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

Stadium.

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

performance.

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

wide.

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

break.

The change had little immediate effect, as Tottenham continued

to dominate.

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

yards wide.

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

net.

Any hopes Reading had of a comeback were extinguished two

minutes later when a brilliant solo goal from Defoe killed off the

match.

The England striker robbed Gorkss on the half way line, stormed

past four Reading players on a 40-yard run before slipping past

McCarthy.

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.