While Tottenham were on the back foot for much of this 0-0 draw at
Fulham, they could have snuck a win at the end of the game, although it
might have been a bit of an injustice as the Cottagers had the majority
of the chances and a fine performance by Heurelho Gomes thwarted them in
Right from the start
Fulham attacked, with Damien Duff testing Gomes inside the first minute
with a drive that the keeper took after gathering the rebound.
With a number of ex-Spurs players in the home team, they were keen to
make an impression and Danny Murphy certainly did - on the Tottenham
players - with a few early challenges, which brought a talking to from
the ref. The first clear chance came in the ninth minute, although
it was created out of nothing, as Zoltan Gera back-heeled a firm shot at
goal to John Pantsil's low right wing cross as it was about to pass
With about ten minutes gone, a corner
from Duff was half-cleared and Murphy struck the dropping ball well, but
his rising shot was tipped over the bar by a dive from Heurelho Gomes.
It was an athletic save that twelve months ago, Spurs fans might have
not thought he was capable of making, but now his decision making is
better and he has the confidence to react to shots and crosses better
too. However from the following corner, Fulham were close to
opening the score as Baird got to the ball first with his head and Gera
was close to getting a telling touch on the ball at the far post.
The Cottagers had shots on goal from
Dempsey who hit one too high, one too wide and then a 25 yard free-kick
on target beating Gomes' dive, but the crossbar came to Tottenham's
rescue and kept the ball out, as it glances off the top of the woodwork
and over the top.
In between Spurs had been getting into
the game a bit more offensively. Kranjcar struck a free kick that
looked as though it had beaten Schwarzer, which it had, but it also beat
the post and bounced off the stanchion at the back of the left hand side
of the goal. Gera shot wide when Gomes punched out a cross and
then Bobby Zamora, who has looked in good goal-scoring form, hit a
volley that went over from 25 yards out. As the half came to a
close, it was Spurs who were going forward and while they had good
possession, had yet to make a decent chance that ended with a shot on
The break did change the flow of the play
and Fulham kicked off with Tottenham pressing a bit more and making
in-roads into the Fulham half. Jenas and Crouch linked well before
the midfielder curled a left foot shot just too far wide of the left
hand post. Although Crouch had another effort from distance, it
was too high again and either side of it Gomes had to produce very good
stops to deny Zamora. Firstly, he threw himself left to parry away
the header from the former Spurs forward and then pounce to smother the
loose ball and then on the second occasion, the Octopus managed to throw
out a lengthy left arm to push the ball away after Zamora had hung in
the air to power a header to the keeper's left once more.
In between the headers, Fulham had
another good opening. While Wilson Palacios has made a difference
to the heart of the Tottenham midfield, he still has some developing to
do, as he made a crunching tackle on Clint Dempsey on the halfway line,
then bumped into him as he ran into the Spurs half as play continued.
However, sometimes, Palacios gets distracted and here he ran towards the
ball rather than tracking his man, leaving a simple pass to Dempsey to
shoot at goal. Luckily, he put his effort weakly to the keeper's
right and Gomes was able to get down to get his body behind the ball to
prevent it going in.
After the second header, Redknapp
replaced Kranjcar and Keane with Modric and Defoe, which seemed to perk
up the Spurs side a bit. Crouch headed down for Defoe to try and
overhead kick and then nine minutes from the end, Tottenham's big chance
came. Crouch hit a dipping shot that forced Schwarzer down low at
the foot of his right hand post and he pushed the ball out, only to
where Jermaine Jenas was running in, but the Fulham keeper was up
quickly to get his body in the way of the follow-up shot.
Even then, there was a moment when Duff
got free in the box on the left hand side of the Spurs defence and tried
to pop the ball into the opposite side of the net from a tight angle,
with luck on Tottenham's side, as the ball floated wide with Clint
Dempsey not close enough to get the finishing touch.
The match ended on a bit of a sour note,
with Sebastien Bassong getting a boot in the head and having to go off,
but Ledley King came on for the last minute of added time and got
through that OK, so should be ready to face West Ham on Monday.
With the central defensive places up for grabs at the moment, the last
thing we need is another injury.
Perhaps Fulham would have been the more
deserving winners, but Tottenham had a couple of decent chances and they
would have been happier with the point than the home side.
With Michael Dawson putting in another
fine performance, ably backed up by Gomes behind him, it is unusual, but
for once, the defence were the stars and deserve the credit for a point
which in years past might easily have been a defeat.
West Ham lie in wait on Monday and that
will be another keenly contested London derby. And one we need to
win if the European place credentials are to be taken seriously.
the heathrow spur