Football

Dawson stuns Villa with super strike

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Captain Michael Dawson's first goal of the campaign rescued a deserved point for Tottenham after they had exerted relentless second-half pressure against Aston Villa.

Gabriel Agbonlahor had given Martin O'Neill's side a half-time lead with his eighth goal of the season.

But the second half was completely dominated by the visitors as Villa often dragged all 11 players behind the ball before Dawson broke their resistance.

And only a series of excellent saves from Brad Friedel prevented Tottenham from chalking up their fourth away victory of 2009-2010.

After a lacklustre opening 45 minutes, Tottenham showed the kind of enterprise which had demolished Wigan 9-1 last weekend with Niko Kranjcar in excellent form.

But the Villa defence is made of sterner stuff than the Latics with Carlos Cuellar again making a good impression.

Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker came into the side for Steve Sidwell while Habib Beye replaced ill left-back Stephen Warnock. He took over at right-back from Luke Young who switched to the opposite flank.

Spurs central defender Jonathan Woodgate's groin problem meant he made way for Sebastien Bassong.

Villa, unbeaten at home since the opening day of the campaign, looked full of positive intent in the early stages and started at a high tempo.

But it was home keeper Friedel who was called upon to make the first save of the game.

The former Blackburn player had to be alert to tip over a powerful drive from Kranjcar from just outside the box.

Then after nine minutes Agbonlahor put Villa ahead.

James Milner's near-post corner was met by Cuellar whose header was blocked on the line by Benoit Assou-Ekotto but the loose ball broke to Agbonlahor who squeezed it home.

Tottenham posed little attacking threat in the opening 45 minutes.

But Cuellar came to Villa's rescue when he cleared a shot from Peter Crouch off the line after Friedel had kept out the initial attempt from Defoe.

Agbonlahor found a yard of space on the edge of the Spurs box but dragged his shot well wide.

Friedel had to be alert to tip over a drive from Tom Huddlestone after it had taken a slight deflection off Reo-Coker.

Aaron Lennon saw little of the ball in the opening half which was surprising given the destruction he had caused against Wigan.

Redknapp would have wanted more from his side attacking-wise in the second period - and his players responded.

Friedel had to be at his best to finger-tip a fierce 20-yard drive from Kranjcar around the post at full stretch.

The game now more open with Villa looking to catch Spurs on the counter-attack.

A mistake by Huddlestone allowed Agbonlahor to find Ashley Young in space but his centre was just too high for Carew who could get no direction or power on his header.

But Villa were now dropping back in numbers as the visitors dominated possession-wise.

The impressive Cuellar blocked a shot from Kranjcar after throwing himself at full stretch.

Redknapp made his first substitution after 65 minutes with Wilson Palacios replaced by Jermaine Jenas while the limping Reo-Coker made way for Villa midfielder Sidwell.

Friedel was again Villa's saviour when he blocked a low shot from Jenas.

Defoe bundled the rebound into the net but was adjudged to have handled by referee Phil Dowd.

With 15 minutes remaining, Emile Heskey was introduced in place of Carew.

But after 78 minutes Dawson deservedly brought Spurs back on level terms when he fired an unstoppable shot past Friedel from the edge of the box.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Tom Huddlestone
Jonathan Woodgate
Niko Kranjcar
Gabriel Agbonlahor
Football
Michael Dawson
Aaron Lennon
Nigel Reo-Coker
Habib Beye
Blackburn Rovers
James Milner
Emile Heskey
Benoit Assou-Ekotto
Premier League
Carlos Cuellar
Peter Crouch
Luke Young
Jermaine Jenas
Ashley Young
Brad Friedel
Stephen Warnock
Wigan Athletic
Aston Villa
Steve Sidwell
Sebastien Bassong
Wilson Palacios
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