Spurs beat stuttering Villa

Aston Villa 1 Tottenham 2

Jermaine Jenas and Darren Bent dealt another blow to Aston Villa's Champions League hopes as Tottenham chalked up their fourth away win of the season at Villa Park.

Jenas broke the deadlock after five minutes and Bent added his 15th goal of the campaign five minutes into the second period to ease Spurs' relegation fears.

Villa have now gone seven games without a win in all competitions and have dropped out of the top four of the Barclays Premier League for the first time since early December. All they could manage was a late consolation effort from substitute John Carew.

Martin O'Neill's side came back after a break in Dubai for the final quarter of the season.

But there was little of their usual sparkle and flair after a bright start in which Ashley Young was prominent on the left flank as he caused problems for Didier Zokora.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp pulled off a masterstroke in replacing Zokora with Vedran Corluka who kept a tighter rein on the Villa winger.

Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King were a solid combination at the heart of the Tottenham back four while Jenas and Luka Modric always asked questions of the home side.

Villa central defender Curtis Davies was axed on his 24th birthday with Nigel Reo-Coker restored to the side.

But after five minutes Jenas stunned the home side by putting Tottenham ahead with his third goal of the campaign.

Aaron Lennon supplied the right-wing centre which was palmed out at full stretch by Brad Friedel - but Jenas was the first to react and headed home.

Villa tried to respond and Stiliyan Petrov was only just too high with a dipping 25-yard effort. Then Ashley Young sent in a probing cross to the near post which Emile Heskey was first to react to but deflected wide.

The Villa winger was seeing plenty of the ball and another cross was only partially cleared to Gareth Barry whose volley was turned aside by Heurelho Gomes.

Zokora became the first player to be yellow-carded after 23 minutes for a high challenge on Ashley Young near the touchline.

Ashley Young curled a 20-yard shot just past the post after creating an opening for himself by cutting inside of Lennon.

It was no surprise when Zokora, who appeared to be carrying no obvious injury, was substituted after 35 minutes and replaced by Corluka.

Friedel prevented Spurs from doubling their lead when he parried a fierce shot from Modric after he had latched on to a reverse pass from Jenas.

In first half injury time Petrov side-footed weakly straight at Gomes from 15 yards out after Heskey had laid the ball back into his path from an Agbonlahor cross.

Heskey headed against the bar in the closing seconds of the half from a deep Barry centre.

But after 50 minutes Bent doubled Spurs lead with his 15th goal of the campaign.

Friedel turned aside a first time effort from Wilson Palacios but Robbie Keane was first to react to the rebound and his cross cum shot was turned home at the far post by Bent.

Reo-Coker became the first Villa player to be yellow-carded for tugging at Bent's shirt.

Lennon was only just too high with a 20-yard effort as Tottenham began to the knock the ball around in confident fashion.

Villa striker Carew was brought on after 60 minutes in place of Zat Knight to prompt a drastic shake-up of the Villa defence.

Milner reverted to right-back, Luke Young to central defender, Reo-Coker to left-back and Agbonlahor on the right side of midfield.

Gomes was unable to hold onto a straightforward drive from Petrov but no Villa player reacted, much to the anger of the home supporters.

With five minutes remaining, Carew reduced the arrears when he headed in a centre from Milner for his 11th goal of the season.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas