Fulham 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0: Bocanegra makes 10-man Spurs pay

Click to follow

Having spent the day trying to sign the players to help propel them into the Champions' League, Tottenham Hotspur then had an evening in which they failed to deal with the more immediate task of gaining points to achieve their goal.

Given the frantic nature of the intended comings and goings at Spurs, it seems inconceivable that it did not have some effect - psychological or otherwise. But they lost because of the effect of having Michael Dawson sent off in the second half and the unrelenting desire of Fulham.

Dawson's departure left a gaping hole through which Carlos Bocanegra flung himself in the 90th minute, joyously heading in Simon Elliott's free-kick to earn a precious victory for Fulham, their fourth in succession at home to Spurs. "I think the referee was very influential," said Spurs' head coach, Martin Jol, who accused the Fulham striker Heidar Helguson of going unpunished after "seven or eight" cynical challenges.

Fulham's Chris Coleman was having none of that. "Every challenge he goes into giving everything," he said of Helguson.

It is now also four games since Tottenham won. They have also not scored for three games which made the presence of Grzegorz Rasiak, a panic buy in the last transfer window, all the more lamentable.

It was not until the Pole was withdrawn, and Jermain Defoe introduced, that Spurs had a shot on target. That came in the 82th minute with Defoe then barged over by Bocanegra after he threatened to run through. He escaped punishment - Jol said he wanted to see "that one" again - and was there to score after Luis Boa Morte was fouled by Tom Huddlestone, on his Spurs debut.

That contest was one of several feuds which punctuated the match and which left Jol angry. "It was a bit like a South American atmosphere - asking for bookings," he said.

Jol was asked if Spurs had signed any more players. Looking at his watch he said: "There's still time." It was almost 10.30pm - 90 minutes before the deadline. The craziness of Spurs' transfer approach was evident in the performance of Stephen Kelly, who had spent the day talking to West Ham United about a move only to be drafted into the team. That came after the death of Lee Young-Pyo's father, but the distracted young Irishman played poorly.

In a game of few chances, an unmarked Bocanegra headed wide before Brian McBride chested down and forced a fine parry from the goalkeeper with a half-volley. Dawson was harshly booked for an inadvertent elbow into the back of McBride's head and, after another skirmish with Helguson, had his arms around the Icelander as he tumbled over. Off went the defender, arguing bitterly, and although Spurs finished the stronger there was still time for Bocanegra to make his decisive intervention.

Fulham (4-4-2) : Niemi; Rosenior, Knight, Bocanegra, Bridge; Legwinski (Radzinski, 23), Elliott, Malbranque, Boa Morte; Helguson, McBride (John, 73). Substitutes not used: Warner (gk), Goma, N Jensen.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2) : Robinson; Stalteri, Dawson, King, Kelly; Lennon (Gardner, 74), Jenas, Carrick, Reid (Huddlestone, 26); Rasiak (Defoe, 70), Keane. Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Jackson.

Referee: H Webb (S Yorkshire).

Comments