Fulham 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur – Match Review

Tottenham made it seven wins in eight after beating Fulham, in a thrilling London Derby at Craven Cottage, despite manager Harry Redknapp being missing from the dugout.

Aaron Lennon proved to be the match winner scoring a minute into first half injury time after a Younes Kaboul own goal had cancelled out teammate Gareth Bales 10th minute opener. Jermain Defoe made the points safe deep into a second half that was dominated by the home side with Fulham putting their all into finding an equaliser but finding Brad Friedel in inspired form as Spurs retained their place in the Premier League’s top five. They were without manager Redknapp after his heart surgery in midweek and he will have been happy with his sides display on the Thames. His predecessor Martin Jol will also be pleased by his sides display as they matched their opponents battering them for much of the second half in search of that vital second goal. It never came and it leaves the Cottagers just a point above the relegation zone in 16th going into the international break. Spurs on the other hand are flying high after their disastrous start to the campaign and once again produced a display that will have the White Hart Lane faithful salivating as they moved within a whisker of a Champions League place.

They almost found themselves behind after only a few minutes as the home side showed no signs of a European hangover with the visitors having veteran keeper Friedel to thank for keeping the score level with two superb saves. The 40-year-old American was playing an astonishing 276th game in succession and showed that his agility and alertness has yet to desert him as he brilliantly kept Steve Sidwell’s close range header from crossing the line. He was called into action again just moments later snuffing out Damien Duff as the winger latched onto Clint Dempsey’s quality through ball. Those missed opportunities came back to haunt the Cottagers as Bale, brought to North London by Jol, put Spurs in front with arguably their first real chance of the game. Kyle Walker burst up the right side laying the ball into Lennon to cross for the Welshman who smashed an effort across goal and into the net with the ball taking a nick off Chris Baird on it’s way in. Going a goal down didn’t suppress Fulham’s ambition and they were back on the offensive straight away with Friedel denying them once again tipping John Arne Riise’s wayward cross over the bar. Dempsey then had s glorious opportunity to surpass Brian McBride as the highest scoring American in the top flight only to produce a tame effort after Sidwell’s pass split the Spurs defence wide open.

Again their lack of sharpness in front of goal proved to be fatal as Lennon extended Spurs’ lead a minute into first half injury time exchanging passes with Bale before tricking his way past Baird and firing the ball into the net via the left hand post. Despite going two goals down Fulham didn’t let the tempo drop after the restart as they searched in vain for a goal to bring them back into the game. Unfortunately they just couldn’t find a way past Friedel with Brede Hangeland seeing his header tipped over the bar as the Craven Cottage crowd roared their team on. It was going to take something special to beat the former Blackburn keeper and it was a Spurs player who provided it just before the hour mark in calamitous circumstances. The defender could do nothing as Ledley King headed Danny Murphy’s corner off his back with the ball finally breaching Friedel’s goal. It was one way traffic from then on as Fulham strived to find an equaliser with Moussa Dembele, Bobby Zamora, Baird, Murphy and Dempsey having chances for the latter seeing his shot blocked on the line by King after rounding Friedel on his way to goal before seeing his header scrambled away by Luka Modric at the death. The Cottagers relentless pressure just wasn’t going to tell and they were made to pay for their offensive gambles in the burning embers as substitute Defoe volleyed home from Emmanuel Adebayor’s cut back to wrap up a brilliant away win for Spurs and their absent boss.

 


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