Tottenham punished some woeful Wigan defending to secure their third Premier League victory in a row.

A mistake from Maynor Figueroa enabled Emmanuel Adebayor to set up the returning Rafael van der Vaart to net a third-minute opener.

From Luka Modric's corner, Gareth Bale escaped his marker to head home the second after 23 minutes.

Mohamed Diame pulled a goal back but Steve Gohouri was dismissed for two yellow cards as the visitors held on.

Martinez rues 'anxious' start

The early warning signs were there as Wigan conceded possession almost straight from the kick-off, and the third-minute goal will have had home fans fearing another 2009-style 9-1 drubbing  .

The opener was a moment to forget for Figueroa, whose sloppy control and wayward back pass let Adebayor in to tee up Van der Vaart, who finished with aplomb.

There was visible tension in the home ranks and the Wigan defence descended into bickering after confusion between goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi and Ben Watson.

The home side offered little of note at the other end, although Brad Friedel was called into action to keep out Victor Moses's effort from Jordi Gomez's free-kick.

KEY MATCH FACTS

  • Tottenham have won three Premier League matches in a row for the first time since February
  • Steve Gohouri received his first red card in English football

Wigan's worries at the back continued as Gary Caldwell was forced into a risky header behind for a corner from another Spurs attack - and from that corner, it was two for the visitors.

Modric swung the ball in and Bale was able to steal in and head goalwards, and with no men on either post, his effort flew into the back of the net.

The lessons had clearly not been learned by the home side as from another corner Bale was again allowed an effort on goal, but this time he was off-target.

Adebayor shot wide as Spurs continued to terrorise the nervy home side, with a foul throw from Gohouri summing up the lacklustre first-half efforts of the Latics.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez made a change at the break, with Ronnie Stam replacing Gomez, and the Dutchman made an immediate impact as he played a major part in Diame's 50th-minute strike.

Redknapp critical of defence

Stam charged down Benoit Assou-Ekotto's attempted clearance and after the ball came back to him he found Diame, who held off Younes Kaboul with some neat footwork before driving a low shot inside the left-hand post.

But Wigan's impetus in the second half was lost in the 62nd minute when Gohouri was shown a second yellow card for a reckless tackle on Bale.

Spurs could have extended their lead when Kaboul saw his deflected free-kick rattle the crossbar, and although Wigan put some late pressure on, the visitors were able to see out the win.

Harry Redknapp's men are up to sixth after the win, but the defeat was Wigan's fourth in a row in all competitions and leaves them 15th, just two points off the foot of the table.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp:

"It was complete domination in the first half and we could have come in three or four ahead.

"I said the only way they'd get in the game is if we did something stupid.

"We gave a sloppy goal away trying to play it in the box, got punished and it changed everything."

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez:

"It doesn't matter how well Spurs played in the first half, the frustration was that the two goals were soft - but I couldn't be prouder of the second-half performance with 10 men.

"We looked like a team that could get something out of it and I'm disappointed we didn't get a result.

"It was a fantastic reaction and the players deserve credit."

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