Fulham may have lost today and the score may have flattered Spurs, but the heart shown will stand us in good stead for the remainder of the season.
Martin Jol, facing the side he used to manage before being unceremoniously dumped in October 2007, would have been devastated to lose his current form striker, Andy Johnson, through injury in the build up to the game.
Moussa Dembele, who missed the 4-1 demolition of Wisla Kracow in midweek, through suspension, returned to the starting eleven although Bryan Ruiz could only make the bench. Absent through injury were Aaron Hughes, Philippe Senderos and the ex-Spurs player, Simon Davies.
Sours, in a garish purple kit, got the action under way but it was Fulham who almost opened the scoring. From a corner Freidel reacted marvellously to keep out a Sidwell header close to the line. The Spurs keeper then had to react well to thwart Duff as he tried to get onto Dempsey`s through ball.
Fulham`s bright start though came to a shuddering halt in the tenth minute when Chris Baird put through his own goal. Against the run-of-play, Walker burst down the flank, played to Lennon and then Baird was, unfortunately, on hand to turn in the cross-cum-shot from Bale.
Fulham 0 Spurs 1 (Baird og – 10 minutes)
Fulham responded well though and Freidel was forced into another smart save to keep out a dipping cross from Riise. Parker; caught by the flailing elbow of Steve Sidwell, required treatment for a bloodied nose, Sidwell then put Dempsey through but his effort was rather tame and Freidel made a comfortable save.
Fulham looked to be the more likely team to get the next goal with Spurs, once in possession, content to take the sting out of the game. Having forced a free kick, Murphy`s delightful ball in towards Dempsey was well cleared by Adebayor.
But, just as you thought Fulham could get back into this one, Spurs scored a second goal on the stroke of half time and a decent goal it was too. Lennon exchanged passes with Bale before shimmying past Baird and beating Schwarzer with a shot that went in off the far post.
Fulham 0 Spurs 2 (Lennon – 45+1 minutes)
Matters were compounded for Fulham when Grygera appeared to get his studs stuck in the turf and twist a knee with the cries of pain being heard all around Craven Cottage. Sadly, the player was to leave the pitch on a stretcher.
Half Time – Fulham 0 Spurs 2
Having lost Grygera to injury, Stephen Kelly was introduced at the start of the second half.
Spurs started well with Van der Vaart involved in a move that saw Schwarzer save an effort from Bale. Fulham, knowing they had to reduce the arrears to stand any chance of taking anything from this game, saw Freidel deny them again, this time producing a top-rank save to thwart a header from Hangeland.
An element of luck kept the score at 2-0 when Zamora`s effort was deflected over the bar by Kaboul. But respite was momentary for Spurs when Kaboul put through his own net just two minutes after the previous incident. Murphy delivered another decent corner and King headed it against Kaboul and in the net it came to rest.
Fulham 1 Spurs 2 (Kaboul og – 57 minutes)
Pushing forward, Fulham almost drew level when Freidel, once again, produced a decent save, this time to deny Dembele after some good work from Zamora.
A free kick, on the edge of the area, looked to be destined for Murphy but the ball was worked to Baird and Freidel produced another great save to keep out his fierce shot.
As we started to fear time was running out, Jol introduced Ruiz in place of a tiring Duff. Fulham continued to push Spurs back Ruiz slipped the perfect ball through to Dempsey and even though he rounded Freidel the ball just wouldn`t go in with King clearing it off the line.
A final throw of the dice saw Etuhu brought on for Murphy. Freidel meanwhile, continued to defy Fulham, this time saving a Dempsey header from a Kelly cross. Dembele then fed Zamora but his shot wasn`t testing enough to beat the outstanding Freidel.
As we entered the final five of the ninety minutes, Parker blocked a shot from Ruiz, a late free kick gave us one last chance but the delivery, from Ruiz, was woeful. Four minutes of stoppage time were announced but Fulham just couldn`t create that one last clear-cut chance to beat Freidel, when they did, it was Modric who hacked a Dempsey effort of the line.
Just to rub salt into the wounds, Spurs nicked a third. In the fifth minute of stoppage time Defoe hit a sweet volley from an Adebayor assist and it was game over.
Fulham 1 Spurs 3 (Defoe – 90 + 5 minutes)
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