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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Spurs 3 Fulham 1

Our FA Cup hopes crashed and burned at White Hart Lane last night. There`ll be no Wembley appearance, there`ll be no hopes of a first FA Cup Final appearance since 1975, instead we`re left to rue over how a game can change so much after the mandatory fifteen minute half time break.

For forty-five glorious first half minutes I was on cloud nine, our little corner of White Hart Lane was buzzing and it looked as if our awful Premier League away form had been parked for the night. But then it all went so wrong as the home side swept us aside with a display of pulsating football we had no answer for, leaving me with nothing but a glum walk home down the menacing Seven Sisters Road.

And to think I love this wonderful sport of ours!

It had been 18 days since the original quarter-final had taken place at Craven Cottage, eighteen days in which so much had happened but could the fairy-tale season (Sir) Roy had give us continue? For the fixture Brede Hangeland made a welcome comeback at the heart of the defence whilst Roy chose to go with Stephen Kelly at full back instead of Chris Baird.

The fixture was, remarkably, Fulham`s 50th of the season and our 20th cup tie!

The game started with both sides having chances, Danny Murphy saw his shot, straight at Gomes, comfortably saved whilst down the other end Wilson Palacios saw a shot, driven across goal, go just wide. Fulham continued to push forward and a Duff pull back was too deep for the advancing forwards but Etuhu managed to get a shot away that was blocked. Simon Davies, against his old club, saw his shot saved by Gomes before Fulham took the lead.

The goal was an exquisite one. Luca Modric had lost possession around the Fulham penalty area and the ball was worked with haste to Damien Duff who delivered and inch perfect pass into the path of Bobby Zamora who beat the offside trap courtesy of a lax Dawson, to roll his shot past Gomes and into the far corner. Eighteen minutes gone and White Hart Lane was stunned.

Stung by the goal, Spurs poured forward and Mark Schwarzer produced a good save to deny Eidur Gudjohnsen. Fulham survived two corners in quick succession, the first cleared by Dickson Etuhu and the second being delivered too long. Modric, bursting forward, shot wide and A Gareth Bale free kick cleared the Fulham cross bar as the home side probed and probed.

As half time neared though, Fulham could have doubled their lead. First,after Davies had won a corner, Hangeland headed over and then a diligent break aw Zoltan Gera deliver a cross to the back post only for Zamora to be stretched just too far to hit the target with his header.

Half time - Spurs 0 Fulham 1

At half time Harry Redknapp must have laid into his charges because Spurs emerged for the second half a completely different entity. With David Bentley and Tom Huddlestone on it didn`t take long for our hosts to wipe out our slender lead. Stephen Kelly received a caution for a foul dand there didn`t appear to be that much danger when Bentley prepared to take the free kick. Unfortunately, the free kick was delivered with such precision that it evaded everyone and nestled in the net, at the far post. A hammer blow with only a minute played of the second forty-five.

Fulham tried to get their noses in front again but Gomes was alert to a Davies near post effort. Bentley, presiding over a free kick in the same position from that which he scored, tried to fool Schwarzer into thinking he`d sneak one in at the near post this time but to no avail. With the atmosphere red hot, Bassong and Zamora got involved in a handbags scenario for which both were rightly booked before, just before the hour mark, Spurs took the lead for the first time in the tie when Roman Pavlyuchenko smashed home a cross from close range to give Schwarzer no chance.

For the first time in the FA Cup this year, Fulham were behind!

Unfortunately for us, Spurs were now in full flow and Schwarzer was forced to make saves from both Modric and Pavlyuchenko but with sixty-six minutes on the clock our exit from the FA Cup was more or less complete when Spurs cored a third. A flowing move opened up our defence and there was Eidur Gudjohnsen to score the second goal of his brief Spurs career.

(Sir) Roy tried to get us back into it by introducing Clint Dempsey in place of Stephen Kelly and Stefan Okaka in place of Bobby Zamora but the damage had been done!

Never mind, there`s always next year as some gentlemen next to me remarked!

Full Time - Spurs 3 Fulham 1


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The Journalist

Writer: Andrew Joyce  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 25 2010

Time: 1:36PM

Your Comments

We were beaten by a deeper squad on their home patch. Nothing to be ashamed of there. It was a good run. Proud of the boys.
Teddy_KGB
You guys had me well worried for 50 minutes or so,but maybe you've just had one game too many with the small squad you have.Incidentally,I know zamora is getting all the plaudits these days,but Duff looks like the player he was a few seasons ago,he's really impressed me for you guys this year.Is he in with a shout for player of the year?
CoxintheBox
I thought you were unlucky. You gave us a football lesson in the first half and with our defence I thought you always had a chance even after we went in front. Better luck in the Europa League.
Harry-Kari
You're right that Zamora (with his recent goal scoring) is drawing most of the accolades, but Duff's been a revelation. Before Zamora hit form in the fall, Duff more or less carried us for a month or so, and of late, in the occasional absence of Murphy, Duff has taken control of the midfield. I was against his signing initially, but now, I can't imagine where we'd be without him.
Teddy_KGB
If it's any consolation I thoguht you played some quality football in the first 45 with some great passing movement and quick closing down. You should be really pleased with the progression you have made under Roy (The next England manager). He has obviously known how to get the best out of Zamora which was somehing we failed to do as did the Spammers.
johna
i wonder why kelly played? was baird hurt? the games are piling up and i wouldn't be surprised to see some squad rotation for the lesser games in the premier league and a focus be made to the europa league... wish i could have seen the game in person, forced to watch highlights online...
woodysweats
Well played Fulham. I hope you do well in the Europa
Spurstrings
We played well in the first half, but ultimately this game is the evidence needed to justify some spending in the summer. The Spurs subs were high quality and mpact games, our subs are limited and lack anywhere near the same quality. Significant success at this level really requires strength in depth
DeuceBigelow
the dream dies for another season!
Al Billy
 

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