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Sunday Fulham Stuff (07.03.10)

Started by White Noise, March 06, 2010, 09:17:13 PM

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White Noise

Popo pops up to beat Cottagers

Tosan Popo snatched a last-gasp winner as Charlton's U18s defeated their Fulham counterparts at Sparrows Lane on Saturday.

The striker popped up in the last minute as the young Addicks recovered from an interval deficit to pocket three points.

The Cottagers, who are set for an FA Youth Cup quarter-final in midweek, took the lead in the opening period - but Charlton hit back after the break.

Midfielder Ben Davisson grabbed his first goal of the season to level matters as his recuperation from a serious ankle injury continued.

And Popo struck at the death, converting his third goal in his last four games to seal the win.

White Noise

Fulham Coach Roy Hodgson: Playing Juventus Will Be Like A Final

Hodgson is getting ready to return to Serie A...

By Salvatore Landolina

Mar 6, 2010 11:47:00 AM

Roy Hodgson is preparing to lead Fulham to new heights in the Europa League, but he is well aware that facing Juventus is anything but easy.

"Playing against the Bianconeri is like a final for us, there aren't many teams left in the competition who can match the pedigree of Juventus," he told Tuttosport.

The Cottagers travel to Turin on Thursday for the first-leg, last 16 clash, and for Hodgson playing away from home first is always a big advantage.

"It certainly isn't a disadvantage [to play away]. It's always better for us to play the decisive [second leg] match at Craven Cottage.

"The stadium will be sold out and, although we have played little in Europe, we have a 14 game unbeaten run at home, and we are proud of this."

White Noise

Fulham 0 Tottenham 0

Published: Today

Add a comment (6)

TOTTENHAM and Fulham will have to lock horns again after this FA Cup quarter-final ended in stalemate.

Spurs controlled the first half of but failed to score the goal their dominance deserved.

Niko Kranjcar and Peter Crouch tested Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer in an opening period that was largely incident-free.

Bobby Zamora produced the best shot for Fulham but Heurelho Gomes saved easily.

It was not until the 28th minute that either goalkeeper was extended, Schwarzer palming away a well-struck shot from Kranjcar.

The big Australian then had to dive sharply to his left to turn a fine goal-bound header by Crouch away from the target.

Damien Duff tried his luck 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 in the nick of time to snuff out the danger.

Most of the action continued to take place in Fulham's half, however, with Brede Hangeland clearing a dangerous cross.

The second period was not even a minute old when Zoltan Gera drew a superb save from Gomes.

Simon Davies started 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 again the visitors did not look like scoring for all their possession.

Damien 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.

Zamora was at it again as the game drew to a close, striding towards a static Tottenham back four.

Gomes hesitated, but despite connecting cleanly with an early shot, the striker blazed his shot wide.

After the game, Spurs striker Crouch said: "It was a good cup tie, end to end and we'll go back to White Hart Lane full of confidence as we beat them their earlier this season.

"They're very good at home, tough to break down and we're pleased to still be in the hat."

And Fulham boss Roy Hodgson felt a draw was a fair result. He added: "I thought it was a correct result, both teams defended excellently on a difficult pitch.

"I was astounded at the quality of play considering the pitch, but it was a fierce cup tie played in the right spirit and I don't think Harry Redknapp or I could complain about the result, despite a few scares at both ends.

"We don't feel we are out of the competition, we're just as capable of giving as good a performance away from home as we have at home."

Fulham: Schwarzer, Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Shorey, Duff, Greening, Etuhu, Davies (Elm 73), Gera, Zamora.

Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Konchesky, Okaka, Riise, Smalling.

Booked: Etuhu.

Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Modric, Palacios, Kranjcar, Bale, Crouch, Pavlyuchenko (Defoe 81).

Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Gudjohnsen, Rose, Livermore, Dervite, Townsend.

Att: 24,533

Ref: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).

White Noise

Fulham   0 - 0   Tottenham

By Phil McNulty

Chief football writer at Craven Cottage 

Fulham and Spurs must do battle again for a place at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final after a deadlock at Craven Cottage.

Roy Hodgson's side, seeking to secure their first Wembley appearance since they lost to West Ham United in the 1975 FA Cup final, created the better opportunities of a tightly-contested encounter short on clear-cut openings.

Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes ensured they survived to earn a replay at White Hart Lane with a faultless display that included outstanding saves from Zoltan Gera and Damien Duff in the second half.

Fulham were rarely troubled at the back, although keeper Mark Schwarzer was tested by Niko Kranjcar's shot and Peter Crouch's header before the break.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp will be the happier manager after securing home advantage with this draw, but Hodgson has fashioned a talented side at Fulham and will also go into the replay with real optimism.

Crouch, fresh from his two-goal success for England against Egypt in midweek, was paired with Roman Pavlyuchenko in attack as Jermain Defoe surprisingly stayed on the bench.

Give your reaction to the draw 
To say the first 45 minutes was unspectacular is to do the game a great kindness, with plenty of pretty passing but little or nothing in the way of excitement or serious goal threat.

Bobby Zamora holds the ball up for Fulham at Craven Cottage
Fulham's Bobby Zamora tested Gomes low down with a shot from inside the area, while Kranjcar forced Schwarzer into a fumble. The Fulham keeper also needed to dive to his left to claw away Crouch's header.

Gera should have given Fulham the lead seconds after the break, but Gomes produced a fine instinctive save from his header after Zamora won an aerial battle in the Spurs penalty box.

Gomes was called into action again five minutes later, but on this occasion he was able to deal more comfortably with Dickson Etuhu's headed effort from a Simon Davies corner.

The caution of the opening period was forgotten as both sides pushed harder for the vital breakthrough, with Michael Dawson flashing a volley wide and Duff just off target with an angled finish.

Duff was the danger man again after 63 minutes as he was the beneficiary of more excellent work by Zamora, but Gomes was equal to his 20-yard shot with a spectacular stop.

Zamora had worked tirelessly in pursuit of an opening and he was inches away from getting on the end of Chris Baird's searching long pass after escaping the attentions of the Spurs defence with 11 minutes to go.

This was the signal for Redknapp to finally introduce Defoe at the expense of the subdued Pavlyuchenko as his tried and trusted partnership with Crouch was renewed.

But Zamora was the man troubling Spurs as Fulham took the direct route over the top again, but this time the angle was too acute and he dragged his shot well wide of the target.

It was the last chance of the game - and now the sides must do it all again on 24 March.


Fulham manager Roy Hodgson:
"I thought it was the correct result.

"Both teams defended exceptionally well and played some good football on a very difficult pitch that makes passing and ball control difficult.

"It was an exciting, fierce cup tie played in the right spirit and I don't think Harry (Redknapp) or myself could complain about the result.

"We don't feel we're out yet, we're just as capable of giving a good performance away from home."

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp:
"A draw was a fair result, I'd say. We had a lot of possession, a lot of the game, but it was a fair result.

"This is a fantastic competition. Ask any fan, and this means a huge amount. We want to get to Wembley again, for sure.

"Will we be able to get some injured players back for the replay? I don't know about that - all our injured boys are out for six weeks or more by the look of things. But, hey, we'll see.

"We're at home now, we'll look forward to it, but we know it'll be another tough game."

White Noise

Fulham 0-0 Tottenham: The Sunday Mirror match report

Published 21:35 06/03/10

By Ralph Ellis

Roy Hodgson's iron-man players must now add another match to their marathon season.

This was the 45th game his Fulham side have fought their way through and all it brought them was another replay to squeeze into a crowded ­schedule.

Not that Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp will be any happier at the thought of a replay to complicate his real goal of finishing fourth and a place in the Champions League.

But both of them want a dash of FA Cup glamour this season too and neither were willing to give way yesterday.

Hodgson began the afternoon collecting the Manager of the Month award for a ­February that had seen ­Fulham go unbeaten through a demanding schedule of eight games. Goalkeepeer Mark Schwarzer, arguably the most important signing the Fulham boss has made, picked up the Player of the Month trophy.

But the prize both of them most wanted was a trip to Wembley for the club's first FA Cup semi-final since 2002.

And nobody needed to ­remind either of them of the curse that hangs over the Manager of the Month prize – especially after Tottenham began by dominating the first 20 minutes.

Apart from one half chance for Zoltan Gera, when he couldn't quite control a clever flicked header by Bobby Zamora, they hardly got into the other half until Zamora suddenly held off Sebastien Bassong's challenge and hit a low shot that brought a decent save from Heurelho Gomes.

Zamora wasn't born when Fulham last went to Wembley, led by Bobby Moore in the 1975 FA Cup Final.

But if anybody has deserved a bit of glory this season it's the centre forward who has overcome ridicule from his own fans by hitting 15 goals from 36 games before last night – four of them in his last six matches.

Spurs, of course, also have a striker bouncing back from being labelled a misfit – Roman Pavlyuchenko, whose five goals in three games meant Harry Redknapp had the luxury of leaving Jermain Defoe on the subs bench.

And the Russian should have got another after just seven minutes when he met Nico Kranjcar's near-post ­corner with an unmarked header which flew just over. But that was a rare moment of danger created by Spurs, for all their early possession.

Schwarzer was finally tested with half an hour gone by Kranjcar's rising 20-yard drive.

A few moments later he was in action again tipping Peter Crouch's header round the post then watching another from Bassong drop just over.

Crouch was full of ­confidence and threat after his starring two-goal role in England's ­midweek Wembley win, and tried an ambitious volley from a Luka Modric centre only to sky the ball high into the stands.

Left-back Gareth Bale had been pushed into midfield and was a constant threat, forcing Damien Duff to ­abandon his own attacking instincts and scurry back to cover.

And that was making room for Modric to pull the ­midfield strings with ­Dickson Etuhu and Jonathan Greening ­working overtime to keep up.

After the break, Fulham carried more threat as Etuhu tested Gomes with a good header, and then Duff broke behind Spurs defence to go close with a low shot.

But Zamora was having to live off scraps as far as chances were concerned and the same was true of Crouch at the other end.

The Spurs striker never had a real opportunity to bring his England goals back to club level – even when Redknapp threw on Jermain Defoe with 10 minutes left in search of a winner.

White Noise

7 March 2010

FULHAM boss Roy Hodgson is [...]


Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is considering making a £3million bid for Shakhtar Donetsk centre-half Yaroslav Rakitsky - to replace Manchester United-bound Chris Smalling.

The ball-playing defender impressed Hodgson during Fulham's Europa League defeat of the Ukrainians But Rakitsky, 20, is only on the fringes of Ukraine's national team and may struggle to obtain a work permit unless he becomes a regular starter.

White Noise

7 March 2010


Ful if you think it's over Harry as Hodgson's battlers take Spurs to a replay

Dave Kidd

Fulham 0

Spurs 0

If Spurs are indeed on their way to Wembley, they are taking the long and winding road to the venue of legends.

Harry Redknapp's men will need a replay for the third round in succession after a grinding stalemate at Craven Cottage.

And if Fulham are to reach the national stadium for the first time in 35 years, they are going to have shrug off a wretched away record, which has seen them fail to beat top-flight English opposition on the road since August.

Peter Crouch, one of the few men who seem to like the dodgy Wembley turf, forced the best save of the match from Mark Schwarzer.

Spurs shaded the contest and might have had a penalty for a Brede Hangeland hand-ball.

But two of the meanest defences in the country cancelled each other out as these two sides fought out their third goalless draws in four meetings.

This was hardly teatime fun for all the family, as an armchair audience watched those two canny managerial masters, Roy Hodgson and Redknapp, fail to conjure up a checkmate.

Fulham may be enjoying an outstanding season on three fronts but they have had plenty of luck on their FA Cup run, defeating Swindon, 10-man Accrington Stanley and a Sven-less Notts County to reach the last eight.

But with Spurs having seized pole position in the race for fourth spot in the Premier League, this kettle of fish could not have been much more different.

The Thames-side air was crackling with nervous energy, Fulham sensing a chance to reach Wembley for the first time in 35 years.


Back then, Fulham's Cup Final song had been Viva El Fulham - as if any link between the club and Europe was some sort of music-hall joke.

This week, though, Hodgson's men travel to Turin to take on Juventus in the Europa League. Heady days indeed.

The early exchanges were full of hot-potato football - neither side capable of getting it under control and rolling out their passing games.

Roman Pavlyuchenko, the man who came in from the cold, sent a header wide from a Niko Kranjcar corner.

Bobby Zamora then cut inside Vedran Corluka and drilled in a shot which Heurelho Gomes got down to smother.

The Brazilian keeper had suffered his lowest moment when he allowed a soft Simon Davies shot to slip through his grasp for a comedy goal in last season's League defeat - but he had kept three clean sheets against Fulham since and has transformed his reputation.

At the other end, Schwarzer - who had been named the Premier League player of the month just a day earlier - was unconvincing as he beat away a Kranjcar long-ranger that he would have expected to hold.

Then the Aussie pulled off a tumbling save to push wide a Crouch header from Corluka's cross.


The England striker held talks about a move to Fulham last summer before Redknapp nipped in to sign him for what seemed like the umpteenth time.

Crouch had netted against Fulham in Tottenham's League victory in January and was proving a real menace again to the men who might have been his team-mates. Spurs were searching for a third Wembley appearance in as many seasons, and their fans were singing out the old Ossie Ardiles 'boys from Tottingham' line as the visitors gained the ascendancy late in the first half.

Fulham gave away a series of dangerous setpieces but the hosts, with Hangeland to the fore, clung on for the interval.

Yet within a minute of the re-start, Gomes needed to be at his acrobatic best to push away a point-blank Zoltan Gera header after Zamora had nodded a Davies centre back across goal.

Soon after, Dickson Etuhu powered in a header, from a Davies corner, which was too close to Gomes. As the second half picked up at tearaway pace, Spurs were convinced they should have had a penalty when Hangeland appeared to handle a Benoit Assou-Ekotto cross as he leapt with Crouch.

The massed ranks of Spurs fans behind Schwarzer on the Putney End were willing the ball into the net as Redknapp's men forced a succession of corners.

From one, skipper Michael Dawson attempted a galloping volley which flew wide, a red-raw Cup tie breaking out after the first-half caginess. Yet when Fulham went route-one, Gera teed up Damien Duff to drive into the side netting.

And when they threaded a few passes together, Duff asked a full-stretch save from Gomes.

Pavlyuchenko's over-head kick, from a long Gareth Bale throw, whistled over as the action got breathless.

Duff and Zamora both fired woefully wide when presented with late chances through the inside-right channel and you had to wager that Fulham's best chance had gone.

A replay at White Hart Lane is a tough ask for them especially with Juve, Manchester United and Manchester City next up in their hectic season.

Shiner Zamora

Confident display from the England hopeful. Held the ball up well and deserved a goal for his efforts.

Fulham: Schwarzer 6 - Baird 6, Hughes 7, Hangeland 7, Shorey 6 - Duff 7, Greening 6, Etuhu 6, Davies 6 (Elm, 73mins) - Gera 6 - *ZAMORA 8.

Tottenham: Gomes 7 - Corluka 6, Dawson 6, Bassong 6, Assou-Ekotto 6 - Modric 6, *PALACIOS 7, Kranjcar 6, Bale 7 - Crouch 6, Pavlyuchenko 6 (Defoe, 82mins).

Referee: M Clattenburg 6

Shocker Crouch

The frontman just couldn't match his heroics from midweek at Wembley. Didn't really impress.

White Noise




Attendance:- 24,533

Referee:- Mr. M. Clattenburg
Assistants:- Mr. P. Kirkup & Mr. M. Murphy
Fourth Official:- Mr. K. Friend

Fulham (4-4-1-1):- Schwarzer; Baird, Hughes (Capt.), Hangeland, Shorey; Duff, Etuhu, Greening, Davies (sub Elm, 73); Gera; Zamora

Subs not used:- Zuberbuhler; Kelly, Konchesky, Smalling; Riise; Okaka Chuka

Booked:- Etuhu

Spurs (4-4-2):- Gomes; Corluka, Dawson (Capt.), Bassong, Ekotto; Kranjcar, Palacios, Modric, Bale; Crouch, Pavlyuchenko (sub Defoe, 81)

Subs not used:- Alnwick; Dervite; Rose, Livermore, Townsend; Gudjohnsen

No Bookings

Into the semi-final draw at least

In a game of few chances, and relatively little action for either goalkeeper, both teams can take credit from this game, where the draw was a fair result. Spurs will take Fulham back to the Lane in two and a half weeks time (Fulham have away and home games against Juventus in the meantime), and for the moment, both teams are in the semi-final draw, and can keep a grasp on their dreams of Wembley for the semi-final and the final of this year's FA Cup.

As has been reported, Harry Redknapp's choices were extremely limited, due to the number of injuries and a couple of cup-tied January signings, which meant that both Jake Livermore and Andros Townsend, who were recalled from their loan spells this week, found themselves on the bench in this vital game. Neither were used though, as Harry Redknapp was able to include the doubtful Jermain Defoe on the bench, who was the only Spurs substitute used.

Redknapp advanced Gareth Bale into the midfield, where he played on the left side, whilst Luka Modric played in a central role beside Wilson Palacios. Ekotto played at left back. There were many good performances for Spurs, and two or three excellent efforts. Modric did generally keep the discipline of playing in the left of centre midfield position, where he helped at the back, and fed the attack, in particular sending Bale away on plenty of probes down the left flank, which was really Spurs' main attacking outlet.

Wilson Palacios had an excellent game patrolling the back of midfield, and avoided a yellow card too, despite his tenacity and ball-winning skills. For Fulham, Bobby Zamora was dominant and had a really impressive game, playing with his back to goal, and winning the greater percentage of balls aimed in his direction, shielding and protecting that ball so well. Whilst Zamora would start with possession, Bassong and Ekotto often combined to clear the decks so well for Tottenham.

Peter Crouch was winning the ball more often than not, but his distribution was too often thwarted by the alert Fulham defence. Despite being the home side, Fulham played like an away team with Gera in a withdrawn role, and the home side getting plenty of men behind the ball, putting as many as three defenders on Bale. It was a game where both defences played well, and a lot of fans might have been frustrated in a game that was of perhaps more technical interest than one filled with excitement.

Fulham put Spurs under some pressure in the first minute, and it was Bale's timely interception on the left flank in his own half that eased that situation, when he sprayed the ball across the field. Having dealt with that initial attack, Spurs then dominated possession, without threatening Mark Schwarzer in goal. Kranjcar had the first clear chance on goal with a free kick after 18 minutes, which he hooked a little and sent wide of Schwarzer's right post. The ball then ran in Zamora's favour as he carried it across the edge of the Spurs area, squeezing in a low shot, which Gomes held. Soon after that Bassong defended well against the former Spurs man, and enabled Spurs to clear their lines down the left flank, where Bale would often be the main threat, getting to the bye-line on more than one occasion.

Schwarzer then had to make two great saves, firstly from an excellent shot by Kranjcar and then from a Crouch header across his goalmouth, as Spurs piled on a bit of pressure. Crouch had another effort go wide after 35 minutes, following good work by Bale and Ekotto, who crossed the ball.

Fulham had their best chance just after the break. They had a free kick and Simon Davies crossed deep from the left. Zamora at the back post headed back towards Gera, whose close range header was pawed away by Gomes. Gomes was positioned well on subsequent occasions when chances came in his direction from inside the box. Bale was again dominant at the other end, as the visitors piled on the pressure and had one handball appeal turned down by Mark Clattenburg, who had a good game – allowing the football to flow. Michael Dawson had a shot on goal after a corner in the 58th minute, which curled just outside the top corner.

Ekotto made one error that I can recall, in failing to clear, which led to Damien Duff hitting a shot across Gomes' bows, which passed wide. Zamora fed Duff for another chance which he hit well wide. After a Bale cross and pressure by Peter Crouch, Roman Pavlyuchenko tried an overhead kick which was too high. Spurs best chance of the half came after Modric started the attack and Bale crossed, by which time Modric was in the middle with Crouch, but neither of them could make their mind up whether to go for the ball as it fell loose.

Simon Davies was replaced by striker David Elm, as Fulham sought to finish the tie off, and Defoe replaced Pavlyuchenko. Jermain nearly forged one or two openings for himself, but it was just not quite happening for us, despite the fact that Schwarzer was beaten a couple of times by crosses from left and right by Bale and Kranjcar.

Both teams live to fight another day, and with Fulham having the heavier programme of the two sides before the replay, Spurs must surely be favourites to get to the semi-final. The delay before the replay will also give us a chance to get some key players fit again!

White Noise

FA Cup - Fulham take Spurs to replay

Eurosport - Sat, 06 Mar 19:20:00 2010

Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur must play an FA Cup quarter-final replay after a tepid goalless draw at Craven Cottage.

Two sides with similar styles cancelled each other out, with both sets of well-drilled defences ensuring chances were few and far between.

A poor first-half started promisingly but ended with both sides resorting to atypical long balls in an attempt to break the deadlock.

There was plenty of potential, with Gareth Bale marauding down the Spurs left wing and Damien Duff working hard on Fulham's right, but visiting strike duo Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko failed to gel while Bobby Zamora looked a touch lonely with Zoltan Gera operating deeper than he would have liked.

Zamora had the first shot on target on 19 minutes, but his low drive was easily saved by Heurelho Gomes, while Schwarzer had to be alert on two occasions either side of the half hour, batting out a rising drive from Niko Kranjcar and tipping behind a well-placed but weak header by Crouch.

Sebastien Bassong had to be alert to dispossess Zamora after Simon Davies and Gera combined to put the England hopeful in, while Chris Baird and Brede Hangeland did well to deny Bale after he raced through the middle.

Whatever Roy Hodgson said at the break had an immediate impact, as a furious opening few minutes from Fulham saw Gomes make the save of the game, tipping away Gera's goal-bound header after strong link-up play from Zamora.

Spurs eased back in control of possession though, with Michael Dawson sending a long-range drive just over after Fulham failed to clear a corner and Pavlyuchenko overhead-kicking clear of the bar.

They had two weak penalty appeals rejected, an accusation of handball by Brede Hangeland waved away and Pavlyuchenko going over very easily after a nothing challenge from the Norway defender.

Fulham were dangerous on the break though, Duff firing wide twice and Zamora put through by Baird but unable to control the high ball.

As the threat of a replay at White Hart Lane beckoned, the hosts pushed for a winner.

Zamora fired wide from an angle when he could have taken it on further, and his side went agonisingly close when Vedran Corluka's mis-hit clearance sliced just wide.

But with neither side really doing enough to deserve victory, a draw was a fair result and the two sides will match up for a fourth time since Christmas.

Reda Maher / Eurosport

White Noise

Heurelho Gomes keeps Tottenham in the FA Cup

Fulham 0 Tottenham 0

Duncan Castles at Craven Cottage

IN 2008, Craven Cottage was Heurelho Gomes' personal Hades, but yesterday he exorcised the demons. Unsatisfactory in many ways, this scoreless FA Cup quarter-final at least underlined the harshness with which the Brazilian goalkeeper was judged for a hard afternoon in his debut season.

Gomes was written off as the Premier League's poorest ever goalkeeper after a 2-1 loss at Fulham in which he played with a hip injury that prevented him from training, but now he has re-established himself as the No 1 who was so dominant for PSV Eindhoven his coach labelled him "The Octopus".

Had his tentacles not thwarted a succession of Fulham chances, Harry Redknapp would no longer be pursuing a third trip to Wembley in three years. "Gomes is looking a different goalkeeper to the one who came here when I first arrived," said Tottenham's manager. "He had a terrible time here last year but he's a different lad now. Now he looks what he is: a top keeper."

Under Roy Hodgson, Fulham have established themselves as a team capable of regularly upsetting the best. "I'm disappointed in the sense that it was a home game," said Hodgson. "But the way we've played recently and the fact we know as a coaching staff we can trust the players to give the type of performance they gave today we are confident. We can reproduce today's performance and get the win."

Their opponents' injury list added to Fulham's pre-match expectation. Tottenham were minus an entire midfield of England internationals and a viable central defensive pairing in Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate.

Yet it was Danny Murphy's absence from the home midfield that had greatest initial effect as Tottenham camped in opposition territory. Peter Crouch almost eluded Mark Schwarzer with a header and the goalkeeper did well to block from Niko Kranjcar.

Resilience, though, is a central tenet of the Hodgson method. Comfortable playing on the back foot, Fulham filtered back to block Tottenham's path to goal. Possession was turned back to keeper or defender to target Bobby Zamora with long balls, and eventually the striker broke free of Sebastian Bassong's wrestling hold for a shot Gomes did well to hold.

The Brazilian rescued Tottenham again at the start of the second half, saving from Zoltan Gera and Dickson Etuhu. Tottenham responded with a brace of questionable penalty claims and a flurry of pressure — Michael Dawson's volley wide and Roman Pavyluchenko's overhead kick the highlights.

More worrying was the hesitancy with which Benoit Assou-Ekotto allowed Gera to manufacture another Fulham attempt on goal. Gomes' was in action again, fully airborne to haul in Damien Duff's drive.

Limited in options from the bench, Redknapp waited until the final 10 minutes to risk Jermain Defoe, but it was Zamora who came closer to a winner, but he shot wide.

If Fulham are to end a 35-year wait for Wembley they will have to elude the Octopus.

Star man: Heurelho Gomes (Tottenham)

Yellow card: Fulham: Etuhu

Referee: M Clattenburg Attendance: 24,533

Fulham: Schwarzer 7, Baird 6, Hughes 7, Hangeland 7, Shorey 6, Duff 6, Greening 5, Etuhu 6, Davies 7 (Elm 73min), Gera 7, Zamora 7

Tottenham: Gomes 8, Corluka 5, Dawson 7, Bassong 7, Assou-Ekotto 5, Modric 6, Palacios 7, Kranjcar 6, Bale 6, Crouch 7, Pavlyuchenko 5 (Defoe 81min)

White Noise

Gomes forces Fulham to play at bogey ground

Fulham 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0: Goalkeeper's saves take Cottagers back to the Lane – where they have won just once in 25 attempts

By Steve Tongue at Craven Cottage

Sunday, 7 March 2010

In front of the second packed house of the FA Cup quarter-finals, this was a strange tie, played at a furious pace but, probably because of that, of poor quality. A single goal always looked like being sufficient to win it but was rarely promised, each goalkeeper making perhaps one save of any note.

Spurs, aiming for a 17th semi-final, were the neater but enjoyed only one spell of sustained pressure, soon after half-time. Fulham, after five successive home wins and an unbeaten February, proved unable to match their recent exploits and must be a little fearful of a replay at Tottenham, where they have won once in 25 visits. That will go on the back burner in any case until 24 March, with two glamorous Europa League encounters against Juventus and a visit to Old Trafford to sort out before then.

They will be desperate for the return of their captain, Danny Murphy, although he is frustratingly suspended for Thursday's game in Turin. Murphy's craft might just have provided the sort of service that Bobby Zamora lacked, or unlocked a door that remained resolutely barred. The manager, Roy Hodgson, chose to praise Murphy's deputy Jonathan Greening, a sentiment not shared by those in the stands who otherwise contributed to a crackling atmosphere worthy of a better game.

What supporters seemed to agree with both managers about was the justice of the result and the state of the surface on which it was played. "You've got to be very good to play on that pitch," Tottenham's Harry Redknapp said. "We kept possession well, though there weren't many chances. I'd have taken a replay before the game but it will be hard."

Hodgson said: "We don't feel we're out of the competition. We're just as capable of giving a good away performance as at home. It's a wonderful time for the club." That was reflected in presentations before the match – normally a kiss of death – to Hodgson and Mark Schwarzer as Manager and Player of the Month respectively. In the event, the goalkeeper had little opportunity to further enhance his considerable reputation, although Heurelho Gomes (left) at the other end was happy to redeem his in front of a home crowd who had revelled in his embarrassment when conceding a soft winning goal in last season's League fixture. Almost 20 minutes had elapsed before he was required to make a save, a comfortable enough one as Zamora turned inside and shot.

On the soft pitch Tottenham were still able to knock the ball around, which they did for much of the time without creating anything more than half-chances. Niko Kranjcar was stationed out on the right, where he was less effective than in most recent games, and his compatriot Luka Modric was as neat as ever without taking hold of the game. Kranjcar, set up by Peter Crouch just outside the penalty area, troubled Schwarzer once with a swerving shot that he did not hold, and the goalkeeper played safe with a good downward header from Crouch that bounced in front of him, pushing it away for a corner.

Fulham made, if anything at all, quarter-chances. Shortly before the interval Zoltan Gera and Damien Duff almost put Zamora through in quick succession, only for Benoît Assou-Ekotto and Michael Dawson to produce timely interventions.

The second half began with the game's first outbreak of authentic excitement. Nicky Shorey started the move with an excellent ball down the line for Simon Davies to hoist to the far post. Zamora outjumped his marker to nod across goal, where Gera's header was held by Gomes. Hesitant defensive work by Assou-Ekotto then allowed Gera to set up Duff for a shot wide, before the Irishman brought a leaping save from Gomes.

When it was time for changes, Hodgson was first to act, sending on the tall Swedish striker David Elm for Davies to provide some closer support for Zamora, whose new confidence had been evident throughout. Gera, who had been playing just behind him, dropped a little further back, sending one long ball forward that Zamora just failed to latch on to.

With 10 minutes to play Jermain Defoe, another victim of last Wednesday's heavy Wembley pitch, replaced Pavlyuchenko. Overall, however, the two defences remained in control until the finish. Just as the first half had ended in anti-climax so the game's last attempt on goal, by Zamora on his right foot, went for a throw-in. Had ITV scheduled a highlights programme last night, there would have been few to show from here.

Attendance: 24,533

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Man of the match: Hangeland

Match rating: 4/10

White Noise

Fulham 0 Tottenham 0:  Heurelho Gomes saves the day for Spurs in last-eight stalemate at Craven Cottage

By Sportsmail Reporter and Rob Draper, Mail on Sunday Chief Football Writer

Last updated at 11:39 PM on 06th March 2010

Fulham and Tottenham must try again at White Hart Lane on March 24 for the right to play at Wembley in an FA Cup semi-final after grinding out a goalless draw in a match of admirable commitment but which lacked the requisite guile to produce a goal.

Roy Hodgson's side will surely feel this an opportunity missed, after creating the better chances and controlling long periods of the game, while Tottenham will be grateful to have endured it.

That said, despite a last-minute wobble by Vedran Corluka, who almost sliced into his own net when attempting a nervy clearance, Tottenham survived without major discomfort.

But should they lift the famous old trophy come May, they will owe a debt of gratitude to Heurelho Gomes for his athletic 47th-minute save from Zoltan Gera's header.

Still, these are heady days for Fulham. Their forthcoming fixtures include Juventus, Manchester United and Manchester City before the chance to take on Spurs again. They have never seen the like at Craven Cottage and Hodgson was relishing the extra fixture being inserted into his schedule.

'You could say we're victims of our success but I think we ought to be basking in the glory of the number of games we're playing,' said Fulham's manager.

'I keep reminding the players that this is what being a Premier League footballer is all about. Most players would be envious of a fixture list like that, so we should be grateful.'

For Harry Redknapp, Wembley beckons again, for potentially the third time in three seasons, and how richly ironic that the opportunity of meeting his former club Portsmouth, now facing financial oblivion, remains.

'I suppose at home in the replay we ought to have a good chance but Shakhtar Donetsk probably thought that when they played Fulham in the Europa League, and they ended up out of that Cup,' said Redknapp.

'That was one of the results of the season, to beat the UEFA Cup holders, and it shows what an organised and good side Fulham are.'

Yesterday, both sides displayed admirable organisation but not enough real craft to justify calling it an entertaining Cup clash.

Still, a genuine sense of anticipation was evident. A group of Spurs fans had commandeered a barge and were seen sailing down the Thames towards Putney Bridge, bawling their chants, which made a change from the usual coach trip round the North Circular.

Fulham, meanwhile, were seeking their first trip to Wembley since 1975 and the days of Bobby Moore, and the usually gentrified surroundings of Craven Cottage were disturbed by the visceral roar of animated supporters.

But it was 18 minutes before a goalkeeper was tested, Gomes diving to save from Bobby Zamora.

Niko Kranjcar's strike from long range on 28 minutes swerved wickedly and almost fooled Mark Schwarzer but a more apt summary of the first-half endeavours came when Peter Crouch found himself six yards out but volleyed into the upper reaches of the Hammersmith End. On the bench, Redknapp winced and turned away. 

There was a more sprightly start to the second half, Simon Davies dashing down the left to deliver a cross for Zamora, who headed across the face of goal towards Gera. Michael Dawson had lost his man and the Hungarian headed goalwards, but Gomes intervened in spectacular fashion to tip it over.

FULHAM (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Baird, Hangeland, Hughes, Shorey; Davies (Elm 73min), Etuhu, Greening, Duff; Gera, Zamora. Subs (not used): Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Konchesky, Okaka, Riise, Smalling.
Booked: Etuhu.
TOTTENHAM (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto; Kranjcar, Palacios, Modric, Bale; Pavlyuchenko (Defoe 81), Crouch. Subs (not used): Alnwick, Gudjohnsen, Rose, Livermore, Dervite, Townsend.

Referee: M Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).

At Craven Cottage last season, Gomes's career in England seemed to reach its nadir with a diabolical performance, but he is now acknowledged as one of the finest shot-stoppers in the League

'He's a different goalkeeper to the one I had when I came,' said Redknapp. 'He had a horrible time. But now he looks what he is: a top goalkeeper.'

Tottenham managed a brief period of dominance, Wilson Palacios driving them on in the second half and forcing a succession of corners, but they could ultimately only produce a wayward Dawson strike.

Damien Duff put one chance in the side-netting and had another saved by Gomes went close while Zamora worked tirelessly. In the final 10 minutes, he raced clear only to pull his shot wildly.

Tottenham and Fulham will need to offer something more to win the replay.

Read more:

White Noise

Fulham 0-0 Spurs

Filed under: Match info — weltmeisterclaude @ 11:22 am

A good old-fashioned potboiler.  While the neutrals may have found little to get their teeth into, for the rest of us was a thoroughly absorbing match between two very even sides playing good, disciplined football.     Who would find a tactical solution to the other's cast-iron defence?  Who could conjure something out of nothing to take the game?   Who would make the first mistake?

Momentum swung back and forth gently, with Spurs perhaps in the ascendancy early on, and Fulham more positive after half-time.   As has often been the case this season, Fulham's well drilled defensive unit kept their opponent at arm's length, and apart from a couple of neat but comfortable saves from Schwarzer, there were few heart-in-mouth moments.

In the second half we saw more of the Fulham we enjoy, with Zamora, Duff, Gera and Baird spinning some enterprising passing moves together.   Sadly the Spurs defence is every bit as solid as our own, and for all his hulking approach work, Zamora couldn't find a spare yard to tee up a teammate in a position of danger.   It felt as if Gera or Duff might slip through at some point, but this was a game for Dempsey, crashing into the area to get on the end of something, or Murphy, to deliver something of quality, but both were missing and all our attacking moves ended tamely.

It was, however, a good day for defensive midfielders.  Wilson Palacios showed that he's up there with Mascherano and Hargreaves, lightning quick to spy issues, uncompromising in sorting them out.  His tackling, distribution and overall nous were first class, and he was, by some distance, my man of the match.

Dickson Etuhu's return to form continued though, and our man put in another strong performance in the middle of the park.  He is not a natural shield like Palacios, but his athleticism and desire got him several balls that others might have lost out on.  An underrated player who could move to another level if he took more responsibility for directing attacks.

The latter was probably the only disappointing thing about our performance for me.  On occasion we played it too safe, happier to recycle possession through the back four than try to force the issue in the final third.  This is perhaps a sensible approach to take for most possessions, but we did this too much.  Only Chris Baird seemed prepared to try something unusual, his angled through balls becoming something of a trademark.  You'd call them long balls if they weren't so carefully weighted, and if we were going to score this was how.   Sadly Zamora and the passes never quite coincided; it was tempting to think that Stefano Okaka, who appears to be quite quick, might have been worth a go later on for this very reason.

As the temperature dropped below freezing the prospect of us getting a result all but disappeared, and we will (at some point) have to win this one at White Hart Lane if we want to go to Wembley.   This seems unlikely – Spurs are our equal at the Cottage, but better than us at their place – but as we have seen, this team is more than capable of grinding out unexpected results.  We shall see.

White Noise

The missing men

by Dan on March 7, 2010

Last season, Fulham were fortunate with injuries. Roy was able to let the same side settle into a system that gradually became successful. With the amount of key players we've lost this year, it's a wonder the Whites are still competitive on three fronts at this stage of the season.

Looking at a couple of the Tottenham blogs last night I was surprised to read descriptions Hodgson's negative tactics and complaints about ten men behind the ball. That struck me as strange given that Fulham had more of the ball and tested Gomes more often than Tottenham troubled Schwarzer. The 4-4-1-1 has worked wonders since it was largely forced on the wily old coach because of an absence of strikers and Zamora especially has revelled in being the leader of the line. He was at it again yesterday, giving a masterclass in the art of playing with your back to goal, and when Zoltan Gera's come alive in that advanced role you'd be foolish to tinker with it.

What Hodgson demands of his players above all else is discipline. Dickson Etuhu summed it up last month:

The Manager has made sure we all know what we have do to. I have never played in a team like this before – where everything is just so simple. It certainly works for us and is one of the main reasons we do well.

That work ethic and organisation is one of the main reasons only three teams have beaten us at home this season. Hodgson knew that, even without a lot of options in midfield, he had to clamp down on Tottenham's creativity. Modric looked threatening but never really found the space to wreak havoc and Kranjcar drifted in and out of the game. Perhaps Spurs' biggest threat was the brilliant Gareth Bale, who was buzzing up and down the left flank like a Duracell bunny, but the persistence of Chris Baird and Damien Duff's tracking back meant he couldn't have had the kind of impact on this game as he's had on other games against Fulham.

Furthermore, Hodgson would have badly rued the absence of his own two injured midfielders. Danny Murphy's failed fitness test was a particular blow. Not only would he have been keen to prove a point against Tottenham, but Murphy has the ability to both spot and execute the killer pass. In his absence, we were a little lost in central midfield. Etuhu's a decent enough stopper but his distribution was woeful yesterday. Twice he surged forward with the ball into space having won it back: in the first half, he chose the wrong pass, and – after the break – he gave the ball to Jonathan Greening and stopped running bringing a promising move to a standstill. Greening kept things steady in the engine room but wasn't inclined to try a few forward passes.

What Clint Dempsey might have done drifting infield dangerously is anyone's guess. As the game progressed, Duff became more influential and came close to breaking the deadlock on two ocassions. Dempsey offers you that X-factor that a workmanlike Fulham side sometimes lacks: the ability to beat a few players or deliver a telling cross. Whisper it quietly, but he just might be back for the replay.

White Noise

Hodgson the man for all seasons

Phil McNulty | 22:34 UK time, Saturday, 6 March 2010

As Roy Hodgson switched seamlessly from English into perfect Italian, he provided a graphic illustration of the scale and success of his reconstruction on the banks of the Thames.

Hodgson had finished discussing Fulham's fight on equal terms with Tottenham to reach the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley - and was moving on to the Europa League date with "The Old Lady" of Juventus in Turin on Thursday.

This cosmopolitan and experienced manager has brought heady days to Craven Cottage, and his presence alone guarantees "La Vecchia Signora" will treat Fulham with unswerving respect on the next stage of their European adventure.

Hodgson is still admired in Italy after his time at Inter Milan, and while the tight and tense FA Cup quarter-final with Spurs was not an example of his finest work, it still demonstrated the sound principles and pure common sense he has brought to Fulham.

When Hodgson succeeded Lawrie Sanchez at Craven Cottage in December 2007, Premier League survival was a long shot. The suggestion that Fulham might, at some future date, have to break off from FA Cup quarter-final combat with Spurs to meet Juventus in the latter stages of European competition would have been regarded as residing somewhere between fanciful and farcical.

And yet this is what Hodgson has done, drawing praise from Spurs counterpart Harry Redknapp, another member of management's older brigade, when I asked him about his achievements at Fulham.

He said: "Roy has done a great job. They went away to Shakhtar Donetsk, the holders of the Europa League, and got one of the results of the season to get through.

"They are well-organised, strong defensively and a very well-coached side. Roy has to take great credit for that and when you look at results like they got against Shakhtar you see why we won't be taking them lightly in the replay, even though we are happy with a draw."

Hodgson has been the architect of Fulham's upturn in fortunes

Hodgson's sure touch was in evidence, even during a cup encounter that lacked spark and was short on opportunities. Fulham, as Redknapp said, were meticulously prepared in defence and varied in attack. The creation of players such as Zoltan Gera and Damien Duff was mixed with a willingness to go route one and serve the transformed Bobby Zamora.

When I put it to Hodgson that to follow up an FA Cup quarter-final with Spurs by playing Juventus in Europe was an obvious indicator of his club's development, he was only too happy to agree, but with the humility that is the hallmark of his club.

He said: "I would quite happily accept a 0-0 draw against Spurs in the last eight of the FA Cup to take to Juventus in the Europa League. It is very pleasing and I often remind the players that this is what you are in the Premier League for. I tell them these are the games you want to play, and there are lots of people in the lower divisions who are very envious of you.

"We play Juventus then we play at Manchester United, then we have Juventus and Manchester City at home before we have the replay at Spurs - although we just have to accept we might not win them all."

Hodgson is happy to take the taxing programme as a sign of success, saying: "I'm not sure you can say we are victims of success by having to play all these games. Success is what you strive for and this is an indication that this team has been successful.

"We should bask in the glory because it's not every year Fulham get close to playing 60 games and lots of times we barely scrape to 40."

One of the finest examples of Hodgson's powers of renewal is the rejuvenation of striker Bobby Zamora. The days when he was a victim of terrace taunts at Craven Cottage seem an age away - and his performance was testimony to the manner in which his confidence, and indeed his whole whole game, has been reassembled by Hodgson.

Zamora would have been barely recognisable to the Spurs fans who watched him toil at White Hart Lane as he probed tirelessly, chasing all causes and emerging as the pivotal figure in Fulham's plans.

If there is a sole symbol of what Hodgson has been able to achieve at Fulham, it is Zamora. He may not have found the finishing touch to see off his former club on Saturday, but the doubters have been silenced by his development into a striker of real Premier League quality.

Zamora's form has led to talk of him potentially filling a strikers's role for England

Hodgson accepted a draw was a fair result, and one which was also welcomed by Redknapp as Spurs now assume the mantle of favourites to progress to Wembley with home advantage in the replay.

Both managers complained that the Craven Cottage pitch undermined any attempts to play constructive football. Jermain Defoe's hamstring problems, which Redknapp revealed were a result of Wembley's own poor surface when he played for England on Wednesday, forced him to pair Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko in attack. It was not a comfortable fit.

And if Hodgson deserves praise for his work with Zamora, then the same credit is due to Redknapp and his staff after a faultless display from Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes.

Craven Cottage was the scene of Redknapp's first defeat as Spurs boss in November 2008 - and Gomes was the villain when he dropped Simon Davies' cross into his own net and blundered for Andrew Johnson's second.

Redknapp described the Brazilian's errors that day as "farcical" - adding, somewhat unconvincingly, that he simply had to keep faith with Gomes. When Redknapp followed this up by insisting "confidence is king" it appeared little more than an attempt to keep Gomes' spirits up before flogging him at the first opportunity.

He did stick with Gomes, and saves of the calibre he produced from Gera's header, plus a performance of all-round assurance, justified the belief Redknapp had in the keeper.

Gomes denied Fulham a victory that would have taken them back to Wembley for the first time since 1975 - but there is no denying Craven Cottage has undergone a remarkable transformation the expert guidance of Hodgson.

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White Noise

Fulham v Spurs. Back to the Lane

March 7, 2010 Alan

So it's back to the Lane next week, as I predicted in my preview. This in itself in unusual, getting something right in the preview that is, but there was always something about this fixture that screamed 'draw'. Fulham are busy and well-organised but low scorers, Spurs more creative but since the four goals in the Cup we can't quite do enough at the Cottage to score one more than them. And that's the match summary, right there. We played well but lacked the cutting edge to make sufficient decent chances,  Fulham had less of the ball but kept Gomes moving around without having the sharpness in the box, where it counts.

Following Harry's remarks earlier this week that we can't play 4-5-1, Spurs duly lined up with Crouch and Pav up front in the absence of Defoe. The pattern of the game was drawn by Fulham withdrawing their midfield into an area 30 or 40 yards in front of their goal when we had possession. Willingly we came on to them and moved the ball around well for the most part, searching for an opening, although at times we could have done so more swiftly. Modric was prominent in the early stages and had a good game. He's made for that central berth. Always trying to make himself available and able to pass both long and short, able to pass quickly or hold it as the situation demands, he's never on the ball for any longer than is necessary. It was noticeable how seldom he was caught in possession, and for that matter the same can be said for his team-mates, a sure sign that the support for the man on the ball was good throughout the team.

Crouch also had a fine first half, although he faded later. Two reasons; one, he stayed close to his team-mates rather than isolating himself further upfield as he has done too often this season. Two: decent service. We played it up to him early, accurately and firmly. No aimless hoofs, Crouchie kept moving and responded in kind with quicker lay-offs. This blog has always said that he could play like this and has become increasingly irritated by his performances over the last few months, but there's evidence here to show that the long ball may have been imposed upon the team tactically by the manager, worrying in itself but that seems to be history now so we'll let that one go for the moment. TOMM doesn't forget, there's a threat to set Harry twitching, just watch him next time he's in the dugout, you'll see what I mean....

One of the sub-plots of the match was the comparison between the two big centre-forwards. Earlier this season I was somewhat disparaging about Zamora in my preview of the corresponding league fixture but yesterday as time went on he came into the match as Crouch disappeared from view. He's come to terms with his limitations and under Hodgson's wise guidance has become an effective target man, determined with his back to goal and looking to come on to the ball in the box. His team work well around him and he provides that extra second or two that enables the Fulham midfield to get to him and turn defence into attack. He provided Bassong with a stern test but for the most part Seb did well. As with the Bolton centre forward in the replay, Bassong was determined not to let his man turn. It was a fine tussle, which also provided a nice piece of commentary (not sure I've ever written that sentence before in regard to ITV...). Beglin rightly enthused about Zamora's surge and shot in the second half, talking about how he put it across the keeper. Clive came in, quietly and dryly: 'It's gone for a throw-in.'

And that sums up much of Fulham's efforts in the box, they didn't quite come off, but in the first half they seldom approached our area, let alone the goal. I'm a big fan of Roy Hodgson and he had prepared well. His midfield were prepared to concede possession but not space in front of their box. We had the ball but no room. So it became a series of almosts and might have beens as our attempts nearly came off but not quite. Also, Roy put two men on Bale, something that he had better get used to. It's easier to mark him when he's in midfield because he starts his runs from further up the pitch. At fullback he comes from deeper and so is more difficult to pick up. Also, he can move later in an attack when defenders are already more committed. Despite this he coped reasonably well and occupied two men. If Duff is back, his attacking prowess is blunted, whihc in turn releases pressure on us. Modric picked up on this and switched play regularly to the right. However, Corluka had a poor game. He became the spare man and was the main target but his distribution was inaccurate with a series of wasteful crosses and passes. This to me was a crucial element of the match, we failed to take advantage of the spare man and amount of ball on the right that we had worked hard to achieve.

Fulham steadfastly reused to budge. We prompted and probed but did not really get very far. Pav worked hard but did not get past the white-shirted barrier. His control let him down too often, especially in the area. Again, like the Corluka comments, this was a match that might have been won and lost on the tiniest margins, so this mattered.

The second half began much as the first had ended. Fulham livened up a bit but did not really look like the home team until they went 4-4-2 towards the end. They slid the ball inside and behind our full-backs and if Murphy had been playing, his shrewd passing might have been significant. We were defending well and I wondered if this could give us the room to hit them on the break but it was not to be. Our solidity was due to in large part to Palacios' determined sentry duty in front of our back four. He refused to budge, something that I've advocated throughout the season and again in the preview, and his disciplined performance was justifiably rewarded with a MOM award. He repeatedly broke up the Fulham movements and knocked it out to a better placed colleague. This strength enabled Modric and Krancjar to play their more creative game (I was pleased with Niko's work-rate too) and really gives the team shape.

Other bits and pieces: BAE was quietly efficient, his brainstorm clearance in the second half aside. He just gets on with it, and I like it. We failed to capitalise on the corners because of bad delivery, and the same can be said for the long throws – Bale can do it so can't we have a system to profit from it, as Stoke do, rather than have a loose informal gathering in the box as is the case now.

We have a great chance for a cup semi-final in the replay. We could have won it yesterday with more punch up front but on the whole a decent performance, credit Fulham with being an effective team in their chosen role.

Finally, a moan. The warm and respectful gesture to wear black armbands in memory of Keith Alexander was tainted by our use of black shiny gaffer tape. It smacks of hasty preparation. We should have put more into that – how long would it have taken to run something proper up, as our opponents managed.

White Noise,17033,8742_6008081,00.html


"1) Wilson's best game for ages. 2) Fulham's pitch is a bit rank tbf. 3) They really only have one tactic, a chip into Zamora's feet, he holds it up and lays it off to a midfield player. Thought we coped with it really well. 4) Everyone worked really hard , which has to be done against teams like Fulham, but some of the final passes / decision making was a bit poor. 5)Think we can do them in the replay" - Colin Grigson.

"It was freezing! I was only four or five seats from the river end of the stand and I can honestly say I've never been colder watching a football match. Didn't help I was only wearing a Spurs shirt and a pretty thin jacket, I guess.

"Me no likely Kranjcar and Charlie down the right. When Niko goes walkabout, Charlie is left really exposed and his lack of pace in that situation worries me - fortunately they didn't exploit that today.

"I was surprised to read the BBC match report say Fulham were the better team - maybe they had one or two good chances, but I felt we controlled the game for large spells.

"I wonder whether we'll hear any comments about Fulham being a long ball team" - Wandsworth Spur

"In the words of Ian Holloway: 'She wasn't the best looking girl in the bar, but at least we got her back in the taxi'. Only way to describe yesterday's game" - Toxxic.

"Apart from being toothless upfront we played very well yesterday. Wilson being good again makes a huge difference because CM is the achilles heel. Everywhere else on the pitch we had quality and effort. Keep doing that and we will be fine for the replay. Obviously Lennon is a huge miss but Bale is doing his bit to inject a bit of pace. I still think BAE is the better LB against better teams but Bale couldn't be doing much more to keep himself onboard" - SPP65.