Football: Nielsen shows the way to finish

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Aston Villa 0

Mark Bosnich's Nazi salute apart there was little else to inflame the passions for the first hour at White Hart Lane on Saturday. The game had been a catalogue of off-target finishing until Alan Nielsen found the net with his first goal for the club to give Spurs their first home win of the season.

It was a timely reminder that Gerry Francis could do with a few more like the Dane, his one and only pre-season signing. But if there was discontent at Alan Sugar's lame excuse for not spending some of that pounds 11.9m profit announced earlier in the week, it never revealed itself.

That elusive victory seemed as far away as ever, even against a Villa side lacking Gareth Southgate's reassuring presence in defence, until Nielsen struck following a cross by Ruel Fox and a kindly rebound off the hand of Ugo Ehiogu.

The fact that it came against a side that they had failed to beat in their previous 14 meetings made it all the more sweet. But even that and Chris Armstrong's slightly premature return from injury couldn't disguise the deficiencies which Francis has been striving particularly hard of late to rectify. The Spurs manager has made Judith Chalmers seem like an old stay-at-home in the last fortnight, as he has sped between seven countries in order to set up a European network of scouts.

As for Villa, not so long ago the championship dark horses, it is a case of back to the drawing board. This was their seventh game without a win - five of them draws. "We're beginning to become a team that's probably quite interesting to watch but one that might not win many games. There's something missing," Little said.

The occasional ability of his strikers to be as anonymous as they can be conspicuous - Dwight Yorke and Savo Milosevic both scored hat-tricks last time out - is at the root of their problems.

Goal: Nielsen (61) 1-0.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Carr, Campbell, Calderwood, Wilson; Fox, Nielsen (Nethercott, 90), Howells, Sinton (Edinburgh, 37); Sheringham, Armstrong. Substitutes not used: Austin, Bardsen (gk), Fenn.

Aston Villa (3-5-2): Bosnich; Ehiogu, Staunton, Taylor; Nelson, Townsend (Tiler, 75), Draper (Joachim, 75), Curcic, Wright; Milosevic (Johnson 75), Yorke. Substitutes not used: Farrelly, Oakes (gk).

Referee: P Jones (Leicestershire).

Bookings: Spurs: Sheringham. Villa: Bosnich, Taylor.

Man of the match: Curcic.

Attendance: 32,847.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific