Andros Townsend continued his hot run of form with his first Premier League goal for Tottenham as they won 2-0 at Aston Villa - but the match will be recalled as much for a linesman being struck with a smoke bomb from a section of the visiting fans.
Fresh from his exploits in helping England qualify for the World Cup finals with a debut goal in a 4-1 rout of Montenegro and another influential performance in a 2-0 success against Poland, Townsend was the best player on the park in helping the London side move up to fifth in the standings, three points behind leaders Arsenal.
Townsend saw a shot bend beyond Brad Guzan for the opening goal on 31 minutes before producing a dynamic performance in running the Villa defence ragged for large swathes of the second half.
Sadly, David Bryan - who was running the line in front of the Spurs fans located in the Doug Ellis Stand - was hit by a smoke bomb thrown seconds after Townsend opened the scoring in the first half. The Football Association and the Premier League, who have issued warnings about flares this season, are likely to investigate.
Andre Villas-Boas' side recovered strongly from their 3-0 mauling by West Ham United a fortnight ago. They have 16 points from eight games, the same total as Manchester City who are above them on goals scored.
20' - WESTWOOD FREE-KICK: Fine dipping effort from the home player, but Hugo Lloris reacts well to dive and nudge away the ball on a slippery pitch.
31' - TOWNSEND GOAL: Townsend throws a cross in that goes straight into the net from out wide. Guzan couldn't get hold of the ball as it flew beyond him. Soldado let the ball go past him. Spurs lead 1-0.
45+1' - TOWNSEND CONTINUES TO IMPRESS: Ball breaks to Townsend. Plenty of pace on the shot, but a solid stop by Guzan to deny him a second goal.
60' - BENTEKE CHANCE: Golden chance for Benteke! But he heads over from six yards out. He should have scored with that one.
69' - SOLDADO SEALS IT: Lovely finish from Soldado. Played in by Paulinho. No chance for Guzan as he lifted the ball over him for a second Spurs goal. 2-0. Surely game over.
75' - ALMOST THE THIRD: Townsend with a marvellous run and cross. Paulinho inches away from connecting for the third.
Aston Villa's points total of 10 points after eight matches is their second-lowest since 2005/06, after having only five points at this stage last season.
Totttenham's total of 16 points after eight matches is their joint-best alongside three other seasons (1991/92, 2009/10, 2011/12) in the Premier League era.
Andros Townsend is the first Englishman to score a Premier League goal for Spurs after 10 consecutive goals by foreign players. Jermain Defoe was the last Englishman to score, on 21st April 2013.
Roberto Soldado scored his first goal from open play for Tottenham Hotspur, after scoring two Premier League penalties earlier in the season.
TALKING POINT: Can Townsend replace Gareth Bale in the long term? Bit too early to be talking in those terms, but it is exciting times for Spurs fans to have a player of such quality available to them so soon after flogging their key man.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Andros Townsend (Spurs): A brilliant performance from the youngster, who seems to know no fear at the moment.
Aston Villa: Guzan 6, Bacuna 6, Vlaar 6, Baker 6, El Ahmadi 6, Westwood 6, Luna 6, Delph 6, Weimann 6, Agbonlahor 5, Kozak 5. Subs: Benteke 5, Tonev 6, Sylla.
Tottenham: Lloris 7, Walker 7, Chiriches 7, Dawson 7, Vertonghen 7, Paulinho 8, Sandro 8, Townsend 9, Holtby 7, Sigurdsson 7, Soldado 8. Subs: Dembele 6, Lennon 6, Defoe 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Andros Townsend
- Aston Villa
- Premier League
- Brad Guzan
- Roberto Soldado