Fabrice Muamba's return to the Reebok Stadium couldn't inspire Bolton Wanderers as Tottenham Hotspur tightened their grip on the fourth Champions League spot with an emphatic win over The Trotters, who slip further towards the Premier League trap door.

In front of an on-looking Muamba, attending his first game since his cardiac arrest against Spurs in March, Luka Modric gave the away the lead with a stunning stike before the interval.

Nigel Reo-Coker equaliser soon after the break, but the goal only worked to inspire Spurs, who scored three times in the space of nine minutes through Rafael van der Vaart and Emmanuel Adebayor's double to keep them ahead of Newcastle United in the race for fourth.

Fabrice Muamba
Muamba's return couldn't inspire Bolton.

The return of Muamba to the Reebok Stadium dominated the pre-match talk, with the midfielder being introduced to the delight of the both sets of supporters less than two months after suffering a cardiac arrest in the FA Cup tie between the two sides.

Spurs, without a win at Bolton since 1996, required a win to remain in the Champions League spots, while Bolton knew a point would see them climb out of the relegation zone and a win would all but relegate Blackburn Rovers with two games left.

The European chasers began on the front foot and the hosts had Adam Bogdan to thank for preventing Spurs from converting their early dominance into a first half lead as the Hungarian kept out Gareth Bale's long-range effort before denying Van der Vaart from the rebound.

In tribute to their sidelined midfielder Muamba, Bolton stirred and Brad Friedel had to smoother David Ngog's turn and shot, but at the other end Tottenham finally hit the front as after Van der Vaart shot straight at Bogdan, and from the resulting corner, Modric battered the ball beyond the despairing Wanderers keeper from fully 30 yards.

The hosts created very little during the remainder of the half, until stoppage time when Kevin Davies' flick on came all the way through to Dedryck Boyata, whose off-balance volley flew over the bar.

But seven minutes after the break, Bolton did find their range as Ngog's beautiful back heel found the onrushing Reo-Coker, who poked beyond Friedel.

Parity lasted just eight minutes as the visitors put the game to bed with two goals in as many second half minutes as first Bale pulled back for Van der Vaart to slot home, before Aaron Lennon crossed for Emmanuel Adebayor who tapped into an empty net.

The Toglese forward put the icing on the cake with 20 minutes still on the clock, scoring his 15th club goal of the season as Bale turned provider again, allowing Adebayor to round Bogdan and slot home.

Harry Redknapp's men saw out the reaminder of the game without alarm as they go within one point of third placed Arsenal and kept pace with Newcastle, who overcame Chelsea, with two games of the season left.