Defoe helps Spurs sink Royals
Jermain Defoe scored two and Gareth Bale another as Tottenham
claimed a fully-deserved 3-1 win over Reading at the Madejski
Tottenham were the better side from the first whistle in
Berkshire and took the lead in the 18th minute when Defoe converted
Aaron Lennon’s cutback.
Reading threatened briefly either side of half-time but Spurs
had regained control of the game well before Bale made it 2-0 with
a scuffed finish in the 71st minute.
Defoe then scored another three minutes later after a run from
inside his own half to earn Andre Villas-Boas his first win as
manager but leave Reading still looking for their first success
back in the Premier League.
The Royals did score a late consolation, however, when Adam Le
Fondre lifted a ball to the far post for his fellow substitute Hal
Robson-Kanu to poke home.
The win comes as a huge relief for Villas-Boas, who had come
under fire for his management during the club’s first three games
of the season.
Last time out they were booed off for a dire performance against
Norwich. At times Spurs looked clueless against the Canaries, but
on this occasion the north London outfit put on a top-rate
Mousa Dembele, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Defoe were all at the top of
their game as Spurs put on the kind of performance that at times
set pulses racing during the Harry Redknapp era.
Although Alex McCarthy was making his first appearance in the
Premier League, he showed no nerves to deny Sigurdsson and Jan
Vertonghen with two fine reaction saves after three minutes.
Vertonghen then launched a ball over the top from deep, but
Bale’s first touch was not quite good enough and the ball dribbled
Reading thought they should have had 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.
The penalty call aside, Reading were struggling to make an
impression on the game.
The seemingly inevitable opener came after 17 minutes when
Sigurdsson sliced open the Reading defence to find Lennon who
squared for Defoe to rifle 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.
McCarthy then almost gifted the visitors a second when he
dallied on the ball on the edge of his box. Defoe pinched it off
the 22-year-old and squared to Sigurdsson but Pearce rushed back to
clear the ball off the line.
Another mix-up at the back gave Tottenham one more chance nine
minutes before the break but Defoe over-hit a pass for Lennon.
Reading started to get in to the game more but Friedel was
largely a spectator, with Jobi McAnuff’s wayward shot the Royals’
only attempt at goal towards the end of the first half.
Brian McDermott looked to Le Fondre for inspiration, the former
Rotherham striker coming on for midfielder Jem Karacan at the
The change had little immediate effect, as Tottenham continued
Dembele’s deflected shot fell at Defoe’s feet in Tottenham’s
first chance of the second half, but the England striker spooned
his shot high and wide.
Kaspars Gorkss then put in a superb last-ditch tackle to cut out
Lennon’s cross as Bale lurked in the centre of the box.
Just after the hour Bale turned on the after-burners to sprint
down the left and cross for Defoe, but the 29-year-old shot two
Spurs moved 2-0 up with 20 minutes to go through Bale. Walker
skilfully slipped past two defenders and pulled back for the
Welshman, whose scuffed shot looped over McCarthy in to the
Any hopes Reading had of a comeback were extinguished two
minutes later when a brilliant solo goal from Defoe killed off the
The England striker robbed Gorkss on the half way line, stormed
past four Reading players on a 40-yard run before slipping past
The away fans, who so vocally booed Villas-Boas at White Hart
Lane two weeks ago, chanted the Portuguese’s name after the goal
went in, clearly delighted at having put the game to bed.
Defoe should have had a hat-trick in the dying minutes when he
was picked out by Andros Townsend, but he volleyed way over.
Reading were determined to score before the final whistle,
however, and they almost grabbed one when Le Fondre’s shot was
cleared off the line by William Gallas.
And they did get themselves on the scoreboard in the dying
seconds when Le Fondre clipped a wonderful ball to the back post
where substitute Robson-Kanu tapped home from close range.