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Villa 1-1 Spurs - 10 men earn deserved point

Posted on 6 May 2012  - 18:07

The battle for a place in the top four of the Premier League will go to the last weekend of the season after Sunday's draw at Villa.

Villa 1-1 Spurs - 10 men earn deserved point

The point - gained after being reduced to 10 men when we were trailing 1-0 with 40 minutes remaining - was good enough to lift us back into fourth place after Newcastle lost at home to Manchester City.

It also means we're just a point behind Arsenal in third after the Gunners' 3-3 draw against Norwich on Saturday.

Victory over Fulham next Sunday will guarantee a place in the top four - if we win and Arsenal fail to beat West Brom at The Hawthorns, then we'll take third.

But that's for next week...

We had the better of the first half at Villa Park - statistics at half-time showed a shot count of 11-3 in our favour - but went in 1-0 down after a huge slice of luck went against us.

Ciaran Clark had nothing on 30 yards out so opted to let fly and his shot hit William Gallas, leaving Brad Friedel completely stranded as the ball floated into his opposite corner.

The situation took a turn for the worse at the start of the second half when Danny Rose was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Alan Hutton.

But the 10 men responded 10 minutes later when Sandro was hauled down by Richard Dunne and Emmanuel Adebayor buried a nerve-less penalty for 1-1.

We continued to dominate without carving out a clear-cut chance against Villa's massed defence - the final shot count of 21-4 in our favour underlining how well the 10 men performed.

Harry Redknapp went with the same starting line-up for the third-successive match with Scott Parker back in the 18 after his recent Achilles problem and on the bench.

Adebayor had our first effort in the fifth minute and after penalty appeals against Younes Kaboul on Emile Heskey were waved away, we started to gain control of possession.

Kyle Walker blasted over from 25 yards and Gareth Bale rose above Hutton to meet van der Vaart's cross, but couldn't angle his header on target.

Villa didn't look like getting in behind us but took the lead in the 35th minute when Clark, central, shot from distance and the ball clipped off Gallas and left Friedel helpless.

Bale soon forced the save of the match from Given, clawing the ball out of the top corner and van der Vaart whistled another 20-yarder just wide.

A tough task against a team fighting for survival became tougher when Rose received his marching orders five minutes into the second half.

But the 10 men maintained control and were handed a way back into the game when Dunne upended Sandro on the hour. Adebayor stepped up and made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Villa had two chances after that - Friedel out of his area to clear from Weimann, Dunne headed wide from a corner - and the rest of the game was spent in their half as we tried to find a way through.

Van der Vaart shot wide from the edge of the box, Adebayor couldn't turn Walker's cross on target and then both Adebayor and William Gallas dived in at the near post but couldn't connect with Lennon's cross.

Aston Villa (4-5-1): Given; Hutton (Collins, 53), Dunne, Cuellar, Lichaj; N'Zogbia, Herd, Clark, Ireland, Warnock; Heskey (Weimann, 53; replaced by Delfouneso, 70). Unused subs: Guzan, Bannan, Gardner, Carruthers.

Spurs (4-4-1-1): Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Kaboul, Rose; Lennon, Modric, Sandro, Bale; Van der Vaart (Parker, 89); Adebayor. Unused subs: Cudicini, Nelsen, Livermore, Defoe, Giovani, Saha.

Goals: Villa - Clark (35); Spurs - Adebayor (penalty, 61).

Attendance: 36,008.

Referee: Mr L Probert.