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Page last updated at 21:02 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 22:02 UK

Tottenham 1-2 Aston Villa

By Chris Whyatt

Nigel Reo-Coker and Ashley Young
Villa were always in charge after scoring in the fifth minute

Aston Villa condemned Tottenham to their worst start to a Premier League campaign with a victory that leaves Spurs winless and bottom of the table.

Villa took the lead after just four minutes as Tottenham failed to cut out a Gabriel Agbonlahor cross which Nigel Reo-Coker converted with ease.

Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes inexplicably let Ashley Young's weak 54th-minute shot slip under his body.

Darren Bent's late goal was little consolation for angry Spurs fans.

While the two Uefa Cup participants, who drew 4-4 in last season's pulsating corresponding fixture, spent heavily in the summer, they have made distinctly contrasting starts to the season.

While Villa appear ever more settled under manager Martin O'Neill, Spurs are struggling to cope from the recent sale of star strikers Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane.

Poyet makes no excuses for poor display

Spurs boss Juande Ramos handed debuts to 14m forward Roman Pavlyuchenko and 8.5m Croatian left-back Vedran Corluka, but his team could not have got off to a worse start.

After just four minutes, Young was allowed space on the left to feed Agbonlahor who cut a low cross behind the static Spurs defence.

John Carew flicked on with his heel leaving Reo-Coker with a simple first-time finish which Gomes could not get near.

Villa nearly went two up four minutes later when Reo-Coker's cross from the right took a wicked deflection and crashed back out into play off Gomes' upright.

Spurs slowly started to wrestle some possession from Villa and, in the 21st minute, Pavlyuchenko turned superbly in the box to lash in a shot which unluckily cannoned off the forehead of Curtis Davies.

Gomes was soon called upon to make an outstanding save on his line from Gareth Barry's well-placed header, before he followed it up with more heroics to deny Agbonlahor, though the Villa striker should have scored.

606: DEBATE
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Jermaine Jenas replaced the injured Luka Modric in central midfield but, despite the threat of Gareth Bale with dead balls, they still looked like a side who are still getting to know one another.

Ramos brought England midfielder David Bentley on for Didier Zokora at half-time to add some passing precision, and his impact was immediate.

In the 48th minute, he neatly laid the ball off to winger Aaron Lennon to fire a shot just below Brad Friedel's bar, but the Villa keeper stretched to tip it over.

Spurs conceded again in the 54th minute due a shocking error from Gomes, as the Brazilian undid all his previous good work.

After Barry had fed Young on the half-way line, he dragged Dawson in then rounded the Spurs defender before shooting weakly at the centre of goal.

We were terrifc - O'Neill

But the Spurs keeper let the ball slip under his body as groans of anger rang out round White Hart Lane.

Dawson, who let Young pass far too easily, was soon replaced by Mexican forward Giovanni dos Santos, who showed significant promise and ambition on the ball.

With chances few and far between, Bale managed put in a dangerous cross which Bent should have done better than to head high and wide.

Small consolation came for Spurs in the 86th minute when Jenas lashed a speculative shot on the volley towards goal after Villa had attempted to clear, which Bent turned into the net from 10 yards.

Spurs pushed for a late equaliser, but their frenzied efforts betrayed a side who were in the process of making the club's worst start to a season for 34 years.


Tottenham boss Juande Ramos:
"I'm always angry at the end of games like this with the players and myself as well.

"The blame I give to the goalkeeper is the blame that is due to him, like the other players. On other occasions he also stopped them scoring goals.

"I think he was absolutely magnificent apart from that goal."

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill:
"I'm not wildly interested in what Fabio (Capello, England boss) does. I'm sure he's basking in the glory of a wonderful performance and that is great.

"With Ashley Young and Gabby Agbonlahor, their time will come. I'm really selfish about this and want them to be on the fringe of the internationals but not actually play.

"I'd hope that would continue for another eight years!"


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Ashley Young on 7.91 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.


Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Woodgate, Dawson (Giovani 62), Bale, Lennon, Zokora (Bentley 46), Huddlestone, Modric (Jenas 29), Pavlyuchenko, Bent.
Subs Not Used: Cesar, Gilberto, Campbell, O'Hara.

Booked: Dawson.

Goals: Bent 87.

Aston Villa: Friedel, Luke Young, Laursen, Davies, Shorey (Gardner 88), Ashley Young, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Barry, Agbonlahor (Harewood 84), Carew (Milner 63).
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Knight, Routledge, Cuellar.

Booked: Shorey, Carew, Agbonlahor, Ashley Young.

Goals: Reo-Coker 5, Ashley Young 54.

Att: 36,075

Ref: Steve Bennett (Kent).


see also
Ramos angry but refuses to panic
15 Sep 08 |  Premier League
Player Rater
19 Dec 06 |  Live Text
Tottenham v Aston Villa photos
15 Sep 08 |  Premier League
Spurs seal 14m Pavlyuchenko deal
01 Sep 08 |  Tottenham
Spurs sign Corluka from Man City
01 Sep 08 |  Tottenham
Tottenham 4-4 Aston Villa
01 Oct 07 |  Premier League


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