Two virtually back-to-back incidents of incompetency closely followed by panic induced mistakes meant that this cup-tie had slipped out of our grasp with barely quarter of an hour gone. The only way back for the Diddymen of Spurs would have been if Fulham had decided to empathise and show similar levels of shiteyness at the back but instead it was us who continued to carry high the Torch of Ineptness and we shipped two further goals before half time.
The stature of the Tottenham front line, especially when contrasted with Mount Hangeland meant that fiddling at the back was the order of the day rather than hit balls up to Defoe and Lennon on the halfway line. Twice this tactic caught Dawson out as he gave the ball away to Dempsey and then minutes later to Dembele. In the first instance Hutton seemed to have got back to cover as the American took an age to get himself ready to shoot but then he mistimed a wrong footed tackle. The second time, our skipper decided to complete the job himself by holding on to Dembeleâ€™s shirt as made his way towards Gomes. A harsh but understandable red card from Fatty Dowd followed and thoughts drifted towards what to do with the impending free afternoon on the 19th.
Ironically the Fulham fanzine on sale before the game had articles on how â€˜bigâ€™ clubs get decisions they donâ€™t and also on how they never get awarded penalties. Hmm.
We took an age to sort ourselves out after the sending off as Fulham threatened time & again. The back four played with a squareness Sponge Bobâ€™s underwear manufacturer wouldâ€™ve been proud of as balls over the top led to foot races back towards our goal. Luckily Johnson was regularly shepherded away from the danger area, his legendary Greg Louganis impressions could well have led to Murphy nicking a hat-trick of pens.
Gomes threatened to join in the comedy by continually bowling balls out to the feet of Modric et al and putting them under pressure as well looking like heâ€™d forgotten how to use his hands when speculative shots were driven straight at him. Bassong it was though who donned the makeup & oversized shoes for goals three and four, his clownish defending leading to a chorus of boos at half time as the players trooped towards the dollâ€™s house in the corner.
During the interval strains of â€˜North London Is Oursâ€™ wafted up from between the joins in the Meccano stand and it signalled a defiance that both the players and the fans showed in the second forty five. On the field the team showed skill and endeavour as they had more than their fair share of possession. Van der Vaart, Modric and Pienaar worked hard to prise an opening for Crouch that didnâ€™t come until the last few minutes when he found space to get on the end of a perfect cross from Hutton. Did he nod it firmly and squarely back past the keeper? Did he buggery? An attempt at a chest down and swivel led to the ball being taken off his toes and comfortably cleared.
Crouchâ€™s failure to even attempt a header on goal in that instance was the final straw for many behind the goal. We werenâ€™t even going to get a consolation. The attempts to cheer ourselves up by singing through the second half and mocking the silence of the home fans seemed pointless when given such a clear reminder of our impotency on the field. Thankfully soon after, Dowd brought an end to a cheerless afternoon.
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