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  • Fulham 1-3 Tottenham: Bale, Lennon great-strike

    Tottenham Hotspur withstood a sustained and brutal assault from Fulham in the second half as they somehow escaped Craven Cottage with a 3-1 win that takes them joint fourth in the Premier League.
    With manager Harry Redknapp convalescing following heart surgery which could see him sidelined for as much as five weeks, Tottenham were in the hands of Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond and enjoyed an excellent first half as goals from Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon put them firmly in control.

    Fulham, having lost Zdenek Grygera to an apparently serious injury at the end of the first half, responded magnificently though and created a deluge of chances in the second half. They forced an own goal from Younes Kaboul but a combination of some wayward finishing and Brad Friedel's excellence prevented them from taking a deserved point, or even a win.

    Friedel, the oldest man active in the Premier League, was making outstanding saves deep into injury time, before the final insult arrived to the home side when Jermain Defoe lashed home a deflected effort with just seconds left.

    The result extends Spurs' impressive run to seven wins in their past eight Premier League games, while former boss Martin Jol sees a run of two consecutive victories brought to a halt to leave Fulham just a point clear of the relegation zone.

    Friedel showed his intent early on when a brilliant save prevented Steve Sidwell from heading home when charging to the near post to meet a corner.

    However, Tottenham needed only 10 minutes to edge in front in Sunday's London derby. Kyle Walker's pace saw him fly past John Arne Riise and from his cut-back Lennon whipped in a cross that found Bale at the back post. He thumped the ball back across the face of goal and while it may just have been creeping in, Baird inadvertently made sure when turning it into his own net.

    A stoppage was required when Sidwell's elbow caught Scott Parker in the face, opening up a nasty gash on his nose that required stitches, while the Fulham midfielder later teed up Clint Dempsey for a low drive with a clever pass around the corner as he fell to ground.

    Fulham never looked like exerting a grip on the game though and fell 2-0 down after 45 minutes. Lennon played the ball to Bale, who returned the favour with a flourish and a flick. Lennon took his cue to bomb towards goal and after racing 20 yards with the ball, turned Baird one way and then the other before lashing the ball into the far corner with his left foot.

    It appeared that Lennon's fine effort had been the last significant action of the half but Grygera collapsed, screaming in pain, after seemingly jarring his knee and required oxygen before leaving the pitch on a stretcher following lengthy treatment on what seemed a serious injury.

    Fulham responded magnificently to a difficult first half though and emerged with real purpose. As the home side won a succession of corners, Brede Hangeland forced Friedel into a fine save as he tipped over the bar.

    Clint Dempsey then saw a deflected effort go behind for another set-piece on 57 minutes, and Fulham capitalised in fortunate circumstances. Tottenham stalwart King rose to meet the ball but only succeeded in heading it against the arm of Kaboul and past Friedel.

    Fulham were energised, with Dembele in particular coming to life. The Belgium international tested Friedel from range before then receiving a pass from Zamora and drilling another effort at the Tottenham goalkeeper.

    Tottenham seemed incapable of restraining a rampant Fulham side, though when Kaboul was penalised for handball on the edge of the box it seemed a harsh decision, even if the booking for his petulant reaction was not. Murphy rolled the ball square for Baird, who saw his fiercely-struck drive parried away by Friedel.

    Spurs had lost their grip on the game entirely and their defence was opened up once again on 75 minutes when Dempsey stole in, rounded Friedel and saw his goal-bound effort blocked by the sliding King. The American was then denied when compatriot Friedel saved from his header four minutes later.

    Jordan and Bond, standing in for Redknapp, introduced Sandro for Lennon in a bid to tighten things up, but Fulham continued to push forward and Zamora saw a low effort saved by Friedel at his near post after darting between King and Kaboul.

    Friedel was starting to resemble an immovable object and pulled off another remarkable stop to deny Dempsey from close range before chaos ensued in the Spurs box. Walker clearly handled the ball when on the floor, basically caught it in fact, but was unpunished as Spurs cleared behind for a corner.

    From the set-piece, Friedel fumbled Hangeland's header before Modric produced a brilliant goal-line clearance to deny Dempsey, again.

    There was still time for a goal but, incredibly, it went to Spurs as substitute Jermain Defoe lashed home deep into injury time to seal the most undeserved of victories.

    Source: Eurosport


    Fulham: Schwarzer, Grygera, Baird, Hangeland, Riise, Dempsey, Murphy, Sidwell, Duff, Zamora, Dembele; Subs: Frei, Kelly, Briggs, Etuhu, Kasami, Etheridge, Ruiz
    Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Modric, Parker, Bale, Van der Vaart, Adebayor; Subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Corluka, Livermore, Sandro, Pienaar, Defoe


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