ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - Fulham
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Posted by Phil Mison on 01/30/2011

It has been a long time coming. The Whites biggest ever win over Spurs sees Fulham breeze into the 5th round of the FA Cup on a day to remember at the Cottage

In just over a month we have gone from probably our darkest hour after defeat to bottom club West Ham, to playing like world beaters in a comprehensive thrashing of high-flying Spurs. Following Fulham always has put its fans through the mill, but here was a performance on a par with the Europa Cup exploits. Our first-ever FA Cup success over Tottenham was wrapped up by half-time, with the Whites four goals to the good. And with a late onslaught as Fulham suddenly slipped up a gear, it could easily have ended in a cricket score.

Brede...3-0 © Getty Images

Although referee Phil Dowd proved a key figure in our blitzkreig start, three up after 23 minutes and Spurs down to 10 men, the groundwork was laid in the dressing room once the gaffer saw the team sheets. With 'Arry electing to go with Jermaine Defoe up front, and lacking an enforcer in midfield, Fulham were sent out to press high up the pitch and bully the Spurs midfield, a role for which Steve Sidwell, making his first start at Craven Cottage, is admirably suited.

The Spurs defence it's fair to say were all over the place, rushed and harried into mistake after mistake in a torrid first 45 for the pre-kick off favourites. Duff, Dembele, Dempsey and Johnson all made inroads into the back four as Fulham seized the initiative.

A howler from Dawson put Dempsey clear down the inside-left channel. I'm not sure the American had the composure or the angle to beat Gomes, but no matter. He drew the foul from the full-back and Dowd rightly pointed to the spot - although Gomes went the right way, Danny's loft and pace was enough to beat the keeper's dive. That was his first Fulham goal in 36 games.

Having broken his duck for the season, in no time our skipper was stroking home a second penalty to the opposite corner. This time Dawson tried to get clever as Gomes played a goalkick suicidally short, Dembele was on him like a swarm of bees, stole the ball away, and was then hauled back as he drove in on goal. Dawson resorted to a shirt tug, Spurs captain saw red, and of a sudden Fulham were two up.

The contest was over when wee Andy Johnson was allowed to glance on a header from Duff's corner and Brede at the back post couldn't miss. The Norwegian looked too embarrassed to celebrate, rampant Fulham were making it look that easy.

The icing on the cake came on the stroke of half-time when Man of the Match Moussa carried the ball from the centre circle with excellent control before dipping to the left and rifling a shot home from the edge of the box.

It was mostly keep ball from Fulham for the 2nd half, Stockdale a spectator throughout, but with fresh legs introduced in a late surge Gera and Duff squandered great openings, Hughes headed against the bar, and Hangeland saw his follow-up cleared off the line.

Big wins for the Whites don't come along too often, so let's enjoy the feeling for a few days before knuckling down to gaining three points off Newcastle on Wednesday. Mark's reaction from the bench and post-match was not that much different from all those reverses pre Christmas. Having seen it all before in his own illustrious career he knows perfectly well one sublime win does not a season make. But with a very winnable home tie to come in round 5, as he's always maintained, the second half of the season for Fulham is going to be a lot brighter than the first.

The signs of that were there for all to see today. One final observation. I was surprised to see Salcido starting in place of Baird. I was wondering if we might ever see the Mexican in the white shirt again. He was solid if unspectacular in keeping Lennon quiet and it was obvious Carlos had been instructed to curb his attacking instincts and kept it simple. He stuck to his brief admirably. This was in fact another game, like Stoke, where every man jack in the side played well.

Let me know how you saw it, particularly Sidwell's game. I thought he was excellent in harrassing Modric and co. Bring on the Magpies!

And to my Spurs posters, not only did we outsing you, we outplayed you! My Spurs supporting neighbour in the seat next to me actually left at half-time. Sums the day up.

COYW! Twitter @fulhamphil


Posted by matt on 01/30/2011

Long time reader, first time poster. Loved the game!! Sidwell did well to apply pressure from the middle that I feel has previously been missing. He was well suited to bring control to the midfield. Johnson played a great fast paced game, but I would have like to seen Gera play more this game, I still think he has a lot to offer if given the opportunity.

Posted by Gary Walsh on 01/30/2011

Congratulations to Fulham, but what a disappointment Phil Dowd decided to kill the game so soon. I was looking forward to a good tie between two very good footballing teams, unfortunately with 2 pens and a red card in the first 15 mins the game was effectively over.

We're getting quite used to this kind of reffing (if not poisoning) at Spurs, but I'd like to see some of the other top teams having to cope with this level of 'accidental' interference for a change.

Posted by Colin on 01/30/2011

What? Those were two pretty clear cut penalties.
I have to give it to Sparky. I was all over him in December. It wasn't necessarily the losses that were killing me, but the very bad vibes the team was giving off. Anyways, looks like I was jumping the gun. He has them playing great football again and I'm very much looking forward to the second half.


Posted by spurs on 01/30/2011

So fulham got to pretend they can play football against disheartended and outnumbered spurs. Credit to where credit is due. Two well hit penalties and a good scuff off a corner, all 3 gorgeous goals. I applaud dembeles individual effort, a great goal albeit a literal 1 on 1 with bassong for 50 yards. Who needs good team football, when you have got the sublime phil dowd. And I would expect the home crowd to sing louder at home due to that whole you know greater attendance detail or have you grown used to the away supporters singing louder at craven cottage.

Posted by JCRochester on 01/31/2011

Nevermind Spurs, we're off to the 5th round then. Liked the pressure we were giving instead of receiving. Stockdale's kit was still pristine at the half. Loved it.

Posted by Thomas on 01/31/2011

I will be heavily dissappointed with Hughes if Salcido doesnt play much for the rest of the year. In my opinion he deserves playing time over Baird

Posted by Drago on 01/31/2011

Phil, curious to know your take on what this match means for Etuhu? Has Sidwell replaced him full-time? Also, though it's still a month or so away, what do you see happening with Dempsey when Bobby Z returns? Does he replace Duff on the wing (which I'd like to see) or head to the bench?

With a bench of Gera, Duff, Davies, Baird and Etuhu, FFC would have enough depth to be a legitimate top 7 side.

Blog Central: These are big name players, some very popular with fans, who will find themselves on the sidelines. Let's see what happens through today in terms of player moves, though I suspect none you never know. By summer some of the above may well be moving on. Remember Hughes has to date not had any real time to build his own team - in six months Moussa and Carlos remain his only picks. Ferguson's reason for not dealing in the January window was that 'there's no value in the market.' As the minutes tick by today prepare for some ludicrous price tags from certain quarters...but not FFC

Posted by Jason R on 01/31/2011

Spurs fan here. We had a stinker. Dawson was awful for the short time he was on the field. Gomes was in lala land. And I thought I saw a journalist being nice by saying "Dawson uncharacteristically made a mistake". Rubbish! We need a new (Read: fit) defence to have any chance of silverware!

Posted by BadgerDawg on 01/31/2011

Gary and spurs, tell your team not to commit the fouls and Dowd wouldn't call them. After the Huddlestone disaster earlier in the season, you have no standing to complain about the refs with Fulham. You were given that game by the refs. Dowd didn't give this one to FFC, your team did.

Posted by Justin on 01/31/2011

I only get to watch the odd Fulham game in 4, so seeing them put Spurs to the sword was a such a treat!

Posted by Jessica on 01/31/2011

Wow. I thought Americans were the only ones who used the referees as an excuse. There have never been two clearer-cut, more legitimate penalties. Well said, BadgerDawg.

Dembele's excellent goal sums up the day for me: he made a great one-on-one move, but at the same time he had options: Clint down the left and AJ down the right. Players were consistently passing ahead and good things happened because others were making the runs and being available. Hopefully this type of openess and forward thinking will continue in the second half.

Sidwell was great. When the commentators don't have anything to say about the players you are covering, that's a good thing. He's not spectacular, but very solid and steady. And he has a bit of an edge, an attitude about him that I like.

COYW! Keep it up!

Blog Central: Jessica, we sing from the same songsheet. Without wishing to come across like Andy Gray, you certainly read the game - ever thought about coaching?

Posted by Justin on 01/31/2011

I can understand blaming officials in some instances, but those two calls were easy to make. Dawson should've just let Demps dribble himself out of an angle which he seemed content to do, and on Demble he just flat got beat. Don't blame the officials, blame the fact that Spurs defense was porous from the opening kick and Tottenham didn't seem to have a desire to be there in the first place.

On a side note: Thanks to Phil and the other regulars here who tolerate and welcome us Americans on the boards. There are plenty of places where us Yanks don't feel near as welcome.

Blog Central: Aw shucks, I got over 1776 a long time ago...but War of 1812, don't get me started!

Posted by Patrick on 01/31/2011

Credit to Fulham, they played good football. As soon as I saw the team sheet, I knew it was going to be a long day. I am losing faith in 'Arry. I can only imagine what Spurs' bench feels at the moment. I had to be dragged out of the pub at the close because I was too disgusted to make something of my evening after watching that crap. No arguments with the penalties here, though Deuce went down rather easily and it seems Spurs need to be wearing tear-away shirts when they play United because they will never get a penalty call (vidic). I thought the straight red was harsh, however, no matter your interpretation of the rule book.
Fulham were well organized and properly coached. 'Arry's "run around and play" tactics were undone for all the world to see. Sidwell looked solid, Moussa and Deuce(unlucky not to score a couple) were a nightmare and I haven't a clue how Schwarzer will see the pitch the way Stockdale is playing. Congrats to the Whites and all you Cottagers.

Posted by Chris on 01/31/2011

Phil -- re your response to Justin:

I'm reminded of a briefing by a British officer a number of years ago. He made some remark about the war of 1776 which I forget, and followed up with "But we got even for that in 1814 when we burned down the White House."

I guess our relations have gotten a bit better over the years since then... :-)

Posted by Patrick on 01/31/2011

Eidur now too?!! A great loan move, imho. He did well for Spurs in his short time from Monaco last season. I hope he has a similar impact for Fulham. Good luck to you the rest of the league and I shall be cheering on the other whites for the remainder of the FA Cup.

Blog Central: An improvement on Litmanen three years ago. Still only 32 and a far better option than EJ was from the bench should the injury curse strike again. Preston don't hold your breath...Smart business, the Chairman has by and large re-pocketed his £8 million transfer kitty, yet FFC have added three quality players for the rest of the season.

Posted by Patrick on 02/01/2011

Agreed, couldn't have said it better myself. Great professional as well, and all the lads should take to him.

Posted by Kev Bignose on 02/01/2011

As I sit here in Uganda, I must admit to having had a terrible hangover on Monday, after celebrating Fulham's victory long and hard on Sunday night. I do remember Fulham beating Spurs at Craven Cottage, but regret to say that it was so long ago that Alan Gilzean was playing. I was at White Hart Lane on March 19 1960, and with Fulham leading 1-0, Tony Macedo mysteriously rolled the ball to Jimmy Greaves, who said "Thank You" and shot it back past our goalie to score. I had the good fortune to meet Bobby Robson in India in the early nineties who said that he had been told that the Fulham team had seen the Harlem Globetrotters a few days before, and that Tony had been practicing a basketball move that went wrong!

Posted by Kev Bignose on 02/01/2011

Blog commander has correctly pointed out that I have got my year wrong above regarding the Macedo incident at Spurs.. It was April 13 1963. Fulham were leading 1-0 at the time. After Macedo rolled the ball to Greaves, most of the Fulham team collapsed on the ground in disbelief. I remember Jim Langley going round, waving his fist in their faces, telling them to get up and fight. Final score 1-1.

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