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Fulham v Spurs, 01.12.12


Sandro, 55
Defoe, 72, 77


Referee:- Mr. C.Foy
Assistants:- Mr. M. McDonough & Mr. R. Ganfield
Fourth official:- Mr. J. Moss

Fulham (4-4-2):- Schwarzer; Riether (sub Kelly, 29), Senderos, Hughes, Riise; Dejagah, Diarra, Sidwell, Frei (sub Duff, 62); Petric (sub Rodallega, 79), Berbatov (Capt.)

Subs not used:- Etheridge;Baird; Richardson, Karagounis

No bookings

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris; Naughton, Dawson (Capt. ) (sub Gallas, 17), Caulker, Vertonghen; Sandro, Dembele (sub Carroll, 84); Lennon, Dempsey, Bale (sub Sigurdsson, 62); Defoe (Armband to Gallas)

Subs not used:- Friedel; Walker; Falque, Livemore

Booked:- Bale (simulation), Gallas

A touch of Brazilian magic opens the game for Spurs.

Until Spurs' Brazilian midfielder drilled a super 35 yard shot that beat Mark Schwarzer at his right post in the 55th minute, this game was destined to be the bottom of the pile on BBC's Match of The Day running order. Chances had been few and far between, as both sides tended to cancel each other out.

Once Sandro so dramatically opened the scoring, the game inevitably opened up, as Fulham had to try and get back on level terms at least.With their ex-players Mousa Dembele and Clint Dempsey to the fore, Spurs took advantage of the spaces opening up before them, and Jermain Defoe gleefully snapped up another two goals for his current collection.

AVB had started Michael Dawson in preference to Gallas, and Dawson was unlucky to suffer injury after only 15 minutes, allowing Gallas to take his place anyway. Steven Caulker returned, and Kyle Walker sat out the game on the bench, replaced by Naughton. In front of the defence, the Spurs side was unchanged, except this time Dempsey played behind and not beside Defoe.

For Fulham, Dimitar Berbatov was captain, and got a mixed reception from the mass of travelling fans, whereas, as per usual, there was a love-in for Martin Jol.

Berbatov was quite dangerous in the first half. He tended to play on the left of Petric, but had licence to appear across the field of play, which he did. After only three minutes, Berbatov's ball from the left beat the defence, and was heading for Sidwell, but Lloris was out to the edge of his area to claim the ball.

Sidwell was busy for Fulham, and showed some of the form that took Chelsea's eye a few years ago, when he was signed from Reading.

I ought to add that Spurs and Fulham fans had been buoyed by the news that Chelsea had lost at Upton Park. For Spurs this meant an opportunity to draw level on points with the Spanish waiter's charges.

Naughton got to an advanced position down the line and passed inside to Defoe, who met him half-way. Defoe fed the ball inside to Dempsey, who hit a decent effort across Schwarzer's goal.

Spurs were finding themselves tightly marked wherever they went in the Fulham half, and somehow there seemed to be two or three white shirts around Lennon or Bale, whenever they moved down the line.

Spurs also persistently fell into the trap of moving backwards from a free kick of throw-in near the half-way line, and on one of these occasions they lost possession, and after a cross from the right, Frei hit a shot that went miles too high.

Gareth Bale took an early booking from Mr. Foy for alleged simulation, and the word is that for the second game running, Bale has been unfairly maligned.

Fulham's best chance fell to Petric from close range, after John Arne Riise was allowed to cross hard and low from the left. Lloris was in the right spot to make a good reflex save.

Dempsey had another decent effort in front of the Fulham end, after an attacking throw, and a good through ball by Sandro. It was another shot that passed wide across the goal.

Fulham also had to make a first half substitution, when right back Riether was replaced by former Spur Stephen Kelly. After 31 minutes, Aaron Lennon managed to break clear of the Fulham shackles and run with the ball through the middle. He fed the ball to Defoe, but Schwarzer got to the ball first.

Berbatov looked as if he had started a move with a subtle handball, but it ended with Petric firing wide. Vertonghen made a run down the left and combined with Lennon, who had switched flanks. Lennon crossed and Bale met the ball at the near post, but fired wide. Just before the break, Bale fed Dempsey who crossed from the right for Defoe, whose shot was held.

Early in the second half, Sandro fell when challenged and Sidwell was allowed a shot, which was wide.

It was a while before the deadlock was broken, but it came after some Spurs pressure and several throws on the right. When the ball was crossed, it fell to Sandro 35 yards out, but with enough space in front of him to think about goal. He drilled that shot low and hard; Schwarzer dived to his right and got a touch, but could only push the ball onto the post, when it rebounded into the net.

After 59 minutes,Bale made a run for Defoe, who had options, because Vertonghen had also advanced to the left of Defoe. Defoe chose Bale, and Schwarzer could only parry the Welsh winger's powerful shot. Soon after that, Bale was crocked and had to be replaced by Sigurdsson. Dempsey moved to the left flank.

Damien Duff had come on for Frei, and hit a good high cross from the right, which Dejagah headed over.

Spurs were defending stoutly and successfully when they had to, but scored two more goals to secure the win in the 72nd and 77th minute.

Firstly, after Dempsey battled for the ball and won, he skilfully sent Sigurdsson away on a run which resembled that of Ginola in the FA Cup all those years ago against Barnsley, without the same number of obstacles. Sigurdsson might have shot, but he unselfishly laid the ball on for Defoe to fire home.

Five minutes later, Dempsey made the run and pierced the tiring Fulham defence with a pass that left Defoe with the easy job of scoring again.

In a last throw of the dice, Martin Jol put on Rodallega for Petric, and the former Wigan man did force one save from Lloris. Sigurdsson had a shot at the other end, dealt with by Schwarzer.

Tom Carroll replaced Dembele in the latter stages, and Spurs comfortably saw out the remainder of the game"

In the last few minutes, the news broke through that Arsenal had conceded to one, but two goals at home to Swansea, and chants of "Shame about the Arsenal" rang out.

With three consecutive league wins in 7 days, Spurs have reclaimed fourth place, and it has been a great day indeed. Even Bale's injury does not seem to be as bad as it had been feared.

Referee Chris Foy was much maligned last year after his performance in our game at The Britannia Stadium, but in his last two matches in charge, we have won at Old Trafford, and now at Craven Cottage. Can you do Goodison Park next week, ref?

Spurs' recent record in London Derby matches

Jermain Defoe's post-match interview with Absolute Radio

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