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+Big Match Verdict

Posted on 3 May 2005  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

To stick five past a team just a point behind you in the Premiership pecking order is no mean feat - but this is exactly what the boys managed to do at a carnival like White Hart Lane on Sunday.

It was a day of firsts also - although not our first five of the season - with Andy Reid netting his opening goal for the club and Radek Cerny tasting his first action due to Paul Robinson sustaining a heavy blow.

The all-important seventh spot was reclaimed, setting up a tantalising trip to Middlesbrough next week where a win for either side could pretty much determine who gets most use out of their passports next term.

The call went out for the Lane crowd to provide a 12th man on the day - although Frank Arnesen insisted pre-match that the call was unnessessary as the fans have been that all season. Needless to say the supporters cranked it up that little bit extra and it just needed the team to feed off the positive atmosphere.

Despite the din, it was Villa who so nearly snatched a breakaway strike in the first minute when Steven Davis broke clear. In the end it was a combination of Michael Dawson and Robinson to put him off his stride. At the other end Ledley King stooped low to power a Reid corner goalwards and visiting keeper Stefan Postma did well to foil near his left hand post.

This was no Sunday lunchtime stroll in the sun.

Mark Delaney then had a penalty shout against Erik Edman refused by referee Clattenburg before the resulting long clearance found Fredi Kanoute who bought the ball under control and steered into the net off the body of Postma with just five minutes on the clock.

The game became a little bit frenetic of the next ten minutes or so and there was a chance to double the advantage on 17 minutes when Simon Davies broke at pace but his low centre was not connected with well by Keane or Kanoute.

Just seconds later a second was added. Reid was unlucky when his effort from 20 yards bounced out off the post, Sean Davis attempted to steer back in but was thwarted and it took King to pounced on the loose ball and stab it past Postma to send the Lane into raptures.

The delirium continued on 26 minutes when Robbie Keane looked to have been bundled down inside the area and the referee looked poised to point to the spot before Kanoute took charged of the mayhem and fired an angled drive high into the net for his second of the game. Any considerations of a penalty were abandoned and it will be interesting to discover whether Mr Clattenburg was going to give one or not - but who cares really?

Clattenburg - the ref who denied us two points at Manchester United earlier in the season - made a tough call seconds before half-time when Angel blasted the ball into Dawson from just a few yards and the defender's hands moved to protect himself and a penalty was awarded. Gareth Barry making no mistake.

Sadly, the incident took the gloss of what was a very fine first half display from the boys.

The game continued in lively mode and the second period got underway and Reid was not far away when he tried his luck from 20 yards two minutes in. Darius Vassell then tested Robinson after speeding into the area and the England No.1 was up to the task, tipping the striker's rising shot over the bar.

After another period of Spurs pressing, Villa opted for change and Lee Hendrie and young striker Luke Moore were introduced with David O'Leary seeking a galvanising effect.

It was Vassell who was next in the action though on the hour, nipping round the outside of Dawson and it took Robinson to come out bravely and block at his feet, leaving both needing treatment. Although he got back on his feet, Robbo was clearly struggling and Cerny readied himself for a debut.

The Czech arrived on the scene on 63 minutes and then, four minutes later, lingering anxieties was eased when Reid notched his first goal for the club. Picking the ball up from deep, the Irishman almost ambled into Villa territory before getting sight of goal and picking his spot in the top corner. Rattling off the underside of the bar made the strike seem all the more dramatic.

As if to rub salt in Villa wounds, Martin Jol decided it was time for Jermain Defoe to try and boost his scoring tally and he made his entrance - along with Mido - on 77 minutes. The dynamic duo did not add to the scoreline, but Stephen Kelly did.

Working his way through Villa bodies to the right of the area the young full back somehow managed to scoop the ball high into the Villa net for his second of the season.

It would be fair to say the vast majority of the 36,078 crowd went home pretty content with their afternoon's entertainment.