Tottenham Hotspur claimed a battling 1-0 win over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
The Potters are tough nuts to crack on home soil, but Danny Rose’s second-half header was enough to inflict only a third home defeat of the campaign on Mark Hughes’ men.
It was a determined display from Spurs, who were on the back foot for large spells of the match despite playing for nearly 40 minutes with a man advantage following the dismissal of Ryan Shawcross.
Tottenham made an early statement of intent, with Nacer Chadli winning possession in the centre circle and striding forward with purpose. The space opened up for him but he delayed his shot and when the challenges arrived, the midfielder sliced his effort well wide of target.
Aaron Lennon came close to putting Tottenham in front on seven minutes. Apparently seeing Asmir Begovic out of position, Lennon went for goal at the near post and the Stoke keeper had to scramble across his line to make the save.
Stoke offered little by way of an attacking threat early on, although Stephen Ireland came close when curling a shot just wide from 20 yards.
Emmanuel Adebayor is the Tottenham player who has flourished the most under Tim Sherwood’s stewardship and he played a key part in the winner on 33 minutes.
The forward collected possession on the edge of the box, tricked his way past his marker and stood up a superb cross for Rose.
The full-back is hardly prolific, but the cross was perfect and he climbed to send a powerful header beyond Begovic.
3 - All three of Danny Rose's Premier League goals have been scored in April. Bloom.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 26, 2014
Stoke’s hopes of fightback were dealt a blow on 52 minutes as Shawcross was sent off by referee Andre Marriner. The Stoke players and manager Hughes were not happy with the decision, but he was high and late on Rose and a second yellow looked entirely justified.
Stoke rallied bravely after falling a man down, backed up by a vociferous home following at the Britannia, and they should have drawn level on 64 minutes.
A flowing move saw Erik Pieters deliver a fine cross to Peter Odemwingie, but he sent his header high over the bar.
Rose was the villain of the piece in the Stoke fans’ eyes and following a period of sustained booing he reacted to a stiff challenge from Geoff Cameron by shoving the Potters man in the chest. The home players surrounded the referee demanding a red, but Marriner merely brandished a yellow. Shortly afterwards, Sherwood opted to take Rose out of the line of fire.
Stoke did not look like a side with a man disadvantage, as Steven N'Zonzi was found in space in the box but he could not direct his header on target.
But for all the possession Stoke had in the second half, they were unable to find a way past Hugo Lloris— who made decent saves to deny N'Zonzi and Marko Arnautovic—as Spurs held on for the win.
Spurs boss Sherwood was delighted with how his side battled against a Stoke side driven on by their fans.
Spurs manager Tim Sherwood: "Our boys done well to dig in and come out with the three points. Their fans were like a 12th man for them."— Premier League (@premierleague) April 26, 2014
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Tottenham are still in with an outside chance of securing a spot in the top four, but they are reliant on Arsenal slipping up.
Wins over West Ham and Aston Villa would take Tottenham to 72 points, but Arsenal sit on 70 points with three games remaining.