Chelsea - fired over the bar after some great skill from Shaun Wright-Phillips before Bothroyd reduced the deficit just past the hour mark.

The striker opened his QPR account following his summer move from Cardiff when Helguson headed a corner back across goal and Bothroyd took advantage of some slack defending to head home from six yards.

Spurs looked briefly rattled but a phase of the game which saw chances at both ends culminated in Bale restoring Tottenham's two-goal cushion.

It was a sublime effort, too, with the Welshman exchanging quick passes with Lennon on the edge of the box before curling a delightful left-footed effort into the top corner with a little less than 20 minutes remaining.

The Welshman also made his presence felt at the other end, blocking a header from a corner on the line in stoppage time, but it was his first brace since last November which will be best remembered from this match.

Tony Mabert - on Twitter @tony_mabert / Eurosport

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