TOP BOY: Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring the winner with his teammate, Gareth Bale (right)
TWO GOALS in 90 seconds gave Tottenham Hotspur their first home win of the season as they beat Queens Park Rangers 2-1, during a rainy afternoon at White Hart Lane.
Those three points move Spurs up two places to eighth and leave the visitors languishing in 19th, even though this was probably Rangers' best performance of the season so far.
The visitors were by far the better team in the first half and if it hadn’t been for Brad Friedel's agility, they could have been 2-0 up inside the first 15 minutes.
The veteran goalkeeper once again showed why Hugo Lloris is still waiting to make his Premier League debut, after joining the club last month.
First the American flicked Clint Hill’s shot over the bar with his fingertips, before stretching across the goal to halt Junior Hoilett’s impressive left foot volley. Hoilett’s chest down and confident touch for the shot, was all part of a very mature performance from the former Blackburn player.
It could have been very different for QPR with Jose Bosingwa having to come off after two minutes with a hamstring problem, and be replaced by Kieron Dyer.
QPR boss Mark Hughes was full of praise for the substitute who was injured for the majority of last season, saying: "I thought he [Kieron] was brilliant. He’s been out so long and to come on after two minutes and still look good in the 90th. Fair play to him, it’s been a long way back for him."
Tottenham’s midfield struggled as all their attacking play came down the wings, allowing Rangers to boss central midfield. Throughout the first 45 minutes they struggled to find a cohesive link between forwards Jermain Defoe, Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson, with the latter being substituted for Steven Caulker at half-time.
It was Bobby Zamora, who broke the deadlock on 33 minutes after Esteban Granero's corner was swept back into the area by Shaun Wright-Phillips following Jan Vertonghen’s headed clearance. Zamora connected well with the ball to send it across Friedel’s body and into the corner of the net.
As the rain pelted down, more free-kicks were awarded as players on both sides struggled for ball control. A situation that left both management teams regularly gesticulating in the direction of referee, Phil Dowd and his assistants as the game wore on.
Spurs assistant head coach, Stefan Freund in particular, became increasingly animated and incoherent as he yelled and mimed instructions at the players.
The equaliser came in the 59th minute after a Gareth Bale corner. Unfortunately for the visitors, the ball bounced off the unfortunate Alejandro Faurlin’s arm, a situation he could do nothing about, and landed in the back of the net.
The winner, just a minute later, was a poacher’s special as Defoe scored his fourth league goal of the season.
Summer signing, Vetonghen ran a good 45 yards before sliding the ball to Welshman Bale, who took a shot. Keeper Cesar managed to stop it with his feet before it bounced off the bar and the England striker was there to put away the rebound.
It was end to end stuff after that, with both sides appearing capable of adding to their tally. But both Friedel and Cesar managed to hold firm as Defoe, Moussa Dembele and substitute, Djibril Cisse, had chances.
Villa-Boas admitted that his players had been anxious prior to the game as they were so keen to pick up the home win, and this transferred to the crowd who were a little subdued until the winning goal.
But he was happy to wax lyrical about his top scorer. He said: "A player who scored so many goals last season deserved all kinds of credit. Jermain’s performances [this season] are evidence of this and he is doing well. He is making full use of this confidence I have in him."