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Brad stars in Cottage win

Posted on 6 November 2011  - 12:00

Brad Friedel and his defence took the plaudits as we held on for a 3-1 win at Fulham on Sunday.

Brad Friedel and his defence took the plaudits as we held on for a 3-1 win at Fulham on Sunday.

The scoreline certainly doesn't tell the whole story from Craven Cottage as we made it seven wins and a draw from our last eight matches in the Premier League.

We led 2-0 at half-time after taking our chances in an even first half but were then put under serious, sustained pressure by the home side in the second half.

Friedel was forced into action on several occasions, Ledley King blocked a goalbound effort from Clint Dempsey with the goalkeeper out of the equation, we survived an amazing scramble including Friedel's best save and then Luka Modric cleared Dempsey's header off the line.

After all that, Jermain Defoe pounced at the other end to volley home the sucker-punch third with just about the last kick of the game.

We stuck with the same team that beat QPR last weekend with Steven Pienaar back on the bench in the Premier League after his return against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday. He was joined by Vedran Corluka, back after injury.

Friedel was forced into a fine save inside two minutes, showing superb reactions to claw Steve Sidwell's header away off the goal-line from Damien Duff's corner.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto fizzed the ball across the face of goal in our first serious attack and we went ahead with 10 minutes on the clock.

Emmanuel Adebayor spread the play wide to Walker who burned past John Arne Riise before cutting back to Lennon. His cross was parried into the path of Gareth Bale, whose low drive back was turned into his own net by Chris Baird, just a yard from goal.

Fulham had the better of it after that. Friedel touched Riise's cross away from Dempsey and Sidwell sent the same player through on goal, but the forward didn't get hold of his shot and made it easier than it should have been for his compatriot from the USA.

Scott Parker was in the wars, flattened by a blow to the face in an accidental clash with Sidwell, but he was soon back on after lengthy treatment.

The key moment arrived just as the board went up for three minutes of added time.

Lennon, on the left touchline, turned the ball inside to Bale, who manaaged an audacious return to the winger, who was now 40 yards from goal.

A few seconds later and his was in the box, turned Baird inside-out and fired low across Mark Schwarzer into the far corner. A fine strike.

A nasty-looking injury to right-back Zdenek Grygera stretched the half to 52 minutes and both teams were probably pleased to hear the whistle go.

We started the second half well as Bale and Adebayor had efforts at goal but it's fair to say we were on the back foot for the rest of the match as Fulham piled forward.

Duff's shot deflected off Assou-Ekotto onto the roof of the net in the 53rd minute and from the corner, Friedel had to be alert to tip over Brede Hangeland's powerful header.

The Cottagers got back into it in the 57th minute, somewhat fortuitously. Duff swung in another corner, Ledley King met it but his header struck Younes Kaboul and flew in from close range.

Friedel comfortably fielded two shots from Mousa Dembele but there was nothing comfortable about his next action as Baird lashed in a thunderbolt from 25 yards that the keeper parried away to his left.

When Friedel was beaten, King came to the rescue with a sliding block to thwart Dempsey in the 75th minute.

Bobby Zamora shot tamely at goal from 10 yards and as the clock ticked into four minutes of added time, it looked as if we'd weathered the storm.

But it was far from over!

An incredible scramble saw Friedel somehow keep out Dempsey from close range, Kyle Walker then blocked Bryan Ruiz and Dempsey again and when the ball rolled out to Stephen Kelly, Parker threw himself in to make another block.

From the corner, Friedel kept out Hangeland's header and then Dempsey headed at goal, but Modric was in position to deflect wide.

Play finally switched ends as we clinched the points. Adebayor, on the right byline, picked out substitute Defoe whose volley from 16 yards flew past Schwarzer.

Fulham: Schwarzer; Grygera (Kelly, 46), Baird, Hangeland, Riise; Murphy (Etuhu, 77) , Sidwell, Duff (Ruiz, 71); Dembele, Dempsey, Zamora. Unused subs: Etheridge, Kasami, Etuhu, Frei, Briggs.

Spurs (4-4-1-1): Friedel; Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Sandro, 78), Modric, Parker, Bale; Van der Vaart (Defoe, 66); Adebayor. Unused subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Corluka, Livermore, Pienaar.

Goals: Spurs - Bale (10), Lennon (45+1), Defoe (90+4); Fulham - Kaboul, own goal (57).

Attendance: 25,698.

Referee: Mr P Walton.