Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday December 26 2008
Fulham, after a good 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough last weekend, headed off to White Hart Lane eager to keep their seven game unbeaten run going against Harry Redknapp`s rejuvenated Spurs.
After grinding out three successive 0-0 results on the road - Liverpool, Aston Villa and Stoke - the Fulham faithful hoped that the fixture in N17 would deliver their first three away points of the season.
It wasn`t quite to be but a fourth 0-0 on the trot, on the road, stretched that aforementioned unbeaten record to eight games.
Unfortunately, the late news broke that Brede Hangeland would not be in the starting eleven and that Chris Baird would replace him in an otherwise unchanged eleven that played for the majority of the game, against Middlesbrough, after Zamora had replaced Gera.
The first half saw Fulham start the fixture knowing they`d only won once in sixty years at White Hart Lane. The early exchanges gave the impression that Spurs were keen to add to that statistic with Luka Modric looking very lively.
But Fulham were coping well and most of the action was confined to the congested midfield area. Chances were rare but hops of a Fulham goal were raised before Gomes produced a save to deny Dempsey.
Schwarzer then did well to deny Bentley as the wide player tried a shot from a considerable distance. Spurs, after nineteen minutes, lost Tom Huddlestone who limped off to be replaced by Jenas.
Spurs then created a chance through slick passing and movement involving Lennon and Bentley that saw Modric fire wide from outside the area. Schwarzer was then forced into pulling off a fine save from Lennon after a ball from Ekottu had almost created the perfect scoring chance.
Ledley King glanced a header wide before Gomes, acrobatically, saved a Dempsey overhead kick. Sadly, Fulham`s hopes of engineering a win dipped when Jimmy Bullard, who along with Murphy had been performing well in the middle of the park, was forced to limp off to be replaced by Dickson Etuhu.
As half time approached a good Fulham move involving Murphy and Davies opened up Spurs and Zamora saw his shot go narrowly wide. Fulham had given as good as they`d got in the first forty-five minutes.
The second half provided much of the same fare. Early on Davies produced a wonderful diagonal ball that saw Zamora knocked over by Corluka, any hopes of a penalty, especially as Fulham were the away side, were a bit too ambitious.
Once again it was developing into a midfield battle although Fulham had succeeded in forcing the dangerous Modric to go deeper and deeper. Konchsky drilled a free kick inches wide as both sides searched for that opening goal.
Modric headed an Ekotto cross wide and when Lennon opened up the Fulham defence Bent could only look on in anguish as the ball hit his heel. Redknapp introduced Pavlychenko and the Russian almost made an instant impact but his shot deflected off Hughes and went wide.
The game was still there for either side to win and Andy Johnson thought he`d done just that but Gomes pulled off another good save to deny him late on. With the stoppage time negotiated, we`d class it as a point won at a difficult ground to go to.
Next up, that lot from down the road - Chelsea.
Date:Friday December 26 2008
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