Cottage clean sheets result in replay

Gomes made a string of fine saves as the Cottagers went on the

rampage after the interval to book a replay at White Hart Lane on

Wednesday March 24. The Brazilian prevented Bobby Zamora, Damien

Duff, Brede Hangeland and Zoltan Gera scoring in a London derby

that lacked any bite until a pulsating second period. For Gomes, it

was a return to the ground where in November 2008 he made the worst

in a string of blunders that almost saw him sold by manager Harry

Redknapp. Redknapp opted against offloading the £7.8million

signing from PSV Eindhoven. The Spurs manager’s faith has already

been repaid but once more Gomes underlined his value. At the other

end, Mark Schwarzer kept out Niko Kranjcar and Peter Crouch at the

end of the first half, but was hardly involved again. For all their

possession and a passing game that was easy on the eye, Spurs

rarely troubled Fulham’s goal and wilted as an attacking force.

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson will be disappointed his side, who

continue to punch above their weight in two cup competitions, did

not finish off their capital rivals. Hodgson and Schwarzer were

presented with their manager and player of the month awards for

February shortly before kick-off. Spurs pressed hard in midfield to

give their opponents little time on the ball but despite some slick

passing, they failed to trouble Fulham’s goal. Anticipation gripped

home fans as Zamora broke free down the left before expertly

cutting back inside where he fired a shot straight into the arms of

Gomes. It was not until the 28th minute that either keeper was

extended, Schwarzer palming away a well-struck shot from Niko

Kranjcar. The big Australian then had to dive sharply to his left

to turn a fine goalbound header by Peter Crouch away from the

target. Damien Duff pulled the trigger from long range at the other

end as Fulham’s chances continued to be severely limited. Zamora

bulldozed his way through at the end of one well-worked move but

Michael Dawson intervened to snuff out the danger. The second half

was not even a minute old when Gera drew a superb save from Gomes.

Simon Davies initiated the move with a marauding run down the right

followed by a pinpoint cross to the far post where Zamora directed

the ball to Gera whose header was well stopped by Gomes. The

Brazilian then had to react sharply to keep out Hangeland’s header

from a Davies corner. Dawson smashed the ball into the stands to

end a spell of Spurs’ dominance but once again the visitors did not

look like scoring for all their dominance. The match was coming

alive after a dull first half, partly thanks to the noisy Spurs

fans. Duff found the side netting after being set up by Davies and

was then denied by another fine save from Gomes following excellent

work by Zamora. The impressive Kranjcar fizzed a lethal cross

through the penalty area as Spurs launched a swashbuckling

counter-attack. Space was opening up for both sides in an

increasingly frantic final 10 minutes that saw Zamora fail to

connect with a fine chance. Vedran Corluka almost turned an

attempted clearance into his own net – he did not know where the

ball was going and Spurs breathed a sigh of relief when the final

whistle went.