Win sees Spurs move into fifth in Premier League whilst Martin Jol's men drop to within one point of relegation zone as spirited Cottagers fall short in coming back from deficitTottenham were made to dig in for a 3-1 victory over London rivals Fulham as first-half goals from Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon and another in second-half stoppage time from Jermain Defoe sealed the win as the hosts' second-half display was not quite enough to earn a draw.
Tottenham, still without Harry Redknapp in the dugout following heart surgery, dominated the first period with the home side looking stronger in the second.
Jol made changes to his starting XI with Andy Johnson missing out which allowed Steve Sidwell a place back in the team which beat Wisla Krakow on Thursday. The partnership of Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond, filling in for Tottenham boss Redknapp, left things as they were after last week's win over QPR as the visitors entered the game on a run of six wins in their last seven.
Tottenham wasted no time in getting their noses in front as a speedy run on the right from full-back Kyle Walker stretched the Fulham defence. The 21-year-old’s cut-back to Lennon was smashed to the far post until Mark Schwarzer deflected the ball wide to his right. The danger was still present as Bale put the ball back into the area only for Baird to slide the ball into his own net.
A blow to the nose of Scott Parker caused a break in play after 20 minutes as the England international had to leave the field to be patched up with blood running from the bridge of his nose.
Shortly after, Fulham broke the Tottenham defence with Clint Dempsey’s low shot being pushed away by fellow American Brad Friedel.
With the visitors ahead, Fulham had to take the advantage in the game and an unexpected figure in Emmanuel Adebayor came to the rescue for Tottenham to keep the lead intact. From a free kick on the right, the striker made a couple of headers to help out his defenders and maintain the advantage.
Bobby Zamora had an opportunity to get his side back into the game shortly before half-time but his free kick from the left of the Tottenham box sailed high over the bar, drawing a cutting chant from the away fans in the process.
A marvellous moment of teamwork between the trio of Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Bale and Lennon produced the second goal for Tottenham in stoppage time of the first half. The three moved the ball with ease with quick passing and crisp running which sprung the winger to slide in the second goal of the game.
The period finished in an unpleasant manner as Fulham’s Zdenek Grygera appeared to twist his left knee and was carried from the field on a stretcher with what was clearly a painful and nasty injury.
Whatever Jol told his side in the dressing room at half-time certainly did the trick as the home side came flying out of the blocks and showed real purpose and energy which Tottenham struggled to cope with. Shots were flying in for Fulham with Duff and Zamora both testing the defence.
This sustained pressure paid off from a corner when a Ledley King header ricocheted off the back of Younes Kaboul and beyond Friedel with the big defender knowing little about it. The goal was just reward for Fulham who deserved to keep the game within arm’s length with their efforts following the interval.
The openings kept coming for Fulham and Baird nearly made amends for his involvement in the first goal with a fierce effort at goal which required Freidel to pull off another classy save. The warning bells must have been ringing loud and clear for Tottenham as the Fulham revival was unabated.
Dempsey would have been kicking himself after 74 minutes as he broke through the centre-back pairing and bore down on goal, only to see his shot knocked wide by King whose slide was a crucial intervention.
The final moments of the game summed up Fulham's afternoon perfectly. Two goalline scrambles in quick succession kept everyone on the edge of their seats but brilliant concentration from Friedel and a huge slice of luck kept Fulham out.
And Tottenham's next attack killed the game off, with Defoe volleying in from a byeline cross to give the visitors all three points.
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