Tottenham beat Fulham 3-1 yesterday to extend its unbeaten run in English soccer’s Premier League to eight matches.
Tottenham, whose manager Harry Redknapp was absent following heart surgery, withstood pressure from the home team in the second half at Craven Cottage before Jermain Defoe got the winning goal in injury time. Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon had given Spurs a two-goal halftime lead, with a Younes Kaboul own goal for Fulham in the second half.
“I thought we deserved at least a point,” Fulham manager Martin Jol told the British Broadcasting Corp. “Tottenham had three attempts on goal in the first half and scored two goals. We must have had 26 or 30 attempts after half-time.”
Elsewhere, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bolton recorded their third league wins of the season. Wolves beat last-place Wigan 3-1 and Bolton defeated Stoke City 5-0.
Tottenham is fifth in the standings on 22 points, behind Chelsea on goal difference. Newcastle has 25 points, Manchester United 26 with Manchester City leading on 31 points. Spurs has played one less game than all the teams above it.
The north London team was led by coaches Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan as Redknapp missed a second match since surgery on Nov. 2 to unblock two coronary arteries. Redknapp told Sky Sports yesterday that he’s been told he “shouldn’t even think about football for four to five weeks” but hopes to return sooner.
His team led after 10 minutes. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer pushed clear a cross from Lennon that fell to Bale, who hit a deflected shot into the net.
In injury time at the end of the half, Lennon doubled the visitor’s advantage as he ran into the area and unleashed a low effort past the goalkeeper. Before the interval, Fulham defender Zdenek Grygera had to be carried from the pitch with a knee injury.
Spurs defender Kaboul scored an own goal in the 57th minute and Fulham pressed for most of the remainder of the game without being able to find a way past man of the match Brad Friedel.
The goalkeeper stopped a powerful free kick from Chris Baird, then was rescued by Ledley King after Clint Dempsey managed to get around Friedel.
Kyle Walker and Luka Modric made important interceptions in injury time within the penalty area as Fulham came close to tying the match.
Instead, it was Tottenham that scored again, on a breakaway move that was finished by Defoe.
“We knew how hard it was going to be,” Bale told the BBC. “Fulham played very well and put us under the cosh, but we showed our character.”
Fulham is 16th in the standings on 10 points, between Sunderland and Everton on goal difference. Bolton has nine points, Blackburn six and Wigan five.
Chris Eagles and Ivan Klasnic both scored two goals for Bolton at the Reebok Stadium, with Kevin Davies getting the home team’s other goal.
Wolves climbed to 13th, on 11 points, with its victory against Wigan, which has now lost eight straight league matches.
Jamie O’Hara, David Edwards and Stephen Ward scored for the hosts at Molineux, with Ben Watson replying for Wigan.
Two days ago, Manchester City won 3-2 at Queens Park Rangers, Manchester United marked Alex Ferguson’s 25th anniversary as manager with a 1-0 victory over Sunderland, while Newcastle defeated Everton 2-1.
Arsenal beat West Bromwich Albion 3-0, Liverpool was held to a 0-0 tie by Swansea, Chelsea won 1-0 at Blackburn and Aston Villa defeated Norwich 3-2.