Tottenham 3-1 QPR

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport
Tottenham's Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale scores his first goal at White Hart Lane since New Year's Day

Gareth Bale scored twice to extend Tottenham's unbeaten run to seven games with victory over Queens Park Rangers.

In a first half dominated by Spurs, the Welshman swept in from 18 yards after Aaron Lennon's clever run and pass.

Rafael van der Vaart then stayed onside to slot past Paddy Kenny when he collected Ledley King's mis-hit shot.

QPR were more positive after the break and substitute Jay Bothroyd headed in, but Bale struck from the edge of the box to seal the win.

The winger's two fine efforts were his first at White Hart Lane since New Year's Day, and the second one was most welcome as it came at a time when the visitors were in the ascendancy.

'Fantastic' Tottenham thrill Redknapp

It took Harry Redknapp's team to fifth in the table, level on points with Chelsea and Newcastle, as they continue to put their poor start to the season well behind them.

Spurs could have been four goals to the good by the break, such was the fluency of their attacking and the willingness they showed to win the ball back.

Van der Vaart drew an early save from the busy Kenny and the Dutchman's free-kick was headed wide by the industrious Emmanuel Adebayor.

Some of the link play from Tottenham's front five, orchestrated by Scott Parker, was a delight to watch but their opener on 20 minutes came from a more direct route.

Brad Friedel's goal-kick was nodded on by Adebayor and after Van der Vaart fed Lennon, who cut in from the right, the Englishman's pass was crashed in by Bale.

The winger almost added to that strike moments later but sent Benoit Assou-Ekotto's cut-back over the bar.

QPR's cause was not helped by an early injury to centre-back Fitz Hall, who was replaced by Danny Gabbidon, but they came up against a Spurs team in a rich vein of form.

There was a touch of fortune to their second goal, though, as King's mis-hit shot fell to the marginally onside Van der Vaart, who made no mistake from 16 yards.

But the build-up to the goal was marked by the hard work of Adebayor, who pinched the ball off Gabbidon as he strode out of defence.

Having failed to see a real effort on target from his side before half-time, QPR boss Neil Warnock opted for a more attacking approach in the second period with Jamie Mackie coming on for Shaun Derry and the disappointing Adel Taarabt replaced by Jay Bothroyd.

With an extra man up front, the changes put more pressure on the Spurs backline and Heidar Helguson had already had a shot deflected wide before the visitors pulled a goal back.

The Iceland international headed a corner goalwards and Bothroyd, from close to the line, nodded in his first goal since the former Cardiff striker joined QPR in the summer.

Van der Vaart continued his personal duel with Kenny, with the QPR keeper coming out on top twice, but the dominance the hosts had shown in the first period had evaporated.

But relief swept round the stadium when Bale swapped passes with Lennon before arching a delightful strike into the top corner from the edge of the box.

QPR character pleases Warnock

This result, with Bale hitting form and a favourable run of games to come, means Spurs will feel their pursuit of a swift return to Champions League football is definitely on course.

QPR boss Neil Warnock:

"We thought [at the break] that we would put two substitutes on. We created chances and gave the fans something to shout. They were a few itchy feet on the Spurs bench at 2-1 and that was pleasing for us.

"I am so pleased that we gave them a game, they were a little nervous at 2-1, but it is difficult at this level and they were better than us today.

"We are learning all the time - when I look back at the Fulham game, we were terrible and let ourselves go, but we have learnt from there and we had character and organisation today. We have just got to stick at it.

"We played with personality in the second half, but in the first half we were a little apprehensive and gave them too much respect."

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