It wasn’t until the final 20 minutes that our much-changed line-up finally pierced a determined Villa defence as two goals in nine minutes settled the contest.
After a poor first half in which neither side really created any noteworthy goalscoring opportunities, it was a different story after the interval and an entertaining second period.
Villa's debutant goalkeeper Sam Johnstone had kept out efforts from Vincent Janssen and Son, while Toby Alderweireld made an excellent block to deny Gabby Agbonlahor at the other end, but the deadlock was broken on 71 minutes when substitute Georges-Kevin Nkoudou sent over a cross which Davies met with a glancing header past Johnstone for his first goal in our colours.
The second arrived with 10 minutes remaining, Kieran Trippier releasing Moussa Sissoko down the right and his cut-back was perfect for Son to drive into the back of the net, wrapping up victory and seeing us take our place in the fourth round draw, which will be on Monday evening at around 7.10pm.
Mauricio Pochettino made a raft of changes to the team that started against Chelsea in midweek, with nine alterations to the side that won 2-0 against the Premier League leaders. Eric Dier and Alderweireld kept their places and Dier wore the captain's armband. Michel Vorm was back in goal and there were starts for Cameron Carter-Vickers and Harry Winks - their first appearances in the FA Cup. Pau Lopez and Kyle Walker-Peters appeared on the bench for only the second time, while Jan Vertonghen, Victor Wanyama and Dele Alli were also among our substitutes. Former Spur Alan Hutton started at right-back for Villa.
SAVE: VORM DENIES BACUNA – 29mins
With the number of changes to the side, perhaps it was no surprise that we weren’t quite as fluent in our play as in previous games. We completely dominated possession and had Villa pegged back for most of the opening half-hour, but their goalkeeper Johnstone - signed on loan from Manchester United - wasn’t tested at all. In fact the first shot at goal didn’t come until the 29th minute and that was for the visitors, Leandro Bacuna’s right-foot shot from 20 yards going straight at Vorm. Jack Grealish’s free-kick then caused a moment of danger before Trippier whacked clear, while Grealish then smashed a 30-yarder high and wide.
CHANCE: AMAVI INTERVENTION KEEPS OUT SON – 43mins
The pattern of the game didn’t change throughout the half, with Villa happy to sit back, defend in numbers and let us have the ball in front of them, while they looked to counter when possible. That meant chances were at a premium for both sides, but we did see a glimpse of an opening two minutes before the break when Son played a one-two with Janssen and was in on goal, only for Jordan Amavi to stick out a leg and loop the ball out for a corner. That came to nothing and the whistle blew for half-time shortly after.
SAVE: SON TESTS JOHNSTONE – 62mins
We were quickly on the offensive after the break when Son and Janssen again linked up, this time the Dutch striker having an effort at goal but it was comfortable for Johnstone. The game opened up in the second period and on 51 minutes, we launched a counter-attack which ended with Son fluffing his lines at the far post. We made a change with Dele replacing Janssen on the hour mark, and two minutes later Johnstone made a smart save to tip over Son’s fierce angled drive after he latched onto Dier’s pass. At the other end, Alderwerield was called on to make a superb block from Agbonlahor from close range in a big chance for the visitors.
Above: The lads celebrate with Ben Davies after his goal.
GOAL: SPURS 1-0 VILLA – BEN DAVIES – 71mins
Compared to the first half, it was a totally different game with far more space for both teams and much more entertaining for the crowd! They almost had something to celebrate when Winks’ effort looped off Amavi, only for Johnstone to save diving to his right, but we finally broke the deadlock on 71 minutes. Substitute Nkoudou received the ball wide on the left and with virtually his first touch, delivered a cross which Davies glanced into the bottom corner of the net.
GOAL: SPURS 2-0 VILLA – HEUNG-MIN SON – 80mins
The introduction of Dele and Nkoudou certainly gave the game a lift and, with Villa starting to tire in the latter stages, we took full advantage. First, Sissoko almost opened his account for us when put through down the left channel, only for Johnstone to deny him with a close-range save, before we added a deserved second. Trippier and Sissoko combined down the right flank, the latter breaking into the area and cutting the ball for Son to power a 15-yard drive into the Villa net. In the final seconds, substitute Josh Onomah broke through and squared for Son, but Johnstone was equal to his shot and the referee blew for full-time shortly afterwards to end the contest.
BEN DAVIES SAID
"It’s nice to get the goal but it just gave us that bit of momentum to get over the line. It eased the pressure. We were forcing the issue a little trying to get that first goal and it was nice to get it. It’s hard to break down teams who come here to make it difficult for us and sometimes put 10 men behind the ball. Once we got that goal you could see that they then had to try to create something but I thought we controlled it pretty well. Once we scored the second, it was over then."
MAURICIO POCHETTINO SAID
"They made it difficult, the FA Cup is always difficult to play. It was tough but I’m very pleased because we showed a solid performance. It’s true we played much better in the second half than we did in the first half and we had more chances to try to win the game. I thought we were better."
Spurs (3-4-2-1): Vorm; Carter-Vickers, Alderweireld (Nkoudou 70), Wimmer; Trippier, Dier (c), Winks, Davies; Son, Sissoko (Onomah 84), Janssen (Alli 60). Substitutes (not used): Pau Lopez, Walker-Peters, Vertonghen, Wanyama.
Aston Villa (4-4-1-1): Johnstone; Hutton, Chester (c), Baker, Amavi; Adomah (Green 77), Jedinak (Davis 77), Tshibola, Bacuna; Grealish; Agbonlahor (McCormack 77). Substitutes (not used): Gollini, Elphick, Westwood, Cissokho.
Goals: Spurs – Davies 71, Son 80.
Referee: Mike Dean.
It’s a third consecutive match at White Hart Lane for the team as we return to N17 next Saturday for a Premier League clash with West Bromwich Albion. Tony Pulis’ side have lost just two of their last 10 matches in the division, winning six of them, and currently sit eighth in the table on 29 points. The equivalent fixture ended 1-1 last season, the same scoreline as when the two sides met at The Hawthorns back in October.