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  • Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Fulham: Bale superb-header

    Tottenham Hotspur made it three-wins-from-three over the festive period with a 1-0 win over Fulham at White Hart Lane despite a sub-par performance, at White Hart Lane on Saturday 01/01/2011.
    Gareth Bale superb-header in the only goal of the game just before half-time as he reacted quickly to redirect a Rafael van der Vaart free-kick beyond Mark Schwarzer.

    However, Tottenham's usual fluidity was lacking for most of the game against a stubborn Fulham side who were perhaps unlucky not to come away with a point especially after causing Spurs plenty of problems in the second-half.

    Harry Redknapp though will no doubt point out that these are the type of games title contenders need to win and the victory puts Tottenham into fourth place, although they will be overtaken by Chelsea if the Blues beat Aston Villa on Sunday.

    Meanwhile, Fulham drop to second bottom in the table and the memorable European nights their fans enjoyed last season are beginning to look like distant memories as they face up to a real relegation battle.

    The first-half was pretty uneventful before the goal went in with Tottenham struggling to play with their usual swagger.

    Spurs have been spectacular on the counter-attack all season, but Fulham just sat in front of them in the opening period and despite the buzzing Luka Modric looking to find holes chances were few and far between.

    Van der Vaart tested Schwarzer with a fine effort and Roman Pavlychenko also got a shot on target but those long range efforts were the best they could muster in the opening 40 minutes or so.

    Fulham had a few moments up the other end too. Dickson Etuhu needed to be well defended when breaking through in the 10th minute and Dempsey whizzed a shot wide but the breakthrough finally came for Spurs at the other end in the 42nd minute from a free-kick 40-yards out.

    Van der Vaart took a shot direct from the free-kick but Bale was alert on the edge of the box and decided to stick his head on it which saw the ball fly past a flat-footed Schwarzer

    In real time the goal looked like it had an element of luck about it but replays showed Bale knew what he was doing.

    The Welshman also drew a good save from the Aussie keeper just before the break but again Spurs cooled down after the restart and Fulham slowly worked their way into the game.

    The Cottagers had a great spell of pressure just after the hour mark but couldn't find a goal with Heurelho Gomes saving their best effort which was a low drive from Andy Johnson from inside the box. Michael Dawson then looked like he was going to put the rebound into his own net but he repositioned his feet with lightning speed to clear the danger.

    The Fulham pressure eventually subsided and Tottenham had a few chances to double their advantage before the end with Bale blazing their best effort over after a great cut back from van der Vaart.

    Fulham had another late burst of pressure in injury time but could not create one last chance and Spurs managed to take the three points despite never really getting out of second gear.
    Seán Fay / Eurosport


    Team Line-up:

    Tottenham Hotspur: Gomes, Hutton, Gallas, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Palacios, Modric, Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Van der Vaart; subs: Pletikosa, Jenas, Crouch, Bassong, Kranjcar, Corluka, Sandro
    Fulham: Schwarzer, Baird, Hangeland, Hughes, Pantsil, Murphy, Duff, Etuhu, Davies, Dempsey, Andrew Johnson; subs: Stockdale, Salcido, Gera, Kamara, Dikgacoi, Greening, Halliche


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