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.