|Tottenham keeper Brad Friedel was man of the match after gallantly defending his team’s goal [GALLO/GETTY]|
Following minor heart surgery this week Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has been told not to even think about football for at least four weeks by his doctors.
The last thing his medical team would have prescribed was a tense London derby which saw his team survive a second half Fulham onslaught.
The silver-lining for Redknapp is that his team’s 3-1 win at Fulham on Sunday proved Tottenham can carry on their winning ways without him on the touchline.
Assistants Kevin Bond, Joe Jordan and Clive Allen helped guide Tottenham to their seventh win in eight Premier League matches, however, it did not come easily.
A two goal first half cushion was not enough to guarantee Redknapp a restful evening as Martin Jol’s men fought their way back into the match.
After nicking a goal back off the back of Tottenham defender Younes Kaboul, Fulham fought desperately for an equaliser through the second half until Jermain Defoe delivered the knock-out blow in extra time.
The Cottagers unleashed wave after wave of attack on the Tottenham goal but man of the match goalkeeper Brad Friedel batted away the ball during a number of goal mouth scrambles.
Tottenham took the lead when Gareth Bale’s perfectly angled ball across goal took a deflection off Chris Baird.
Bale’s stylish flick then sent off Aaron Lennon on a mazy run with the winger racing into the area before shooting past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
However, Spurs’ dominance came to an end with the first half.
Fulham returned after the break with all guns blazing and were rewarded in the 57th when Ledley King headed against teammate Kaboul’s back for the ball to roll across the line for an own-goal.
King made up for his error in the 74th with a sliding interception to block Clint Dempsey’s goal-bound shot.
Fulham then pushed Friedel into a string of saves, hit the post, forced Luka Modric to clear off the line and could have had an injury-time penalty when Walker handled the ball on the ground.
Despite their overwhelming domination, the Cottagers were unable to convert a series of chances and Tottenham substitute Defoe scored with virtually the last kick of the game.
Redknapp will sleep easy with Tottenham tied on 22 points with fourth-place Chelsea, while Fulham hover just above the relegation zone.
Bolton avenged last season’s traumatic FA Cup semi-final defeat with a 5-0 demolition of Stoke at the Reebok Stadium on Sunday.
Owen Coyle’s side remain in the bottom three despite this victory but they are now only a single point from safety after two goals each from Chris Eagles and Ivan Klasnic and one from Kevin Davies secured their first home points of the season.
After losing eight of their last nine league games, and with memories of last season’s 5-0 loss against Stoke at Wembley still painfully fresh, this was a cathartic moment for Bolton and Coyle, who will hope their biggest ever Premier League home win acts as a springboard to clamber out of trouble.
|Kevin Davies opens the scoring for Bolton who overpowered a weary Stoke City [GALLO/GETTY]|
Stoke boss Tony Pulis was unhappy his side, who lost to Newcastle on Monday, were forced to play three games in six days this week and they were clearly lacking energy after a long trip back from Israel, where they defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Europa League on Thursday.
Also on Sunday, Wolverhampton Wanderers eased their relegation fears and increased those of Wigan with a 3-1 win against the Premier League’s last-place side.
Jamie O’Hara’s opener for Wolves was cancelled out by Ben Watson before the interval only for Dave Edwards and Stephen Ward to score second-half goals and clinch a victory that lifted their side away from the relegation zone.
“We’ve been struggling of late and to get three points off our competitors at the bottom is important,” Wolves manager Mick McCarthy said.
“It’s a great result. I think the players go about their jobs in a right and proper manner and they did that again today.”
Wolves’ first win in nine games moved them up from 17th place but condemned the Latics to an eighth successive loss.