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Teemu Tainio marked his return to action with two goals as our reserves toppled Aston Villa 3-2 at Stevenage Borough on Monday night.

Teemu Tainio marked his return to action with two goals as our reserves toppled Aston Villa 3-2 at Stevenage Borough on Monday night.

The midfielder was back after a two-month lay-off following hernia surgery and connected twice with Reto Ziegler set-pieces as the lads recovered from an early Villa goal to take a commanding 3-1 lead at half-time. Simon Dawkins was also on target.

Calum Davenport was also back after groin surgery and needed to be on his guard alongside Leigh Mills with Milan Baros a constant threat in the Villa attack. Davenport put in an 82-minute shift and the defence deserve credit as the visitors pushed forward in the second half.

Alongside Baros, Villa fielded the experience of Steve Davis, Didier Agathe and J-Lloyd Samuel - over 400 appearances in the Premiership and Scottish Premier League between them - and last season's Northern section runners-up laid their cards on the table in the seventh minute.

The impressive Mark Albrighton darted down the right, crossed low to the near post and Davis turned the ball home off the underside of the crossbar.

It didn't take long for the lads to respond. The ball shifted quickly between Phil Ifil and Kieran McKenna, McKenna sent Andy Barcham down the right and he squared for Simon Dawkins to stroke home from close range for 1-1, 15 minutes gone.

Two minutes later and Charlie Daniels almost struck one of the best goals seen in the reserves in recent times. Tainio hit a long pass from right to left and without breaking stride, Daniels launched a dipping volley over Robert Olejnik in the Villa goal only for his effort to hit the inside of the post to safety. Daniels was so convinced it was home that he'd turned away in celebration, but at least his moment led to the second goal.

Villa cleared the rebound off the post for a corner, Ziegler delivered from the left and Tainio powered home a header unchallenged 10 yards out.

Play continued at a high pace for the next 20 minutes without clear-cut chances before we crucially edged further ahead just before the break. Ziegler's dead-ball delivery was again the key as he whipped in a free-kick from the right touchline, Tainio got between the bodies and his flick was only going in one place, 3-1 at half-time.

Stuart Lewis replaced Tainio at the interval but Villa stepped up a gear as the influence of Baros grew. He sliced wide after creating a chance for himself on the hour but made no mistake two minutes later, Albrighton the provider again from the right and the Czech international drilled into the top corner from 12 yards. Game on.

Villa committed more men forward - Davis more and more involved - and we struggled to maintain possession as we were pushed back.

Still, clear-cut chances were at a premium and when Davis found a yard of space on the edge of the box, Robert Burch made a flying save to his right look easy despite the greasy conditions.

Villa continued to press and came closest to equalising after 76 minutes when Albrighton cut in from the right, twisted and turned into the box and hit a low shot that struck the outside of the right upright.

Baros curled a free-kick over from 20 yards and in the final seconds, Davis just failed to connect with a diving header at the near post. Once again though, Clive Allen's team were not to be denied - this win made it seven matches unbeaten this season and one defeat in 25 since last November.


7mins: GOAL - VILLA. Albrighton burst down the right, low cross to the near post turned home via the underside of the crossbar by Davis.
Spurs 0, Villa 1

9mins: Baros up for aerial ball with Mills, ball came down and Baros unleashed instinctive dipping volley that Burch saw all the way, saving comfortably in the end.

15mins: GOAL - SPURS. Interplay between Ifil and McKenna opened it up for Barcham in the right channel of the box, squared perfectly for Dawkins to tap home from six yards.
Spurs 1, Villa 1

17mins: WOODWORK. Tainio switched play to Daniels who hit spectacular first-time volley that beat Olejnik but bounced back off inside of the right upright.

18mins: GOAL - SPURS. Ziegler's corner from the left powered home by high-climbing Tainio from eight yards.
Spurs 2, Villa 1

19mins: CHANCE. Albrighton cross to far post, Stieber half-volleyed over the top of the stand from 10 yards.

34mins: Steiber rolled ball inside for Hogg to strike from 22 yards, Davenport in the way of goalbound effort.

44mins: GOAL - SPURS. Another fine delivery from Ziegler, this time inswinging free-kick from the right met by Tainio's flick header from six yards.
Spurs 3, Villa 1

Half-time: Spurs 3, Villa 1

Half-time: SUB - SPURS. Lewis for Tainio.

52mins: Daniels volleyed a yard wide after move involving Dawkins and O'Hara.

56mins: CLOSE. Deep cross from Steiber met by Lowry at far post, he headed back across goal inches away from Bridges three yards out.

60mins: Baros got away from Lewis and Davenport but sliced well wide.

62mins: GOAL. Albrighton cut in from right, into box, squared to Baros who finished clinically into top corner from eight yards.
Spurs 3,Villa 2

74mins: SAVE. Burch good clean hands to take Davis' shot diving to his right.

76mins: WOODWORK. Albrighton cut in from right, twisted left then right, low shot hit foot of post.

79mins: Break from Villa attack, O'Hara released Barcham, low cross aiming for Dawkins slid out by Green.

87mins: Baros curled free-kick a yard over from 20 yards.

Added time: CLOSE. Davis threw himself into the near post to try and meet Albrighton's cross, just failed to make contact and the ball squirmed wide of far post.

Full-time: Spurs 3, Villa 2


Spurs: Burch, Ifil , Ziegler, Mills, Davenport (Archibald-Henville, 82), McKenna, Tainio (Lewis, 46), O'Hara, Daniels, Barcham, Dawkins. Subs: Button, Hutton, Hughton.

Aston Villa: Olejnik, Agathe, Samuel, Green, Lowry, Hogg (Bellon, 86), Bridges, Davis, Albrighton, Baros, Stieber (Herd, 86). Subs: Kabeya, Henderson, Mikaelsson.