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 the victory over London rivals Fulham as two first half goals from Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon and another in second half stoppage time from Jermain Defoe sealed the victory for visitors as Martin Jol's side's second half display was not quite enough to earn a draw.
Tottenham, still without Redknapp in the dugout following surgery, dominated the first period with the home side looking stronger in the second.
Jol made changes to his starting XI with Andy Johson missing out which allowed Steve Sidwell back in the team which beat Wisla Krakow on Thursday. The partnership of Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond left things as they were after the QPR game 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 pulled back pass to Aaron 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 in the lead, Fulham had to take the lead 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 current 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 the 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 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 ricocheting 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 smashed 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-half pairing and bore down on goal only to see his shot knocked wide by King whose slid was a crucial intervention, the chance to level up gone.
The final moments of the game summed up Fulham's afternoon perfectly. Two goal line scrambles in quick succesion kept everyone on the edge of the seats but brilliant concentration for Friedel and a huge slice of luck kept Fulham out.
And, as to twist the knife, Tottenham's next attack killed the game with Jermain Defoe volleying in from a bye line cross to give the visitors all three points.
Fulham would take great pride from their second half display but questions would be asked why it took until they were two goals down until the started to play.