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Son comes to the rescue to boost Spurs' Champions League hopes after early shock


BRENNAN JOHNSON went some way to easing his Wales pain by getting Spurs out of jail off the bench here.

The Spurs winger was sent on at half-time with his side one down thanks to Tahith Chong’s early strike.

Son Heung-min won the game late on for Tottenham


Son Heung-min won the game late on for TottenhamCredit: EPA
Brennan Johnson made a big impact of the bench and teed up Son's winner


Brennan Johnson made a big impact of the bench and teed up Son’s winnerCredit: Reuters

Johnson quickly helped the hosts level as his cross was turned into his own net by unfortunate Luton defender Issa Kabore.

And his clever pass-back to Son Heung-min completed yet another home turnaround for Tottenham with four minutes to go.

It could have been even better for Johnson when his shot came within millimetres of crossing the line at 1-1.

But referee Jarred Gillet’s watch did not buzz in one of the tightest goal-line calls you will see this season.

Johnson will not be bothered though after Son ensured the three points, ending what had been a miserable week for the Welshman on a high.

The 22-year-old had been subbed off in normal time on Tuesday night, long before Wales’ play-off for Euro 2024 qualification against Poland went to penalties.

Dan James, the man who replaced Johnson, was the unlucky soul who missed in the shoot-out.

It was a big victory for Ange Postecolgou’s men as they kept up the pressure in the race for the Champions League – but a far from convincing one.

Tottenham dominated but missed several chances


Tottenham dominated but missed several chances
Luton had their backs to the wall for most of the match


Luton had their backs to the wall for most of the match


Spurs have a nasty newfound habit of being slow starters and it happened again here.

Just like in home games against Brentford, Brighton and Wolves over the last few months, they fell behind early when Chong struck inside three minutes.

Garth Crooks, if he was watching, will have wanted to look away after the ex-Spurs forward infamously said Luton could “not be taken seriously” and would be “down by Christmas” in his BBC column.

To make it more galling for the home support, it came from a Tottenham attack, too.

But when Dejan Kulusevski’s poor pass went behind Son, it allowed Andros Townsend to nick possession.

The former England man drove the ball up the wing, similarly to how he used to do for Spurs only not quite so quickly, and found Ross Barkley in the box.

In what looked like a training ground move, Barkley did not even have to look up as he picked out Chong who took a touch and fired home his fourth league goal of the season.

It extended Luton’s amazing record of 18 consecutive Premier League games where they have found the net – not bad going for a promoted side.

Chong’s finish was timed at 137 seconds, which was the fastest goal Spurs had shipped at home in a decade.

Yves Bissouma was particularly culpable as he was easily beaten by Townsend out wide, adding another personal maddening Hatters incident to his season.

The Mali star began the campaign in such good form he was arguably one of the best players in the league in those early months.

Yet things started to go sour when he received a second yellow for a silly dive in first-half stoppage time of Spurs’ 1-0 win at the Kenny in October, and he has never regained the same form since.

Johnson helped Spurs to turn the game around


Johnson helped Spurs to turn the game around
James Maddison popped up all over the pitch for his side


James Maddison popped up all over the pitch for his side

Tottenham responded as everyone knew they would but could not take their chances in a frustrating first half.

The nay-sayers in the debate over whether Spurs should pay the £15million it would cost to sign Timo Werner permanently were given more ammunition when the German raced past Issa Kabore but fired wide a good chance with a quarter of an hour played.

Five minutes later, a barmy passage of play saw Spurs miss three chances in the space of a few seconds.

Kulusevski played in Son, who went round keeper Thomas Kaminski but somehow hit BOTH posts.

Werner smashed the rebound goalwards but hit Kabore, allowing Pape Matar Sarr to control and fire his own effort – only to be denied by Teden Mengi on the line.

But for those close shaves, Rob Edwards’ men were relatively comfortable in the first period.

Granted, they pushed boundaries to keep Spurs’ creative men in check, with Ross Barkley and Reece Burke both booked for taking out James Maddison.

And goalscorer Chong deserved credit for his brave block to deny Son’s blast in injury time.

Yet when the half-time whistle blew, boos rang around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Hardly surprising, you might think, given the scoreline and opposition.

But it was the first notable outpouring of dissent at home during the Postecoglou era.

The Aussie acted swiftly by bringing on Johnson at the break – just as he did in the turnaround against Brentford.

And a minute after Barkley had stung Guglielmo Vicario’s hands from distance, the change paid off.

Johnson played a one-two with Maddison and fired the ball across goal.

Kabore got to it first in front of Werner, but dispatched it past his own keeper, kicking the post afterwards in frustration.

Three minutes later the scenario almost repeated itself, this time with Pedro Porro supplying the cross, but Kabore managed to hack away from his goal.

Spurs’ bench was livid on the hour when Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, who had already been booked, escaped a second yellow despite cynically bringing down Son.

A number of Tottenham fans turned their backs on the action on 65 minutes as part of a ‘Save Our Seniors’ campaign protesting against the club’s controversial decision to ditch concessions for over-65s.

Johnson thought he had won it with 12 minutes to go when his shot looked to have squirmed over the line before Alfie Doughty cleared – but apparently the whole of the ball did not go over.

Still, the Spurs man got over the disappointment by turning Werner’s cross into the path of Son in the final stages – allowing the South Korean to do what he does best.

Yves Bissouma was key to Spurs maintaining pressure on their opponents


Yves Bissouma was key to Spurs maintaining pressure on their opponents
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