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Fulham v Spurs, 04.12.13


Fulham Scorer:- Dejagah, 56

Spurs scorers:-
Chiriches, 73
Holtby, 82

Attendance:-24, 128

Referee:- Mark Clattenburg.
Assistants:- Mr. S. Beck & Mr. S. Child
Fourth official:- Mr. N. Swarbrick

Fulham (4-1-3-1-1):- Stekelenburg; Riether, Senderos, Hughes, Riise; Parker ( Capt)(sub Ruiz, 87); Karagounis(sub Sidwell, 62), Kasami, Kacaniklic (sub Duff, 85); Dejegah; Berbatov (Armband to Sidwell)

Subs not used:- Stockdale; Zverotoc, Taarabt, Boateng

Booked:- Kasami (foul), Senderos (foul on Townsend)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson (Capt.), Chiriches, Vertonghen; Sandro(sub Chadli, 69), Capoue (sub Holtby, 46); Lamela (sub Townsend, 78), Paulinho, Lennon; Defoe

Subs not used:- Friedel; Naughton; Sigurdsson; Soldado

Booked:- Capoue (foul on Kacaniklic)

Holtby snatches victory for Spurs.

On a night when any other result would have been feasible, second half substitute Lewis Holtby was the hero of the hour with a fine finish inside goalkeeper Stekelenburg's left post to snatch victory with less than 10 minutes of normal time remaining.

Rene Meulensteen's Fulham side had taken the lead in the 56th minute, and gave a spirited performance for their new head coach in a game where they desperately needed some sort of return in their endeavours to climb out of the relegation zone.

As for Spurs, on a night when Manchester United lost at home to Everton, and both Newcastle and Southampton lost, they climbed three places up the table.

The home side were led by former Spurs man Scott Parker, who sat in front of the back four, still missing Brede Hangeland. Meulensteen played three in the midfield behind Dejegah, who was supporting Berbatov.

There were three significant changes for Spurs, with Capoue replacing the totally absent Dembele; Lamela coming in for Chadli, and Defoe replacing Soldado.

Lamela started on the right, but as the game progressed, he switched flanks with Aaron Lennon.

As Ray Lo has reported earlier in the season, when watching junior Spurs teams, it is difficult to make out the numbers on the back of this light blue strip, and with Spurs playing away from their fans in The Putney End, it was not easy to identify our players on the ball.

Defoe had an early shot saved by goalkeeper Stekelenburg, after Sandro's ball from the right-hand side of the field. A Fulham free kick from the left side might have had a very slight touch from Berbatov, who looked quite lively, but Lloris collected the ball safely.

Fulham looked the brighter of the sides in the early stages overall, and after a good run with the ball by Kacaniklic, and a pass inside, Berbatov was again the danger, but Lloris was the reliable last line of the Spurs defence.

Capoue took an early booking from referee Mark Clattenburg, who was keen to let the game flow as much as possible, with generosity in his decisions for both sides at times.

Riise fed Karagounis, who hit a shot on target, saved by Lloris, pushing the ball out for a corner, with a dive to his right. Kyle Walker did well against Kacaniklic to see the ball out of play for a goal kick, as Fulham attacked the left channel.

Berbatov had another effort saved by Lloris, at the expense of a corner, following a Kasami free kick. Fulham were not looking like a bottom three side, and being urged on by their fans, looked the more likely winners at this stage.

Spurs did make a powerful break, which ended in a final ball to Paulinho, whose shot from the right of goal was woefully over. Lamela started a break from the back, with a deft header to Paulinho, and Erik made the run to get on the end of Defoe's cross from the left, only to fire outside the post.

Now Lennon and Lamela switched flanks, and Lamela made a good driving run with a shot that the Fulham keeper was happy to see out for a corner. Capoue latched onto a ball following a Spurs throw on the right, but he fired wide.

Kacaniklic received a ball from the right, but his effort flew over Lloris's goal.

Andre Villas-Boas replaced Capoue with Holtby at half-time. Lewis took up the attacking slot, with Paulinho dropping back. Holtby got some leniency from the referee early on, and managed a shot on goal, which was deflected and held by Stekelenburg.

Spurs had a nice move after 52 minutes, with Lamela feeding Lennon, whose cross was cleverly back-heeled by Defoe. The ball ran out to Sandro, whose shot ended in a Spurs corner.

Berbatov hit the side netting with one shot before the home side took the lead. Spurs lost the ball in their own half, and it was fed to Dejegah, who fired home from the right side of goal, beating Lloris to his right.

Sandro was replaced by Chadli. It took a while for Spurs to level the scores, and there was a degree of fortune in the creativity of their goal, but not in its execution. It was a poor cross by Kyle Walker which was cleared by a Fulham boot as far as Chiriches standing fully 35 yards out. The Romanian had only one intention, and that was to aim for goal, which he did with a powerfully hit low drive, which left the Fulham keeper floundering, and the Spurs crowd leaping as the ball hit the net.

Defoe tried a shot with his trailing left foot after 75 minutes from a long ball, but the shot was wide

Lamela was replaced by Townsend, who took up a position on the left side. Berbatov had an effort saved by Lloris, following Kacaniklic's free kick, before Lewis Holtby scored a great goal to snatch the lead for Spurs. This time, Walker hit a good accurate cross, and Holtby gave Stekelenburg no chance with a fine shot to the keeper's left.

Spurs now had very much the upper hand, and might have increased their lead, following a Walker cross, a Holtby chip, and an attempted header by Paulinho, which was saved

Lloris resisted Fulham pressure late in the game with good save or two assisted on one occasion when Kasami hit the outside of the post.

Spurs saw out the three minutes of added time, and climbed three places in the league, whilst Fulham are stuck in the bottom three as a result of their sixth consecutive league defeat.

There was one worrying sign for Spurs at the end of the game, when Vertonghen was hobbling, and might be a doubt for Saturday tea-time at Sunderland.

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