Spurs win London derby
Tottenham won 3-1 at Fulham to continue impressive season
Last Updated: 06/11/11 7:35pm
Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs players celebrate Gareth Bale¿s opening goal at Craven Cottage
Tottenham Hotspur maintained their chase for a top-four finish in the Premier League as they defeated Fulham 3-1 at Craven Cottage in the London derby on Sunday.
Spurs made a fierce start to the game and went ahead as early as the 10th minute through Gareth Bale and doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time when Aaron Lennon found the target.
However, Fulham came back strongly in the second session and pulled one back just before the hour mark when Younes Kaboul inadvertently put the ball into his own goal.
The Cottagers could have added to their tally especially in the final minutes, but it was Spurs who netted the ball in injury time through Jermain Defoe
The 3-1 victory means that Tottenham are now fifth in the table, level on 22 points with fourth-placed Chelsea but with a game in hand, while Fulham continue to struggle near the relegation zone.
Harry Redknapp, watching from home as he continues his recovery from a heart procedure, will be content with the three points but this was not the Tottenham that dazzled against QPR last weekend.
The starting line-up may have been identical, but they rode their luck like never before to stay snapping at the heals of the top four.
Just two minutes into the match Brad Friedel, who was superb throughout, was forced to display lightening reflexes to deny Fulham.
A corner by Danny Murphy was met by the onrushing Steve Sidwell only for his glancing header to be kept out on the line by Friedel.
The pace was frantic and Mark Schwarzer had to punch the ball to safety as slick passing from Tottenham swept them deep into Fulham's half.
Both teams attacked with vigour but Spurs were more dynamic and they surged ahead in the 10th minute through a goal from Gareth Bale.
Lennon threaded a dangerous pass across goal which Schwarzer pushed to the side of the area where Bale was stationed.
The Wales international drilled the ball back across goal and it was deflected into the next by helpless Fulham defender Chris Baird.
Spurs' defence was caught napping when Sidwell slipped a pass to Clint Dempsey but the American failed to connect cleanly on a glorious chance and Friedel saved.
Just as an increasingly lifeless first half entered injury-time, Tottenham struck for a second time through Lennon.
The England winger jinked his way into the area, skipping around Baird in the process, and directed a shot into the bottom right corner of the net a heartbeat before two Fulham players came sliding in.
The Cottagers then endured further misery when Zdenek Grygera had to be stretchered from the pitch after appearing to injury his right knee while making a routine tackle on Bale.
Excellent link-up play between Bale and Emmanuel Adebayor, who was enduring a quiet afternoon, concluded with the Welshman failing to seriously test Schwarzer.
Brede Hangeland saw a goalbound header tipped over by Friedel and moments later Kaboul nearly nodded a shot by Bobby Zamora into his own net.
However, Kaboul succeeded in beating his own keeper in the 57th minute as rampant Fulham deservedly hit back.
Hangeland jumped to meet a corner and his presence disrupted Tottenham's defence with Ledley King nodding the ball against Kaboul's back and into the goal.
Fulham's dominance continued as they poured forward in search of the equaliser, the hapless Kaboul conceding a free kick that Baird smashed at Friedel.
Only last-gasp intervention from King prevented Dempsey supplying the equaliser after the American midfielder had rounded Friedel.
Once more Friedel came to the rescue, this time after Zamora had expertly timed his run into the box to outfox King.
Greater drama was to follow during injury time as first Kyle Walker handled the ball during a frantic goalmouth scramble, an offence that went unpunished, and then Luka Modric cleared a late effort off the line.
Fulham then suffered the cruel blow of seeing Defoe prod home to end an action-packed encounter.
|Fulham||Team Statistics||Tottenham Hotspur|
|0||1st Half Goals||2|
|13||Shots on Target||5|
|7||Shots off Target||1|
Barclays Premier League
|7||West Ham United||22||36|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||22||22|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||22||19|