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Bale keeps Tottenham hopes alive as Wigan escape act gathers pace

updated 4:41 PM EDT, Sat May 4, 2013
Lone hero: Gareth Bale acknowledges the home fans after his late winner against Southampton.
Lone hero: Gareth Bale acknowledges the home fans after his late winner against Southampton.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gareth Bale scores Tottenham's late winner against Southampton
  • Bale has won a host of awards for his EPL performances this season
  • North London rivals Arsenal up to third after 1-0 win over QPR
  • Wigan revive hopes of avoiding relegation with victory at WBA

(CNN) -- The English Premier League's man of the moment Gareth Bale kept Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League hopes alive with a stunning late winner against his former club Southampon Saturday.

The White Hart Lane faithful were fearing the worst and a disheartening goalless draw when Bale brushed aside Luke Shaw before crashing home an 86th minute winner from outside the penalty area.

It was his 25th goal of the campaign -- topping off a week when he was named the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year to go with his double success at the Professional Footballers' Association awards.

The value of the winning goal and the subsequent three points was highlighted when North London rivals Arsenal continued their fine late season run with a 1-0 win at already relegated Queens Park Rangers in the late kickoff.

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Theo Walcott scored the only goal of the match after just 21 seconds, the fastest in the EPL this season, to lift his team to third in the standings on 67 points after six wins in eight games.

Chelsea, who are playing newly crowned champions Manchester United Sunday, trail by two points with two games in hand.

Tottenham also have 65 points and have played one game less than Arsenal in a desperately tight battle for the top four qualification spots for the Champions League next season.

At the bottom end of the table, perennial relegation escapees Wigan stepped up their bid to survive again with a dramatic 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion.

They twice trailed before Callum McManaman side footed the late winner after brilliant work by Shaun Maloney.

Shane Long and Gareth McAuley had given WBA their leads, canceled out by strikes from Arouna Kone and substitute James McArthur, who netted with his first touch.

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McManaman grabbed the third in the 80th minute and Roberto Martinez's men held on for a precious three points.

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The FA Cup finalists are just two points below fourth-bottom Sunderland, who host Stoke City Monday, and three points adrift of Newcastle United, who could only draw 0-0 at West Ham United.

Norwich are also looking over their shoulders after Gabriel Agbonlahor completed a fine week for Aston Villa with a 2-1 away win at Carrow Road.

Villa hammered Sunderland 6-1 earlier in the week and on 40 points look assured of another season in the English top flight.

Elsewhere, deposed champion Manchester City were held to a 0-0 draw at Swansea City while already doomed Reading scored a fine 4-2 win at Fulham.

On the final day of action in the second flight, Hull City secured a place in the Premier League for next season after drawing 2-2 at home to champions Cardiff City.

Watford, Brighton and Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and Leicester City will contest the play-offs for the third promotion spot to the riches of the EPL.

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