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RESERVE REPORT: VILLA 3, SPURS 1

Posted on 5 November 2007  - 12:00

Tom Huddlestone handed our reserves the lead but league leaders Villa's response was swift and decisive as they ran out 3-1 winners at Walsall on Monday night.

Tom Huddlestone handed our reserves the lead but league leaders Villa's response was swift and decisive as they ran out 3-1 winners at Walsall on Monday night.

Huddlestone made no mistake from the penalty spot after Danny Rose was upended after 55 minutes but Villa, three wins out of three at home before this encounter, responded within 60 seconds when Tobias Mikaelsson bundled home from close range. That goal marked a turning point in the game as Mikaelsson and Marlon Harewood secured maximum points for the home side.

Neither side really stamped their authority on a first half of few clear-cut chances. Tomas Pekhart headed home from Wayne Routledge's cross only for the goal to be ruled out offside while Routledge and Danny Rose tried their luck from distance.

Moustapha Salifou, the key player for the home side in central midfield, tested Tommy Forecast midway through the half and Harewood went close twice, but it was no surprise when the first half ended goalless.

Salifou, Simon Dawkins and Harewood all fired in shots at the start of the second half as the first goal looked more and more vital. It came our way after 55 minutes when Dawkins fed Rose on the left and he was taken down by Chris Herd in the penalty area. Huddlestone took no prisoners from the spot, lashing home off the bar.

A win looked on at that point but, unfortunately, that feeling lasted little over 60 seconds.

Harry Forrester crossed from the right, Nathan Delfouneso headed back across goal and Mikaelsson provided the finish from close range. Salifou soon forced Forecast into a fine save and it was no surprise that the same player was heavily involved as Villa took the lead after 64 minutes, his initial shot was blocked but fell kindly to Mikaelsson, who hit a low shot across Forecast into the far corner.

Forecast denied Salifou with the save of the night to tip over a rasping free-kick and our task became even harder when Jake Livermore was sent off for a late tackle on Salifou, not the best of challenges but maybe not worthy of straight red.

We kept plugging away, Rose always bright across the forwars line, but it was all over when Yuri Berchiche felled Forrester in the area with nine minutes left and Harewood slotted confidently from the spot.

Aston Villa: Sorensen, Lund, O'Halloran, Herd, Clark (Forrester, 12), Davies, Salifou (D Bellon, 83), Osbourne, Harewood, Delfouneso (Wiemann, 87), Mikaelsson. Subs: Y Bellon, Bevan.

Spurs: Forecast, Hughton, Martin (Dervite, 70) Huddlestone, Archibald-Henville, Berchiche, Routledge, Livermore, Pekhart, Dawkins (Barcham, 70), Rose. Subs: L Butcher, Davis, Townsend.