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FOOTBALL: ROBBIE PILES ON THE AGONY; TOTTENHAM 5 WOLVES 2 Former Wolves hero fires hat-trick.

Byline: LEE McLAUGHLAN

WOLVES old boy Robbie Keane crashed home a hat-trick to send his former side to the bottom of the Premiership.

His treble, plus second half strikes from Freddie Kanouteand Stephan-Dalmat, completed a miserable week in North London as Daves Jones' men conceded five goals for the second time in five days.

But unlike the Carling Cup trouncing down the road at Highbury score line flattened Spurs as they netted three times in the final 15 minutes.

Wolves, yet again, only had themselves to blame for letting an average Spurs side off the hook.

Having looked like getting something out of the game,Wolveswere instead sent packing, but at least not with their tail between legs.

But the defeat, and the manner in which they lost, has increased the pressure on Wolves to get something out of next Sunday's derby clash at Villa.

Ahead of their trip to Villa Park, they could have given themselves a real confidence boost as they arguably should have got at least a point out of this game, but how many times has that already been said this season.

Trailing 2-1 from Kanoute's glancing header five minutes after the re-start, Wolves were in the ascendancy as they chased a deserved equaliser.

Henri Camara had stung Kacey Keller's fingertip with a long range drive, whilst substitute Dean Sturridge also forced the American to make a vital save with his legs.

Drawing level seemed only a matter of time as Wolves got the better of Spurs.

It finally should have come in the 73rd minute when Sturridge left another x-Wolves man - Dean Richards - on his backside to set up Camara.

But the Senegalese striker luck in front of goal deserted him once more as the ball bobbled as he struck it, leaving it to fly over the bar from six yards.

The Wolves bench could not believe it. If that was hard to stomach, what followed was even less digestible as it proved to be the turning point of the game.

Less than a minute after the miss Spurs gave themselves some much needed breathing space as Keane volleyed home his second of the match from substitute Paul Konchessky's left wing cross.

The England midfielder, who had only been on the pitch eight minutes, turned provider once more to put the result beyond doubt.

Another pinpoint cross was met by the head of Darren Anderton but his effort was saved by Michael Oakes but Keane again pounced to seal his hat-trick seven minutes from time, having opened the scoring in the 29th minute.

The Irishman's celebrations were decidedly low key as he refused to rub his former side's nose in it.

Alex Rae, just as he did in mid week, struck a late consolation goal almost immediately.

Sturridge, who surely deserved a starting role after another lively spell after coming off the bench, was again the provider.

But it was not the signal for a late comeback as Spurs had the final say when Dalmat, on as a late substitute, cut in between Lee Naylor and Mark Kennedy before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top right hand corner of Oakes' goal.

The second half made up for a mediocre opening 45 minutes, which saw both teams evenly matched.

Spurs had the better of the opening exchanges and should have took the lead after just six minutes through Richards.

But the former Wolves man who was targeted by the travelling fans, was found wanting when he was picked out by Anderton's inchperfect cross.

The ball was begging to be struck first time but Richards, who was later booked for a late challenge on Nathan Blake took a touch which allowed Oakes to smother the ball. It did not ring alarm bells at the back as Wolves managed to cope with the twin threat posed by Kanoute and Keane. This saw Wolvesgrow in stature asthegame progressed but apart from a long range effort from Paul Ince they failed to seriously threaten the Spurs goal.

But Wolves did frustrate their hosts, who provided more than enough evidence to showwhythey are languishing in the lower half of the Premiership.

However, their sum can still add up to more than their parts. And so it proved when Keane gave Spurs the lead.

Right back Stephen Carr and Ledley King combined to lay the ball into Keane's path. He controlled the ball on his chest before drilling it low past thedivingOakes. Keane looked almost apologetic at scoring against the team that launched his career.

But he was even more dejected a minute later as Wolves equalised through Ince who picked up the ball from Kennedy before sliding it beyond Keller.

Keane should have then notched his fourth when he burst through the Wolves defence but somehow he screwed his shot wide.

But it mattered little as he still had his say on proceedings.

STAR MAN Alex Rae

CAPTION(S):

DAY TO FORGET: Henri Camara rues another missed chance; TORMENTOR: Robbie Keane
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Dec 7, 2003
Words:831
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