Fan Report: Fulham 0-0 Spurs – Stalemate at the Cottage

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An outstanding performance from Heurelho Gomes meant we took a valuable point from Craven Cottage on Saturday. The Brazilian hurled himself high and low and left and right to keep out efforts from Murphy, Dempsey and Zamora, the latter two several times. In return we mustered only one notable effort on goal, a 25 yarder from Crouch with ten minutes left that Schwarzer could only parry. Unfortunately Jenas couldn’t quite force home the rebound.

The fact that Fulham were so dominant in the stats was a bit odd given the amount of possession we had. We had a lot of the ball in front of them but couldn’t break through. They played with just Zamora up front and flooded the midfield. We played our normal 4-4-2 except that Harry chucked in a couple of surprises by starting with Keane and Jenas ahead instead of Defoe and Huddlestone. Anyway the result was a very very crowded central area where no Spurs player found any space for long. Jenas, Kranjcar & especially Palacios worked their socks off throughout to combat a very confident and occasionally physical Murphy, Dempsey, Gera, Baird and Duff.

Lennon spent most of the time waiting for a telling pass that rarely came. Though he was quickly closed down by Dempsey and Konchesky whenever he did manage to get a touch, he did provide at least two lovely balls across the front of the home keeper (one in each half) that neither of our strikers had anticipated. Robbie Keane played very well at Blackburn last week when he came on as sub but found things much harder going here where his lack of speed was obvious on a number of occasions. He did though give the midfield much needed & valuable help in the middle third.

The back four all put in good performances and will be pleased with the clean sheet but the ease with which Zamora (Zamora for Christ’s sake!) was able to hold the ball up and play in the supporting midfielders was the reason why Fulham ended up creating so many more opportunities than us. Bassong in particular struggled against him and after giving away one free kick turned to his teammates shrugging his shoulders as though to say “I don’t know what else to do”.

The game sank into bouts of head tennis for periods in the second half as space continued to be at a premium. Fulham were starting to gain the upper hand as Kranjcar and Jenas looked to be tiring in the middle but a double substitution (Defoe & Modric for Keane & Kranjcar) tilted the balance back towards us and Defoe soon sent a shot over his shoulder and over the bar. It was noticeable how much our range of passing increased when Modric came on.

Gomes could do nothing in the 88th minute as Duff got behind Assou-Ekotto and laid the ball across to the far post where Dempsey arrived just too late but that was the last scare. The Spurs support was enthusiastic from the start, especially compared to the efforts of the comatose home fans. You can say “we should win games like this if we want to be top four” all you want but I think all Spurs fans trooping across Bishop’s Park back to the tube station would realise that this was the original hard fought point and we have Gomes to thank for it.

By MF

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