Fulham 3 Tottenham Hotspur 3: Kamara's picture-perfect strike piles pressure on troubled Jol

Senegalese international's late show puts Spurs' defensive frailties in spotlight
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The Independent Football

For almost the entire duration of an unequal contest, it was solely in Tottenham's gift to sacrifice victory, so emphatic was their superiority. And, such is the fragile nature of the north Londoners, they duly obliged. It was only in the final, frantic few moments when an overhead kick from Fulham's Diomansy Kamara eluded the goalkeeper Paul Robinson that this represented the six-goal thriller the scoreline may suggest. It left Martin Jol to stand, hands on hips, a striking image of despair.

The Spurs manager was not only acutely aware that his side should have placed considerable distance between themselves and their hosts by then, but that his side's failure to finish a task, so ably began, will merely place the question of his job security in high profile once more. Asked if he felt under pressure again, Jol shrugged and declared: "I felt really happy for long spells. I'm amazed that we only left with a point. You could say it was unfortunate, but at 3-2 you have to defend better."

Just what can we make of Spurs? Again, for all their craft, incisive passing, vision and beautifully executed finishing here, it was defensive frailty which cost them victory. The defining moment arrived, with Spurs holding a 3-1 advantage, when the striker Robbie Keane was substituted by Jermain Defoe in the 68th minute.

He had contributed to two goals – and a captain's performance. Keane's chagrin was clear to observe, although Jol insisted: "When Robbie came off, he shook my hand. He said nothing, but he knows that Jermain is an important part of the squad."

Perversely, and against all the evidence, the Dutchman added: "He [Keane] didn't have the best of games – although he was involved in two goals." Whatever Jol's reasoning for the exchange, it appeared to unsettle and unbalance the visitors, and a new-look Fulham, who have signed 15 players since Sanchez's arrival, seized their opportunity.

It was not an auspicious start by either goalkeeper. Antti Niemi had returned to the Fulham goal, replacing Tony Warner who had been guilty of a number of aberrations. It is clearly infectious here. Niemi flapped at a corner from the impressive Gareth Bale, under pressure from the Spurs defender Ricardo Rocha, and the ball fell for his fellow centre-back Younes Kaboul to convert the opener.

Spurs' most important act in the transfer window has probably been to retain Dimitar Berbatov. When he scores, Spurs invariably proceed to victory. It was looking that way again when Keane flicked the ball on to his fellow striker, who despatched a venomous volley past Niemi. Apart from the occasional sortie from Fulham, Spurs overran their hosts in the first period. When Clint Dempsey headed home Simon Davies' corner three minutes before the interval, it gave Fulham a foothold they scarcely deserved.

The Spurs assault continued. Niemi denied Berbatov and Jenas before, from Bale's splendid run and cross, Keane laid the ball off, and the former Fulham man Steed Malbranque struck the post. However, a flowing movement, involving Tom Huddlestone and Keane, culminated in a third goal when the Irishman slipped the ball through a square back-line, offering Bale the opportunity to finish.

Chris Baird acrobatically thwarted Berbatov when Niemi was stranded outside his area, before Keane departed. Then the comeback, which coincided with the arrival of substitute David Healy. Alexei Smertin's speculative attempt deflected off Rocha and looped over Robinson. Victory should still have been Spurs' but Dempsey headed on a throw-in and Kamara connected with deadly accuracy.

When it was suggested the result couldn't conceal the fact that his men were outplayed, Sanchez retorted, wryly: "Quite a good side, Tottenham, aren't they?" He added: "Fulham fans don't expect to beat the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United but they do expect 90 minutes' entertainment, hard graft and a Fulham side giving everything." On that score alone, not even Jol could deny that is what the home faithful received.

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