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Bentley fires reserves to win

Two waves of David Bentley's magic wand of a right foot toppled Arsenal and kept our reserves' title hopes alive on Tuesday night.

Two waves of David Bentley's magic wand of a right foot toppled Arsenal and kept our reserves' title hopes alive on Tuesday night.

He struck a stunning goal in each half to secure a 2-1 win in the Barclays Reserve League South.

It was our fifth win on the trot in the league and second against Arsenal in the space of five days having beaten the Gunners at Barnet last Thursday.

Clive Allen set a target of three wins a fortnight ago to firstly stop Villa clinching the title - a 2-1 home win achieved that - and then back-to-back wins against the Gunners to narrow the gap at the top and put the pressure on Villa.

That mission has been accomplished and we're now five points behind Villa with a game in hand. Villa have two home games left against Fulham (April 20) and West Brom (April 27) and can reach 36 points while we now finish with away games at Stoke, Chelsea and Pompey as we try to get to 34 points.

With both sides wearing black armbands as a mark of respect following the sad passing of former Spurs player and youth coach Jimmy Neighbour at the weekend, Bentley joined Alan Hutton, Gilberto, Ricardo Rocha, Pascal Chimbonda, Jamie O'Hara, Gareth Bale and Fraizer Campbell in a strong starting XI.

And the midfielder's goals were worthy of any football stage.

The opener, after 28 minutes, lit up what had been a competitive but largely uneventful first half. Jamie O'Hara spread the play wide left to Gareth Bale, he whipped in a cross to the far post that Bentley volleyed spectacularly into the far corner, both feet off the ground.

Bale forced Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny into a sharp save 10 minutes later and at the other end, fine defending from Jake Livermore denied Sanchez Watt in front of goal.

Szczesny did well to turn away Chimbonda's header just after the restart before the game went crazy for five minutes midway through the second half.

Bale struck the inside of the same post twice in as many minutes. The first was via a free-kick that left Szczesny standing, the second following a run into the box, this time shooting across Szczesny only to see his effort bounce out to safety again.

There was barely time to reflect on any bad luck as Bentley struck again with 69 minutes on the clock. He picked the ball up centrally, 30 yards from goal, in space, took aim and lashed into the top corner.

Arsenal hit back within a minute though as Gilles Sunu broke down the right and crossed for Watt to tap home from 12 yards.

Play switched straight back to the other end and within a minute of Arsenal making it 2-1, Szczesny was forced into action again, this time palming Jacques Maghoma's effort wide.

Completing a breathless five minutes or so, Jay Thomas cut in from the left, stepped aside the otherwise faultless Ricardo Rocha only to drag a tame effort wide from six yards.

Not surprisingly, the action cooled after that and the final effort of note found Szczesny's reactions again in tune, this time to tip Campbell's drive over the bar.

Spurs: Alnwick, Hutton, Chimbonda, Rocha, Gilberto, Bentley, Livermore, O'Hara, Bale, Fraser-Allen (Maghoma, 62), Campbell. Subs: Button, Hughton, Mtandari, Bostock.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Eastmond, Cruise, Frimpong, Bartley (Evina, 83), Ayling, Randall, Coquelin, Sunu (Freeman, 86), Watt (Afobe, 86), Thomas. Subs: Obed, Shea.