Fulham 1 Tottenham 3: Spurs hold on at Craven Cottage
Tottenham defended gallantly to deny Fulham an equaliser before Jermain Defoe sealed the win late on
Tottenham fought off a spirited second-half fightback from Fulham to pick up all three points on Sunday at Craven Cottage.
Goal from Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and a late strike from Jermain Defoe helped Spurs extend their unbeaten run to eight league games ““ in the absence of boss Harry Redknapp.
After going in at the break two goals behind, the hosts came out with added vigour and Younes Kaboul’s inadvertent own-goal gave them hope.
Fulham pushed to find an elusive equaliser but Spurs managed to hold onto a result that keeps them in fifth place in the table on 22 points, three clear of Liverpool with a game in hand.
The first chance fell to the home side with just a minute on the clock when Steve Sidwell’s header forced experienced Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel to make a sharp stop at his near post.
Tottenham took the lead after 10 minutes when Lennon’s cross was tapped back across goal by Bale, whose effort diverted off Baird and into the back of the net.
The visitors doubled their advantage in first half stoppage-time.
After swapping wings, Lennon combined with Bale on the left-hand side before bamboozling Baird and powering a left-footed effort into the bottom corner.
The half did not get any better for the home side as they suffered an injury blow before the break.
Full-back Zdenek Grygera immediately fell to the ground after catching his studs in the turf and twisting his knee, forcing the Czech Republic international off.
Fulham were given a lifeline on 56 minutes as Ledley King inadvertently headed Danny Murphy’s corner against Kaboul and the ball ricocheted into the visitors’ net.
The Cottagers continued to put pressure on the opposition goal and they came close to completing the turn-around on 74 minutes.
After Bryan Ruiz’s pass sent him clear on goal, American international Dempsey rounded fellow countryman Friedel ““ only for King to clear his shot.
Spurs had an appeal for a penalty turned down on 88 minutes by referee Peter Walton, after Sidwell appeared to barge Scott Parker illegally.
With time running out, Fulham bombarded the Tottenham goal.
After having appeals for a penalty turned down, Parker threw himself in the way of Dempsey’s shot and deflected it over the bar.
From the resulting corner, Friedel spilt Brede Hangeland’s header and Dempsey’s follow-up was blocked on the line by Luka Modric.
After that scare, the visitors grabbed a third as Adebayor’s cross set-up substitute Defoe and his goal-bound effort deflected off Stephen Kelly and flew past a helpless Mark Schwarzer.
Fulham: Mark Schwarzer, Zdenek Grygera (Stephen Kelly 45), Chris Baird, Brede Hangeland, John-Arne Riise, Damien Duff (Bryan Ruiz 70), Danny Murphy (Dickson Etuhu 76), Steve Sidwell, Clint Dempsey, Moussa Dembele, Bobby Zamora.
Tottenham Hotspur: Brad Friedel, Kyle Walker, Younes Kaboul, Ledley King, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Aaron Lennon (Sandro 77), Scott Parker, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Rafael Van der Vaart (Jermain Defoe 66), Emmanuel Adebayor.