Injury-hit Fulham scrapped for a thoroughly deserved point in a intriguing stalemate with Spurs at White Hart Lane this afternoon.
Martin Jol bristled afterwards at his side’s lack of imagination – this was Tottenham’s four failure to find the net in five matches – and the squandering of several presentable chances might suggest that Spurs could use some more firepower. The home side didn’t seriously stretch Antti Niemi until the arrival of Jermain Defoe twenty minutes from time and Jol may reason that the recovery from injury of Aaron Lennon and former Fulham favourite Steed Malbranque will bring more creative to a team that currently appears pretty predictable.
Chris Coleman deserves great credit for a feisty Fulham display. He had to field two defenders in midfield. One almost won the game for him. Moritz Volz nearly surprised Paul Robinson with a late, long-range effort and the German delivered an energetic and accomplished display alongside Carlos Bocanegra with several senior midfielders on the long-term injury list. The visitors fashioned the better chances in the first half with Michael Brown have a shot blocked on his return to an old stomping ground, Collins John firing straight at the goalkeeper from distance and Bocanegra heading wide.
Tottenham gradually grew into the contest with Teemu Tainio stroking a shot wide after being beautifully picked out by Mido and Benoit Assou-Ekotto twice troubling Niemi with snapshots. A frustrated Robbie Keane remonstrated with the officials after being bundled over in the box by Franck Queudrue, but Tottenham’s toothlessness continued in the second half. Mido came closest when his cross clipped the angle of post and bar, Didier Zokora wasted a free-kick and Luis Boa Morte scrambled a header from Pascal Chimbonda off the line, fracturing his cheekbone in the process.
Defoe’s arrival prompted a late flurry of Tottenham chances. Niemi did well to turn the England striker’s drive away for a corner and Ian Pearce got in the way of an Edgar Davids’ effort. But Fulham could have won it at the death when Volz’s pildedriver was blocked by Robinson’s shins. Coleman smiled contently at the end – even in adversity his side are now four games unbeaten.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (4-4-2): Robinson; Chimbonda, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto; Jenas, Zokora, Murphy (Davids 80), Tainio (Defoe 70); Keane, Mido. Subs (not used): Cerny, Lee, Huddlestone.
BOOKED: Chimbonda, Mido.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Niemi; Rosenior, Quedrue, Pearce, Knight; Volz, Brown, Bocanegra, Boa Morte (Radzinski 77); McBride (Helguson 66), John (Runstrom 82). Subs (not used): Lastuvka, C. Jensen.
BOOKED: Boa Morte, Bocanegra.
REFEREE: Mark Clattenburg (County Durham).