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Final score: Spurs 1-0 Villa

Posted on 25 August 2002  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

The Jamie Redknapp Roadshow rolls on - hopefully to every ground in the Premiership this season! After scoring a sensational White Hart Lane first against Lazio in pre-season and putting on a superb midfield show in our opening encounter at Everton last weekend, Jamie topped the lot by scoring the goal that registered our first three-point haul of the new campaign.

If what we have seen so far from the midfield maestro is an appetizer - here's to the main course and sweet.

Jamie struck the decisive goal on 25 minutes following an Acimovic free-kick that sparked disarray in the Villa penalty area. It was a goal that secured a deserved win for the team and each member worked hard to preserve and build on the advantage until the final whistle.

Spurs nearly opened the home goal account for the season on four minutes when Villa new boy Kinsella fouled Acimovic to the left of the area. The returning Ziege whipped in one of his now 'trademark' free-kicks that caused inevitable chaos and the head of Sheringham.

Unfortunately, Teddy's header cleared the bar and Villa were given the opportunity to re-group.

Spurs lined-up in pretty much a flexible shape with Taricco often tucking in to join Richards and Gardner in the centre of defence when in attack, Ziege joining in when forced to defend. Davies and Etherington operated wide right and left respectively and Redknapp centrally. Acimovic and Sheringham were pulling the strings behind lead striker Ferdinand.

Keller was next to have his clean sheet threatened, a Davies clearing header fell to Hendrie some 25 yards out and his volley was fractionally wide.

Sheringham and Acimovic began to tease the Villa rearguard with some neat interchange and, from one such instance the Slovenian was forced wide down the right but managed to unleash a superb cross that had Enckelman in the Villa goal flailing.

The speedy Vassell caused Keller momentary panic at the other end by flashing an ambitious strike just wide. Our keeper was forced into meaningful action a minute later as a cross from the Villa right caught the back of Ziege's head and drifted into the direction of Crouch, who stuck out a long leg and redirected the ball goalwards. Keller reacted instantly with a smart save to his right.

It was an Etherington-Ziege combination down the left that led to our opening goal on 25 minutes. The duo exchanged passes and Ziege set off, only to be halted by the hand of Delaney.

The free-kick was duly awarded and Acimovic fired in a low tempting cross that Enckelman and Kinsella half cleared between them. The ball fell to Redknapp on the edge of the area and the midfield stylist lofted a volley back into the goal with Enckelman stranded and his defence like statues.

The strike may not have carried the power and finesse of Redknapp's goal against Lazio, but this was the real thing and it was clearly evident what finding the net on his competitive White Hart Lane debut meant to the player.

Villa responded in a positive fashion and Crouch was giving his former team-mate Gardner and testing time but, thankfully, not testing enough to trouble Keller in turn. Right on half-time, good work from Kinsella teed up the impressive Hendrie for a shot on goal from the edge of the area. The midfielder, capped by Glenn at England level, screwed his shot just wide.

Villa cranked up their firepower at the beginning of the second period with new Swedish recruit Allback and Colombian Striker Angel joining the game in place of De La Cruz and Crouch.

Five minutes into the half Acimovic picked up the ball from Etherington down the left. He stepped inside and flighted an inviting cross into the Villa area, which was cleverly left by Ferdinand in the knowledge that Sheringham was lying in wait behind him. The skipper lowered his body to strike the ball on the volley and his effort flashed across the Villa goal and narrowly past the post.

Keller was then forced into a magnificent save down to his right when Barry latched onto a superb cross from the left by Wright. To complete his goalkeeping duty, Keller then fielded the corner with ease. Richards then made an excellent saving tackle to deny Allback after a galloping run down the right from Hendrie.

In what was most likely a tactical switch, Bunjevcevic replaced Etherington on the hour as Glenn possibly sought to stiffen up the midfield. Almost straight after the switch a Taricco cross from the right found Acimovic right in front of goal, but his header went astray with a goal celebration ready to launch.

Ziege then found himself in trouble minutes later for hauling down Vassell in full flight and received a yellow card for his sin. Ziege, possibly lacking in match fitness, was replaced by Thatcher on 66 minutes.

Angel then worked himself an opening in the Spurs area and Keller had to be very alert to deny the Colombian an equaliser. At the other end a Davies shot had a sizable proportion of the 35,384 crowd howling for a penalty after ball struck defender, but referee Mr Wilkes waved play on.

Villa replaced Barry with J Lloyd Samuel for the final stages as they strived to save a point for their efforts, but Spurs had a solidity about them and looked unlikely to be undone.

The midlanders battled on gamely but, if anything, Spurs looked more likely to add to the 'goals for' column than suffer an increase in the 'against'.