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Sep 16, 2012

Defoe notches 2 goals to fuel Tottenham

Jermain Defoe scored twice to help top host Reading 3-1 and hand Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas his first win in charge.

Defoe put Tottenham ahead in the first half before two goals in three minutes secured the points for the Portuguese in the second period. There was time, too, to give Clint Dempsey a late run-out as substitute for the U.S. forward's first appearance since signing from Fulham on deadline day.

"It was a well-deserved win," Villas-Boas said. "Everyone performed to their top level and it is a win that will lift us up for the season. The most important thing today was the motivation of the players to change the negative results at home."

Left winger Gareth Bale scored Spurs' other goal, a scuffed finish in the 71st following good work by Kyle Walker down the right, but it was Defoe who will take all the plaudits after destroying Reading's defense.

"Jermain is showing his abilities, the amount of shots he has on target is amazing," Villas-Boas said. "As the lone striker up front, he is linking well with the colleagues."

Reading, who were poor throughout, rarely threatened Tottenham's goal and Brad Friedel's only concern was picking the ball out of the net in the last minute when Hal Robson-Kanu scored a consolation.

The win comes as a huge relief for Villas-Boas, who had come under fire for his management during the club's first three games of the season.

Last time out they were booed off for a dire performance against Norwich. At times Spurs looked clueless against the Canaries, but today the north London outfit put on a top-rate performance.

Mousa Dembele, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Defoe were all at the top of their game as Spurs put on the kind of performance that at times set pulses racing during the Harry Redknapp era.

They started well and although McCarthy was making his first appearance in the Barclays Premier League, but he showed no nerves to deny Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen with two fine reaction saves after three minutes.

Vertonghen then launched a ball over the top from deep but Bale's first touch was poor and the ball dribbled wide.

Reading thought they should have had a penalty in the 11th minute when the ball struck Kyle Walker's arm as he jumped for a Danny Guthrie free-kick, but Howard Webb ruled that Alex Pearce had fouled the right-back.

The penalty call aside, Reading were struggling to make an impression on the game.

The seemingly inevitable opener came after 17 minutes when Sigurdsson sliced open the Reading defence to find Lennon who squared for Defoe to rifle home from 15 yards.

McCarthy then had to be at his best to deny Sandro from long range as Tottenham looked for a quick second.

Defoe brilliantly took down a long raking pass from the excellent Kyle Naughton and slipped past two defenders but his toe-poke went wide.

McCarthy then almost gifted the visitors a second when he dallied on the ball on the edge of his box. Defoe pinched it off the 22-year-old and squared to Sigurdsson but Pearce rushed back to clear the ball off the line.

Another mix-up at the back gave Tottenham one more chance nine minutes before the break but Defoe over-hit a pass for Lennon.

Reading started to get in to the game more but Friedel was largely a spectator, with Jobi McAnuff's wayward shot the Royals' only attempt at goal towards the end of the first half.

Brian McDermott looked to Le Fondre for inspiration, the former Rotherham striker coming on for midfielder Jem Karacan at the break.

The change had little immediate effect, as Tottenham continued to dominate.

Dembele's deflected shot fell at Defoe's feet in Tottenham's first chance of the second half, but the England striker spooned his shot high and wide.

Kaspars Gorkss then put in a superb last-ditch tackle to cut out Lennon's cross as Bale lurked in the centre of the box.

Just after the hour Bale turned on the after-burners to sprint down the left and cross for Defoe, but the 29-year-old shot two yards wide.

Spurs moved 2-0 up with 20 minutes to go through Bale. Walker skilfully slipped past two defenders and pulled back for the Welshman, whose scuffed shot looped over McCarthy in to the net.

Any hopes Reading had of a comeback were extinguished two minutes later when a brilliant solo goal from Defoe killed off the match.

The England striker robbed Gorkss on the half way line, stormed past four Reading players on a 40-yard run before slipping past McCarthy.

The away fans, who so vocally booed Villas-Boas at White Hart Lane two weeks ago, chanted the Portuguese's name after the goal went in, clearly delighted at having put the game to bed.

Defoe should have had a hat-trick in the dying minutes when he was picked out by Andros Townsend, but he volleyed way over.

Reading were determined to score before the final whistle, however, and they almost grabbed one when Le Fondre's shot was cleared off the line by William Gallas.

And they did get themselves on the scoreboard in the dying seconds when Le Fondre clipped a wonderful ball to the back post where substitute Robson-Kanu tapped home from close range.

Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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