Jermain Defoe scored twice to hand Andre Villas-Boas his first Barclays Premier League win as Tottenham Hotspur manager with a 3-1 victory at Reading.
The England striker put Tottenham ahead in the first half before two goals in three minutes secured the points for the Portuguese in the second period. First Gareth Bale's fortuitous shot looped over Alex McCarthy to put Tottenham 2-0 up and Defoe secured victory for the London side by scoring after a mazy dribble. Reading struggled to threaten Tottenham's goal for much of the match and Brad Friedel's only concern was picking the ball out of the net in the last minute when Hal Robson-Kanu scored a consolation goal.
Spurs started well and although McCarthy was making his first appearance in the Barclays Premier League, he showed no nerves to deny Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen with two fine reaction saves after three minutes. Reading claimed a penalty in the 11th minute when the ball struck Kyle Walker's arm as he jumped for a Danny Guthrie free-kick, but Howard Webb ruled that Alex Pearce had fouled the right-back.
Tottenham’s opener came after 17 minutes when Sigurdsson sliced open the Reading defence to find Lennon who squared for Defoe to slot home from 15 yards. McCarthy then had to be at his best to deny Sandro from long range as Tottenham looked for a quick second. Defoe brilliantly took down a long raking pass from the excellent Kyle Naughton and slipped past two defenders but his toe-poke went wide.
The Reading goalkeeper almost gifted the visitors a second when he allowed Defoe to pinch the ball off him. The striker squared to Sigurdsson but Pearce rushed back to clear the ball off the line. Reading started to get in to the game more but Jobi McAnuff's wayward shot was the Royals' only attempt at goal towards the end of the first half.
After the break Brian McDermott, the Reading manager, looked to Adam Le Fondre for inspiration, with the former Rotherham striker coming on for Jem Karacan. However, Spurs were the first to threaten as Dembele's deflected shot fell at Defoe's feet, but the England striker spooned his shot high and wide. Kaspars Gorkss then put in a last-ditch tackle to cut out Lennon's cross as Bale lurked in the box. Just after the hour Bale sprinted down the left and crossed for Defoe, but the 29-year-old shot wide.
Spurs moved 2-0 up with 20 minutes to go through Bale. Walker slipped past two defenders and pulled back for the Welshman, whose scuffed shot looped over McCarthy in to the net.
Any hopes Reading had of a comeback were extinguished two minutes later when a solo goal from Defoe killed off the match. The England striker robbed Gorkss on the halfway line, stormed past four Reading players on a 40-yard run before slipping the ball across McCarthy. Defoe could have had a hat-trick in the dying minutes when he was picked out by Andros Townsend, a substitute, but he volleyed over.
Reading were determined to score before the final whistle and they almost did when Le Fondre's shot was cleared off the line by William Gallas. The goal did come in the dying seconds when Le Fondre clipped a wonderful ball to the back post where substitute Robson-Kanu tapped home from close range.
For photos from the match, click on the photostream option in the text commentary box above. Click on the statistics tab for match stats.
|22 Sep 2012||v West Brom (A)|
|29 Sep 2012||v Newcastle (H)|
|06 Oct 2012||v Swansea (A)|
|20 Oct 2012||v Liverpool (A)|
|27 Oct 2012||v Fulham (H)|
|04 Nov 2012||v QPR (A)|