Controversy at Cottage as Spurs triumph

Referee Dean allowed Tom Huddlestone’s 63rd-minute winner to stand
at Craven Cottage after his assistant had initially flagged William
Gallas offside. Fulham had deservedly taken the lead on the
half-hour mark when Diomansy Kamara marked his first Premier League
start for almost a year with his first goal for the Cottagers in
even longer, but Roman Pavlyuchenko levelled almost immediately
after brilliant play from Rafael van der Vaart. However, the match
will be remembered for Dean’s contentious call and he and his
fellow officials left the field to catcalls and chants of: “You
don’t know what you’re doing!” Spurs, who had come from behind in
two of their previous three league games, fielded a strong line-up
ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Inter Milan. The
early moments of danger came through Gareth Bale down the left, the
winger producing two crosses for lone frontman Pavlyuchenko, the
Russian collecting the second and dragging wide from a tight angle.
But it was Fulham who should have taken the lead in the 14th minute
when the unmarked Kamara glanced Simon Davies’ corner wide.
Tottenham’s Sandro had been impressing in central midfield on what
was his full Premier League debut but the Brazilian was rightly
booked for a second poor tackle in a matter of seconds in the 23rd
minute. And Fulham should have made him pay when Aaron Hughes
nodded over from Danny Murphy’s right-wing cross. It was suddenly
one-way traffic and Carlos Salcido fired a glorious 25-yard shot
just the wrong side of the post. The home fans screamed for a
penalty when the ball appeared to strike the arm of Alan Hutton,
and soon afterwards Fulham took the lead half an hour in. Clint
Dempsey was the architect, escaping the attention of surprise
starter Ledley King before crossing for the unmarked Kamara to fire
home. But Tottenham levelled from the kick-off, Van der Vaart
showing magnificent control in the box and chipping against the
crossbar, with Pavlyuchenko converting the rebound. The half looked
set to end level but, less than three minutes before the break,
Heurelho Gomes produced a stunning save to tip Kamara’s 18-yard
half-volley wide. A minute later, Spurs lost limping captain King,
with Sebastien Bassong coming on. The interval also saw the
withdrawal of Sandro, with Aaron Lennon introduced down the right
and Luka Modric moved inside. After the resumption Lennon made
almost an immediate impact, his super cross finding Van der Vaart,
whose close-range volley was kept out by the foot of Mark
Schwarzer. Fulham captain Murphy – at the centre of a media storm
in the build-up to today’s game – was replaced seven minutes into
the half by Stephen Kelly. Spurs continued to struggle aerially and
Chris Baird forced another acrobatic Gomes save with a header from
Davies’ corner. Then came the defining moment of the match,
Huddlestone rifling a 25-yard shot through a crowd of players and
into the corner of the net. The fit-again Gallas was in an offside
position when the ball was hit and the assistant referee raised his
flag. But after consulting with Dean, the officials appeared to
decide Gallas had made no contact and the goal was given. However,
it could be argued the Spurs defender was interfering with play by
actively trying to deflect the ball and the Fulham fans were
understandably livid. Van der Vaart then scuffed a volley wide
before Pavlyuchenko was replaced by Peter Crouch for the final 20
minutes. Lennon, who had made a real impact, blazed over from 18
yards and Kamara was close to improvising a flicked finish past
Gomes before Mousa Dembele was withdrawn for Zoltan Gera. Salcido
failed to pounce on a collision between Gomes and Hutton when he
sliced horribly wide from a difficult angle 11 minutes from time.
But the full-back made some amends moments later with a brilliant
challenge to deflect Van der Vaart’s close-range finish over.
Schwarzer got fingertips to Hutton’s low finish and Crouch was
penalised when trying to loop a header over the Fulham goalkeeper.
Kamara blazed over from 15 yards as the end-to-end action
continued, with Fulham immediately replacing Jonathan Greening with
Eddie Johnson. The home side poured forward in the closing moments
– and Dempsey was booked for dissent – but they were unable to find
the goal that would have preserved their unbeaten record.