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January 1, 2013
• White Hart Lane, London
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 36180
M. Dawson 10'
E. Adebayor 51'
C. Dempsey 79'
P. Pogrebnyak 4'
And with that, it's time for me to say goodbye. I hope you enjoyed our LIVE coverage. If you did, follow us on Twitter - @GoalUK and @liam_twomey - and spread the word. Oh, and see you next time. Obviously.
Despite a crazy five minutes which threatened to undo all their good work, Spurs deserved this win. Reading were non-existent as an attacking force for most of the afternoon, and there was more than a hint of desperation about much of their defending. It's now seven victories in their last nine games for Villas-Boas' men, while the Royals remain firmly mired in the relegation battle. The feeling is that, in spite of their obvious spirit and resilience, it is one they will lose. For Tottenham, however, the top four is well within reach.
It's full-time at the Lane, with Tottenham emerging as 3-1 winners.
90' + 2'
Dempsey fires another deflected shot from inside the area, but this time his luck is out and the ball flies behind for a corner, which is cleared.
Four minutes of injury time to play.
CHANCE! Parker takes Tottenham's millionth speculative long-range strike, but it's a quality, swerving effort which has Federici at full stretch before tipping the ball behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.
Lennon has had the freedom of the pitch today, and stands another inviting cross up towards the back post, but Adebayor can't quite connect. Both sides are just playing out time now.
CHANCE! Defoe should have made it four there, racing into the area unchallenged before scuffing his left-footed finish and allowing a grateful Gunter to clear.
That goal looks to have knocked the stuffing out of the visitors, and Tottenham are back on the front foot, as substitute Scott Parker fires high and wide from distance.
Goal Clint Dempsey
GOAL! In spite of themselves, Tottenham have made this game safe. A speculative shot from substitute Clint Dempsey cannons off Leigertwood and loops over Federici and in from 25 yards. Desperately unlucky for Reading, but exactly what Spurs needed.
CHANCE! All of a sudden, Reading are knocking on the door. Their first corner of the match finds Pearce at the back post, and his header goes beyond Lloris before being scrambled behind by Vertonghen, who was stationed on the line.
CHANCE! After being so superior for so long, Tottenham are dicing with death here. Guthrie slides Kebe through on goal, and the Malian's finish is just about deflected wide by a combination of Lloris and Vertonghen.
Adam Le Fondre
CHANCE! Reading may well live to regret that. Pogrebnyak, starved of service for much of the afternoon, muscles Vertonghen off the ball and forces a low save from Lloris before heading the rebound wide with the goal gaping.
Groans go around White Hart Lane as another assured spell of possession results in Walker reaching the byeline, but he dallies too long before trying to find Lennon on the edge of the box and the ball is cleared.
Lennon bursts forward again and slides the ball across to Defoe, but the England striker is off balance and his side-footed strike evades Adebayor and goes comfortably wide.
The pace of this game has dropped since Adebayor's goal, with the home side content to gently probe and Reading seemingly incapable of mounting any meaningful attack.
Tottenham clearly don't rate Federici's shot-stopping skills, because they've been astonishingly trigger happy anywhere within 30 yards. Naughton is the latest to try his luck, but it's an easy gather for the Australian.
Lennon has been excellent for Spurs today, but he's had to shoulder a little too much of the creative burden. One suspects that if Gareth Bale were here, the home side would already be out of sight.
CHANCE! Lennon leads a surging Tottenham counterattack after a rare Reading foray forward, but the pacey wideman sees both of his strikes denied by some last-ditch blocks from the visitors.
Reading need to show some initiative now, but they can barely make it out of their own half. Howard Webb finally relieves the pressure on the Royals' defence, penalising Dembele for a foul on Leigertwood.
Assist Aaron Lennon
Goal Emmanuel Adebayor
GOAL! Tottenham have finally made the breakthrough. Adebayor has looked much livelier since the interval, and the Togolese striker meets another hanging Lennon cross with a powerful back-post header which gives Federici no chance. Can Reading come forward again, or will the floodgates open?
The second half looks to be following the same pattern as the first, with Spurs making all the running and Reading soaking up pressure. Defoe once again works space for a shot, but his left-footed curler is tame and comfortable for Federici.
We're back underway at the Lane. No changes for either side.
Tottenham apparently had 16 shots in that first half to Reading's three. But when it comes to the only stat that matters, the two sides are all square.
Can 45 minutes be encouraging and frustrating? Villas-Boas will surely be pleased with the speed of his side's response to Pogrebnyak's 4th minute opener, and with the way they dominated proceedings thereafter, but there has been too little in the way of penetration from Spurs. For their part, Reading have defended doggedly, which will make the set-piece goal they conceded all the more galling for Brian McDermott.
It's half-time at the Lane, with both sides level at the break.
CHANCE! Federici once again finds himself at full stretch, this time to parry away a deflected Sandro shot from 30 yards, but the Royals goalkeeper does his job and does it well.
CHANCE! Dembele properly tests Federici with a deflected effort which the Australian can only parry back into danger, but Adebayor is just too slow to beat him to the rebound.
This game seems to have reached a bit of a lull as we approach half-time. Reading have defended with discipline and numbers and, apart from a couple of decent strikes from distance, Spurs haven't mustered much since Dawson's equaliser.
CHANCE! Now that was closer. Defoe once again drops deep and tries to work space for a shot on the edge of the box, and his fierce effort flies just wide of the post with Federici well beaten.
Sandro becomes the latest to lash wide from 25 yards out. He's got form from that range, but Villas-Boas will not be pleased that everything his side are doing appears to be in front of Reading right now.
Spurs push forward again and Defoe tries to wriggle into space on the edge of the box after a flowing passage of play, but his attempted shot is smothered by two Reading defenders.
The Royals enjoy their first real spell of possession in the match with some neat passing and movement, but the play is brought to an abrupt halt when Kebe strays offside.
Sigurdsson and Lennon look menacing drifting in from the flanks, but Reading's massed defensive ranks have fared quite well so far, largely reducing Spurs to hopeful and often wayward attempts from long range.
Harte may take a mean free-kick but he's having all kinds of problems with Lennon here. The Irishman concedes a corner which Sigurdsson whips in. The ball drops kindly for Sandro on the edge of the box, but the Brazilian gets his volley badly wrong and the ball is cleared.
The Portuguese almost immediately gets his wish, as Dembele fires not far wide from 25 yards. Spurs are attacking with intent once more.
A couple of cotton dabs and a change of shirt later, and Dawson is back up and running. Now his team are back up to 11 players, Andre Villas-Boas will surely be hoping his side once again pick up the pace of a game which has slackened slightly.
Dawson appears to be struggling a bit after sustaining a bloody nose in a clash with Pogrebnyak. Will Steven Caulker get a chance to take the field on his 21st birthday?
That goal appears to have settled Spurs down. The home side are stroking the ball around with confidence, and Reading seem content to sit back and hope they survive this early onslaught.
Tottenham fancy this now and, after good work from Dembele, Defoe swivels some 25 yards out and lashes wildly over left-footed.
Assist Gylfi Sigurdsson
Goal Michael Dawson
GOAL! Reading's lead lasts all of five minutes. Sigurdsson whips a lovely corner into the near post, and a charging Dawson meets it with a firm header which sails past Federici and in. Imagine if the goals keep coming at this pace...
CHANCE! Reading may be ahead, but there are already signs Tottenham will get opportunities here. Lennon torments his man before clipping a cross from the right into the far post, and Adebayor heads wide from close range.
White Hart Lane sounds stunned by that early strike. Harte evoked memories of the good old Leeds days with his superb free-kick, and Pogrebnyak was too sharp on the rebound. Spurs already have some work to do.
Goal Pavel Pogrebnyak
GOAL! A surging run from Pogrebnyak is brought to an illegal halt by Naughton on the edge of the Spurs box. Harte smashes the resulting free-kick against the bar, but the Russian is on hand to head home the rebound. What a start.
And we're off!
The teams are out on the pitch at White Hart Lane, and kick-off is just moments away. Are you watching today's match? Get in touch with me on Twitter (@liam_twomey) and let me know your thoughts.
No Gareth Bale for Tottenham today, who is serving a suspension for incurring his fifth booking of the season - all of them for diving. It's not all bad news for Spurs though. They've won six of their last eight games, and Reading have never won in eight previous visits to White Hart Lane. They did beat West Ham last time out though, and have kept back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season. In summary, then, this should be interesting...
Reading: Federici; Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte; Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Kebe, Guthrie; Pogrebnyak. Subs: Taylor, Morrison, Cummings, Tabb, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre, Hunt.
Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Naughton; Lennon, Sandro, Dembele, Sigurdsson; Adebayor, Defoe. Subs: Friedel, Caulker, Dempsey, Huddlestone, Parker, Falque, Livermore.
First up, the teams...
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Tottenham's clash with Reading. I'm Liam Twomey and I'll be taking you through all the action as it happens. Let's hope for a good'un, eh?
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