FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2003
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0) FULHAM 3 (1)
Hayles, 23, 67
Boa Morte, 71
Referee:- Jeff Winter
Spurs (3-5-2):- Keller; King (sub Zamora, 46), Richards, Gardner; Carr, Davies (sub Anderton, 57), Redknapp (Captain), Ricketts, Taricco; Postiga, Kanoute
Subs not used:- Burch; Bunjevcevic; Marney
Fulham (4-2-1-2-1):- Van Der Sar; Volz, Knight, Goma, Bonnissel; Inamoto, Legwinski; Clark (Capt); Malbranque, Boa Morte; Hayles (sub Saha, 72)
Subs not used:- Crossley; Leacock, Buari; Sava
Booked:- Inamoto (foul on Ricketts), Volz (foul)
Spurs, and this reporter, were totally embarrassed by Fulham today, who achieved their first ever top-flight win over Spurs at The Lane, and the first such win since the 1948-9 season. I nearly wrote that Fulham were outstanding, but they were not, as they gave balls away cheaply at times, and needlessly sent passes into touch themselves. Chris Coleman had done his homework on the home side though, and packed his 5-man midfield in the middle inside the wing-backs of Hoddle, giving Ricketts and Davies little time to settle on the ball, and hassling Jamie Redknapp either off the ball or into mis-weighed passes.
Hoddle chose to change his starting line-up that had achieved so much midweek at Anfield, and at home against Leeds. Zamora was left on the bench, and Kanoute got his first start. In my view Kanoute had the touch of an elephant today, but it is not fair to focus upon him, as few good words can be said about any of the players today. Glenn's interesting switch of tactics at half-time failed dismally, but more of that later.
There was not a great deal that enthralled in the early stages, except to mention a couple of free kicks for Spurs, one taken on the right by Redknapp, and the other on the left by Taricco, both of which gave the Fulham defence a bit to worry about, but the keeper was not bothered, as was the case for much of the afternoon. Rohan Ricketts provided some magic after 13 minutes with a weaving run from the left towards the middle, when he threaded a ball to Kanoute, whose effort was blocked for a corner.
Fulham soon showed they were not there just for the ride, as Barry Hayles gave Anthony Gardner a hard time, successfully holding Gardner off the ball, before putting it into the path of Malbranque, whose shot was saved for a corner, by Keller. After 19 minutes, Fulham failed to clear properly, and Simon Davies was allowed to advance upon the area, passing to Taricco, who sliced his shot way outside the post. There was to be no repeat of his wonderful goal of last week.
Ledley King was then found to be sloppy against Malbranque, and Stephen Carr had to come to the rescue snatching the ball off Malbranque's feet. Fulham took the lead in the 23rd minute. Richards was caught out in an advanced position (still in his own half) as a quick ball out of the Fulham half reached Hayles, who was soon behind the defence. He cut back inside Richards and Gardner, on the right side of the box, to score low to Keller's right.
Rohan Ricketts was drawing cheers again from the Spurs crowd (still maintaining their vocal support of Glenn and his team), as he did well to hold, turn and pass to Taricco, who crossed to Davies. Simon's shot from 25 yards was always going wide of the mark. Inamoto was booked for his foul on Ricketts, and Carr hooked the free kick wide of the near post.
Spurs were struggling defensively against Fulham's runners who were beating the defence to too many short passes. Ledley King had a clear shooting chance from a Carr corner, but from 10 yards out, hit the ball straight to Van Der Sar. Boa Morte is not the only ex-Gooner in the Fulham line-up as they have Moritz Volz on loan and playing at right back. He was allowed a run down the right, cut the ball back to Hayles, whose chipped shot had to be tipped over the bar by Kasey Keller.
Five minutes before the break, Simon Davies threaded the ball to Kanoute, who should have scored, but hit his right foot shot across the goalmouth and out of play. Kanoute's effort was typically languid.
After the break, Ledley King was replaced by Zamora, and Spurs played in a 4-3-3. Zamora was very energetic and the most impressive of the three forwards, with Postiga returning to his first game form, and now being quite desperate for a goal. The trouble with this formation was that it lacked width, as neither Davies or Ricketts got wide with regularity, and the full backs were being pinned back by Fulham's advances. Ricketts did find his way down the left occasionally, but he was quieter than he had been in the first half. To be honest, the Spurs team looked fairly clueless, and of course it is baffling how a team that had played so well in its previous two games, could come up with such a mare today. But - this is Spurs. We've seen it all too often before, and sadly we will see it again.
Despite the half-time change, Spurs had the first scare, as Taricco lost out to Clark, whose shot was wide. Kanoute did have a good effort on 50 minutes, put through by Carr, he lobbed Van Der Sar, but the ball was headed clear for a corner. Davies was replaced by Anderton after 57 minutes, and his free kick on the hour was headed back across the area by Zamora, and nearly tuned into his own goal by Volz, but the ball rebounded off the post. Zamora ran the ball from right to left, before giving Postiga a chance to turn and hit a right footed shot, but over the bar.
Ricketts crossed the ball from the left, and Kanoute passed back to Anderton, who was miles wide with his shot. Anderton's next contribution was to set up Fulham's second goal, as his short cross-field pass caught out Richards, allowing Hayles to advance on Keller and fire home to the keeper's right. Four minutes later, it was game over for Spurs, as Hayles was the provider from the right, and Boa Morte turned the ball home from close range.
Saha replaced Hayles, and he soon got the better of Gardner, feeding Clark, who shot wide. Bobby Zamora had just given a great example to the defence and the midfield, battling away inside the Spurs half to win the ball and popped up soon after in the Fulham box, after Ricketts crossed, but Zamora could not get to the shot. Zamora did get his foot on the ball in the 83rd minute, from a cross from the right, but could get no power on the chance, going straight to Van Der Sar again.
Apart from a Kanoute header going over, that was the last of Spurs efforts, by now just to try and close the gap in front of the ever-dwindling home audience. Once again, there were empty seats in the stadium, and this result will do nothing to encourage the absentees back. Not even the news that we have apparently snatched loan signing Stephane Dalmat from Middlesbrough can take away the deeply felt disappointment, and the lack of prospect at such an early stage of any real hope for the season ahead.
We now have a two-week break before challenging Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. We all know we have not beaten them in the league since the 89-90 season, and on this form, the 1500 Spurs fans going to the Bridge will need bullet-proof armour to resist the shell-shock treatment to come.
· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
· Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
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