READING, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Scorer Jermain Defoe (L) of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates his opening goal with Aaron Lennon, Kyle Walker and Gylfi Sigurdsson of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Reading and Tottenham Hotspur at Madejski Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Reading, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur and Manager Andre Villas-Boas did a lot to relieve some of the media pressure being applied to the club. Spurs were able to secure their first win of the season at the Madjeski beating Reading 3-1. Tottenham got a brace from Jermain Defoe and another goal from Gareth Bale to beat the Royals, who could only manage a late consolation goal (surprise surprise). The three points propelled Tottenham into the top half of the table (10th place) leaving them only three points adrift of the top four. Not too bad for a club in crisis, eh?
The game started off well for Tottenham Hotspur. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen both forced earlier saves from Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy. The match saw a little controversy early as Kyle Walker clearly handled the ball off of a cross, but referee Howard Webb ruled that the Tottenham right back was fouled before he committed the offense.
Tottenham remained on top of the action keeping possession and creating chances well. The breakthrough came in the 17th minute. Sigurdsson picked up possession in midfield and played a perfectly weight ball to Aaron Lennon as the little winger raced down the right flank. Lennon then cut the ball back to Jermain Defoe near the top of the area and the England international blasted the ball into the back of the net.
Defoe continued to look lively throughout the half, unleashing 5 total shots. Several were very good efforts. Tottenham's best chance for a second came in the 30th minute as Defoe took advantage of a poor touch by McCarthy to steal the ball. Defoe found Sigurdsson in the middle, but the Icelandic midfielder was unable to put the ball past the two defenders who raced back to clear the ball of the line. There were some questions about whether one of them handled the ball or if the ball actually crossed the line, but Howard Webb would hear none of it.All in all, Spurs dominated the first half. The away side had 64% of possession and got of 13 shots to Reading's 2. Reading were able to sustain pressure once in the half and even then Brad Friedel's goal was never really under threat. In response, Reading manager Brian McDermott brought on a second striker at the half and switched to a 4-4-2. The change seemed to settle Reading down and the Royals looked much better.
Reading stepped up the pressure on the ball and as a result Tottenham looked a little more on the back foot. Reading were able to keep the ball in their attacking third much better and at times looked like they might actually be able to score. Tottenham, however, defended fairly well and were able to get some chances in the counter-attack.
Tottenham Hotspur finally put the game away in the 70th minute when some great play from Kyle Walker down the right found Gareth Bale who finally managed to put a ball in the back of the net. The Welshman found the net with his weaker foot, making the goal a bit of a collector's item. Spurs seemed good value for the victory at that point, but they're odds improved even more in the 74th minute as Defoe outmuscled a Reading defender on the halfway line and raced in to score a his second of the match.
Clint Dempsey made his Tottenham Hotspur debut, coming on for Gareth Bale in the 78th minute. The American came on and while his first touch in a Spurs kit wasn't anything to write home about did fairly well with limited touches. Tottenham looked close to conceding their customary late goal as a scramble in the box led to a corner for Reading, but nothing came of it.
Spurs were certainly in the clear, but that didn't stop Reading from scoring a consolation goal in the 90th minute as substitute Hal Robson-Kanu scored off of a cross from Adam Le Fondre. The late goal puts a bit of a ding in the momentum that Spurs gained from this match, as conceding late goals so consistently is getting demoralizing, but a win is a win.
Hopefully the victory will cool some of the "Fire Andre Villas-Boas" crowd, because that whole discussion was getting incredibly annoying. Tottenham will next be in action against Lazio in the Europa League on Thursday followed by a date with Queens Park Rangers on Sunday.