Cottagers lose out to Spurs
Written By: Robert Halter
Fulham boss Martin Jol’s ties with Tottenham Hotspur may have ended but he faced the task of playing Spurs as the Whites hosted a London derby at Craven Cottage. After Europa League action for both teams it was the bread and butter of the Premier League for Sunday’s showdown as the Lilywhites looked to extend their unbeaten run to seven matches and keep pace with the top four in the table while the Cottagers sat on the other side of the fence in fifteenth place. Brad Friedel was forced into action in the opening minute as instinctive goalkeeping by the Spurs shot stopper kept out Steve Sidwell’s header from a Danny Murphy corner. But it was Spurs that took the lead on ten minutes after Mark Schwarzer failed to bold onto a low drive by Aaron Lennon and from an acute angle, Gareth Bale’s shot deflected off Chris Baird into the back of the net. The Whites responded three minutes later when John Arne Riise’s dipping cross was tipped over by Friedel. Midway through the first half, Friedel prevented another Fulham attack after he blocked Clint Dempsey’s strike with both feet as the Whites went in search of an equaliser. Unfortunately for Fulham they found themselves two nil down at the break, after an unstoppable run by Lennon down the left flank and with Baird and Zdenek Grygera backing off, Lennon punished the Cottagers’ defenders by drilling his shot past Schwarzer into the bottom right corner. Again Friedel palmed over another Whites header, this time from Brede Hangeland off a Damien Duff corner, seven minutes into the re-start as Fulham tried to find a way through to the Spurs goal. Finally the Cottagers persistence paid off on fifty seven minutes when from Duff’s corner Ledley King headed the ball against his own defender Younes Kaboul as a Spurs own goal got Fulham back into the match. Another block by Friedel’s legs stopped Mousa Dembele’s effort on sixty minutes to keep out a certain equaliser as the Whites continued to press forward. Nine minutes later, Friedel was called into further action as the Spurs keeper stopped Baird’s fierce low strike by diving full length to his left. A strong defensive block by the Tottenham captain King diverted the danger from the advancing Dempsey in the seventy fourth minute, after a pass by Bryan Ruiz created another Whites opportunity. Ten minutes from normal time, Bobby Zamora saw his shot comfortably stopped by Friedel at his near post as Fulham tried to get back to all square. It wasn’t Fulham’s day as Dempsey was denied by a blatant handball by Kyle Walker and then Dempsey had a header cleared off the line by Luka Modric. It turned the whole course of the match as Jermain Defoe hammered home Emmanuel Adebayor’s cross to round off a 3-1 away win for Tottenham Hotspur.