Berbatov helps Pragmatic Fulham defeat Spurs - Tottenham 0-1 Fulham

Richard Heathcote

Martin Jol celebrates after finally ousting the White Hart Lane hoodoo.

Fulham have all-but secured their Premier League safety after a marvellous 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

Dimitar Berbatov scored the only goal against his former club but, in truth, this fine display was more about incredible defensive resilience than any particular creative panache.

Philippe Senderos was faultless at centre-back and Mark Schwarzer was sublime in goal. Spurs, meanwhile, were eerily average, clearly tamed by a fixture list that has seen them play four matches in the same time that Fulham have featured once.

But to speak of the home side's faults would discredit a valiant Fulham who, beyond beating a top four side on their own turf, proved that clean sheets are not a thing of the past.

Martin Jol's select back four of Sascha Riether, Brede Hangeland, Senderos and Jon Arne Riise thwarted Tottenham's palpable attacking presence wonderfully, with Gareth Bale notably quiet.

The Welshman attempted to set the early tone in the opening minute after he fed on a poor touch from Riise but Hangeland was in his way, atoning for his countryman's error.

Riether was the next defender on call, clearing off the line from a Bale header but, from there, the first half became a period of drab monotony.

Both sides were pressing with energy and enthusiasm but this, it could be argued, began to take the edge off of the home team.

And, as the half went on, Fulham grew into the game and settled into a comfortable pattern of containment; Spurs saw most of the ball but could do little with it.

With little to be positive about in his half time team talk, Andre Villas Boas opted to throw Clint Dempsey into the mix and his introduction, against his former club, seemed to allow the game to open up somewhat.

Gareth Bale saw another chance go wasted and in response, Ashkan Dejagah - superb again - linked up with Riether before the German put in a tempting cross. Berbatov met it brilliantly and celebrated with restraint, out of respect to his former club.

The goal helped Fulham's impetus a little, with Steve Sidwell testing Hugo Lloris' handling skills and Hangeland heading narrowly over but the spell of dominance would be short lived.

Jol's men began to sit back and invite Spurs pressure which, on most days, would be tantamount to suicide. Yet, this wasn't Tottenham at their best and Fulham were coping with everything the home side could offer.

Jermain Defoe - who had earlier replaced Gylfi Sigurssson - could have brought his side back to level terms but his volley was too central and was, subsequently, parried away by Schwarzer.

Eyong Enoh was then brought on for his Fulham debut, replacing a terrific Giorgos Karagounis. The Cameroonian looked assured in his fifteen minute cameo role.

With Tottenham pushing forward with an ever-increasing intensity, they left themselves exposed at the back. Dejagah almost capitalised after a Fulham break away ended at the winger's head but it proved to be a tame attempt to flash a cross back across goal, with no-one there alongside him to help.

It could have proved costly but Fulham were unmoved. On 90 minutes, Schwarzer was required to pull of the miraculous, saving again from Defoe after the England striker was left unmarked in a devastating position. As we've come to know, being 40 does not inhibit ability.

Spurs troubled no more beyond that stage and Fulham grabbed their first win at White Hart Lane in a decade. It felt sweet, no matter how pragmatic the performance.

But that, it seems, is just how you win away.

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