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16 September 2012
• Madejski Stadium, Reading, Berkshire
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 24160
H. Robson-Kanu 90'
J. Defoe 18', 74'
G. Bale 71'
A first win for Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham this season, and a good win at that. Dembele and Sigurdsson excelled in midfield throughout with Defoe putting in the sort of performance which will leave Adebayor warming the bench a bit longer. McDermott's Reading side were very uninspiring and didn't really threaten to claim their first three points of the season. An almost perfect result for Andre Villas-Boas to lift some of the heavy pressure on his shoulders.
FULL TIME: Reading 1-3 Tottenham
90' + 3'
Yellow Card Jermain Defoe
90' + 3'
Big shouts for a penalty with the last kick of the game as Gallas clatters in to a Reading man in the box. Webb isn't convinced and blows for full time.
90' + 1'
GOAL! Reading (Robson-Kanu) 1-3 Tottenham
Assist Adam Le Fondre
Goal Hal Robson-Kanu
Consolation late on for Reading. Le Fondre goes for the chip over Friedel which is on the way out for a corner before Hal Robson-Kanu arrives just in time to leap up and tap home on the volley.
Andros Townsend, who just came home, does well to skip past a defender and clips a inviting ball for Defoe. The little striker gets his volley wrong and fails to complete his hat-trick.
Right on cue, after I comment on Reading's lack of a shot on target Le Fondre duly obliges to get them off the mark on that particular scoreboard at least.
OFF THE LINE! Gallas intervenes on the line as Le Fondre tries to poke one home on the half-volley. Spurs clinging on to the clean sheet while Reading look to give their supporters something to shout about.
Tottenham have had 19 attempts on goal, to Reading's two. With nine on target for Spurs and a bit fat zero for the hosts. That pretty much sums up this afternoon's match.
No pressure on the ball what so ever from Reading now, Spurs knocking it about with ease.
Reading have gone right off the boil, Tottenham are in complete command. Three-nil, three points, it looks like a first win and a job well done for Andre Villas-Boas and his side.
Gareth Bale gets applauded off by the away fans and Clint Dempsey comes on to make his Tottenham debut, receiving a hearty reception from the traveling fans in the process.
Goal Jermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe makes no mistake as he shrugs off his man on the half-way line before finishing his brilliant solo run with a calm low finish into the back of the net.
GOAL!! Reading 0-3 Tottenham (Defoe)
Assist Kyle Walker
Goal Gareth Bale
There it is, it was coming for a while. Kyle Walker deserves a heap of credit for beating two defenders to get to the byline and picking out Gareth Bale with a smart cut back. The Welshman gets a huge chunk of luck as his swinging foot plays the ball on to his standing foot, propelling it past McCarthy.
GOAL!! Reading 0-2 Tottenham (Bale)
Deary me! Big gasp from AVB then, Gallas wildly swings his foot at Leigertwood in the box but the Frenchman gets a big chunk of the ball and play continues.
Short break as Guthrie receives treatment for a knock. The Reading fans take it as a opportunity to break out in song, rousing stuff!
CHANCE! Defoe should have made it two-nil! Bale does what he does best, galloping down the flank and crossing to find the striker in the box, who manages to turn but then fires his shot over from close range, he will be disappointed by that.
A lovely flick from Le Fondre finds McClearly but his low cross is too close to Brad Friedel who gratefully grasps the ball.
Guthrie swings in the corner and a small melee breaks out in the box but Tottenham manage to clear their lines after a slight scare.
A promising move for Reading breaks down after a loose pass from Guthrie. But they win it back and Bale is forced to put the ball out for a corner as Gunter tries to cross.
Vertonghen heads Harte's corner out for another, Guthrie delivers from the opposite end and the visitors clear again.
That short spell of pressure from Reading was exactly that, short. Tottenham are back on top and really should be two, if not more, goals ahead. Still very dangerous and one-nil.
Another chance! Defoe plays a cute little pass in behind Gorkss for Lennon to pounce on and cut back, but a Reading defender cuts it out and clears for a corner.
Yet another swift counter from Spurs, Sandro wins the ball in his own half and breaks forward before finding Bale. The Welshmen bears down on goal and fires a sweetly struck drive which whistles wide of the post.
Reading finally mounting some pressure now and it receives a welcome roar for the Madjeski crowd. A bit of noise should help the Royals' cause.
Harte swings in the free-kick to the far post, it's headed back across by Gorkss but only for a Spurs head to clear.
Bale fires across a low cross from just inside the box on the left but it's blocked by a Reading defender. Spurs remain on the attack before the Royal's eventually clear towards Pogrebnyak who does well to earn a free-kick.
Another Spurs break! Dembele advances into the Reading half this time and gets a lucky break and shoots across the goal, but his shot comes off Defoe and loops over the bar. AVB couldn't look more tense on the touchline!
Lennon involved again on the break. It's 3 v 2 on the counter with Lennon breaking down the right flank, he has two pops at the cherry to get past Harte and cross but fails both attempts, big chance for a two-goal buffer.
Good play by Lennon to cut in and attempt a one-two with Sigurdsson, the Icelandic midfielder tries something a bit too fancy and leaves Lennon frustrated at not getting the return pass.
Adam Le Fondre
Bright start from Reading, a couple of crosses in to the box early on will give the crowd some belief.
Adam Le Fondre replaces Karacan for Reading in the one change for the start of the second half.
Reading kick-off to get the second half underway!
Another little snippet from our man at the Madjeski - John Stammers: "Half-time at the Madejski and if it stays like this Andre Villas-Boas will be one third of the way to saving his job, apparently. His Spurs side lead Reading 1-0, after Jermain Defoe finished off a flowing move involving Gylfi Sigurdsson and Aaron Lennon, but the manager will be disappointed that the English striker and the the Icelandic midfielder, who used to turn out for the hosts, both failed to double the lead with their respective chances later in the half. In truth, the newly-promoted side have offered little resistance thus far, and will have to improve after the break if they are to salvage anything from the fixture, though at 1-0, of course, they are still very much in it."
45' + 2'
HALF TIME: Reading 0-1 Tottenham
45' + 1'
Sigurdsson has been very lively, but his most recent contribution is a poorly struck shot which harmlessly trickles wide.
A minimum of two minutes added on at the end of the half.
Pearce lofts a long ball into the box and Gorkss heads across the goal for someone to tap in, unfortunately no Reading player gambles on the big defender winning the header, what a pity.
McAnuff attacks Walker down the right and his cross is headed out by Naughton. Guthrie swings in the corner but Vertonghen clears.
Defoe has a pop at goal from distance which sails well wide in the end, he looks like a man on a mission in this first half.
A glimmer of life from Reading! Pogrebnyak threatens first with a good touch and run before McAnuff goes for the curler into the far post from the edge of the area, probably their best moment of the half.
Nervous and sluggish is the best way to describe the home sides performance thus far, McDermott won't be pleased.
Another piece of dodgy defending from the Royals! Harte does his best McCarthy impression by taking a heavy touch of his own, allowing that rascal Defoe to nick the ball again, he plays in Lennon who wastefully runs the ball out of play. Reading are all over the place at the moment.
Tension. Reading fans do not look like a happy bunch, their team is a goal down and look like conceding a second rather that getting back level. They need something to ignite a revival.
Replays show the linesman's decision is spot on, Pearce manages to stop the ball right on the goal line, great officiating.
OFF THE LINE! WOW. McCarthy takes a horribly heavy touch allowing Defoe to steal the ball from him and square it for Sigurdsson to tap home, unfortunately for him a Reading man flings himself at the ball and somehow keeps the score at one-nil!
Dembele has looked imperious early on, the man is so cool on the ball.
It's all Spurs here, Reading are showing energy and endeavor but cannot maintain any meaningful possession.
CHANCE! Defoe latches onto a long ball before bringing it over his head and down to his feet with a frankly ridiculous first-touch, he then tries an audacious finish with the outside of his right-boot which fizzes narrowly wide. That would have been some goal.
Robson-Kanu does well to earn a free-kick on the right-hand side of the box which Ian Harte swings in but it's over hit.
Busy game so far for the debutant goalkeeper, a rasping shot from Sigurdsson stings the keepers hand but Reading clear the loose ball before Defoe can pounce on the rebound.
Assist Aaron Lennon
Goal Jermain Defoe
Well worked goal from Spurs! Sigurdsson threads a superb ball through the Royals' backline for Aaron Lennon to sprint on to and then cut back for Jermain Defoe to sweep home across the helpless McCarthy. Early pressure paid off for AVB's men.
GOAL!! Reading 0-1 Tottenham (Defoe)
Gunter makes a fine challenge on his fellow countryman Gareth Bale as the Spurs man breaks forward, the fans loved that.
Cross from Naughton finds Lennon in a pocket of space at the back post but the winger lets the ball bounce which makes it hard from him to control and it goes out for a goal-kick.
The match is settling down now, with Villas-Boas' side controlling the tempo and possession.
Naughton, deputising for the injured Assou-Ekotto has an untimely slip just outside his box, that won't help the former Sheffield United man's nerves!
On second viewing, Spurs might count themselves lucky just then, that could have been a penalty.
Free-kick to Reading just inside the final third. The ball swung in comes off the hand of Walker but the referee Howard Webb awards the free-kick to Spurs. Reading players far from happy but the Pearce was all over the Spurs right-back.
The visitors have started very brightly with Sigurdsson and Dembele particularly impressing early on. McCarthy meanwhile needs a change of footwear after only 8 minutes.
Two big saves from debuting keeper McCarthy! Bale's free-kick is headed at goal by Sigurdsson forcing a fine save from the Reading man before Jan Vertonghen fires the rebound at goal only for McCarthy to save again!
Lennon vs Harte will be a feature of this match, the little Spurs winger wins a free-kick by skipping past the Irishman. Bale stands over the free-kick.
Spurs on the attack early on, Naughton crosses in from the left but Reading clear only as far as Kyle Walker who then ambitiously swings a volley high and wide.
Spurs kick-off and we are underway!
Former Reading favourite Gylfi Sigurdsson gets a good reception from the Madjeski faithful.
The teams are in the tunnel, the atmosphere is building and we are only moments away from kick-off!
A warm round of applause rings out from all corners of the ground as Anfield anthem 'You'll Never Walk Alone' plays from the Reading loudspeaker in memory of the Hillsborough disaster.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto is left out of the squad today after picking up a knock on international duty with Cameroon.
More from Mr. Stammers: Brian McDermott is missing first-choice keeper Adam Federici, with Alex McCarthy taking his place. Elsewhere captain Jobi McAnuff and Pavel Progbrebnyak start. Hal Robson-Kanu returns from injury to claim a spot on the bench, however Jimmy Kebe remains sidelined and although he has now fully served a suspension, Jason Roberts is out with a calf problem.
Goal.com's John Stammers reports LIVE from the Madjeski Stadium: Gylfi Sigurdsson does indeed start on his return to old club Reading, with summer signings Jan Vertonghen and Moussa Dembele also in the line-up, the former keeping his place and the latter replacing Jake Livermore. However, other new recruits Hugo Lloris, Clint Dempsey and Emmanuel Adebayor are all on the bench with Brad Friedel, Jermain Defoe and Sigurdsson keeping them out of the team. Andre Villas-Boas' other change sees Kyle Naughton come in for Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who is out of the squad completely.
Reading: McCarthy; Gunter, Gorkss, Pearce, Harte; McCleary, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff; Guthrie; Pogrebnyak. Subs: S Taylor, Shorey, Mariappa, Cummings, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre, Hunt.
Tottenham: Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Naughton; Sandro, Dembele; Lennon, Sigurdsson, Bale; Defoe. Subs: Lloris, Caulker, Dawson, Huddlestone, Townsend, Adebayor and Dempsey
Team news from the Madjeski coming up shortly...
Reading meanwhile can be forgiven for being a little rusty, it's been over three weeks since they took to the field at Stamford Bridge and this is only the Royals' third league game of the season.
Andre Villas-Boas has picked up only three wins from his last 15 Premier League matches, if reports coming out of White Hart Lane are true then the former Chelsea boss only has three more games to save his job, the pressure is well and truly on.
Spurs kick-off and we are underway!
Hello ladies and gents! Welcome to Goal.com's live play-by-play coverage of Reading vs Tottenham. I'm Husmukh Kerai and I'll be your host for this afternoon's clash at the Madjeski Stadium.
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