Kane equals Greaves’ record as Spurs win at Fulham

Brian Jeeves
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Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Craven Cottage – Report

Fulham 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Harry Kane scored in first-half stoppage time to equal Jimmy Greaves’s record of 266 Tottenham Hotspur goals as his side edged out Fulham in a competitive Premier League clash at Craven Cottage.

Out of sorts, and perhaps heading out of the building? Antonio Conte’s body language suggested his mind was already elsewhere. Defensive blunders coupled with shambolic performances led to the Italian lambasting his side after they carelessly tossed away a two-goal lead to lose at Manchester City: “This is our medium, our average – like a team that is fighting in the relegation zone,” he bemoaned.

“We have to improve the spirit, the collaboration, the will, the desire, the feeling to suffer,” Conte added.

“Maybe we have forgotten to suffer and to understand that if we want to win the game then maybe you have to stay there, to suffer like last season.”

Hosts, Fulham had no such issues. Despite a single-goal setback at Newcastle United last time out, the Cottagers occupied seventh place and went into the game in the knowledge that a victory would see them leapfrog the North Londoners.

Issues on the District Line led to a fifteen-minute delay to kick-off. Once inside, the Spurs support wasted little time voicing their displeasure towards Chairman Daniel Levy. 

Indeed, it was another tentative start from the Spurs. Hugo Lloris turned aside a speculative attempt from Bobby de Cordova-Reid as Fulham, easy on the eye, started brightly.

Spurs were already on the back foot. Lloris produced a reaction save to rebuff Harrison Reed’s close-range effort following a flowing move down the right. Meanwhile, Aleksander Mitrovic nodded the wrong side of an upright as the pressure continued to build.

The visitors’ threat had been minimal. Kane’s attempt from distance did little to trouble Fulham stopper, Bernd Leno as it fizzed over the bar. Nevertheless, Leno needed to be on his toes moments later to keep out Emerson Royal’s angled strike.

After recently tormenting his former employees Chelsea, Willian drilled a shot at Lloris which was beaten away by the Frenchman. 

But on the stroke of half-time, Spurs stunned the Cottagers by taking the lead. Kane turned and struck exquisitely beyond the wrong-footed Leno, equaling Greaves’s record that had stood for more than five decades. It was harsh on Fulham, but a piece of history for those of a Spurs persuasion to savour. Does one wonder what they’d do without him?

Leno superbly kept out Kane’s close-range goalbound header as Spurs returned with a spring in their step and the England skipper looked to claim the acholade outright. Mitrovic nodded over for Fulham as chances came at a premium and the contest became somewhat scrappy.

In the final minutes, Lloris needed every inch of his frame to thwart Manor Solomon. But that aside, Spurs comfortably withstood what Fulham had to offer, controlled the tempo and ultimately the destination of the three points.

Tottenham’s welcome victory moved them within three points of fourth-placed Manchester United. They now turn their attentions to the Emirates FA Cup when they face Preston North End in a fourth-round tie at Deepdale on Saturday, January 28 (6pm).

Fulham: Leno, Tete (Solomon 80′), Diop, Ream, Antonee Robinson, João Palhinha, Reed (Cairney 66′), Willian (Vinícius 88′), Andreas Pereira, De Cordova-Reid (Wilson 88′), Mitrovic Subs not used: Chalobah, Adarabioyo, Rodák (GK), James, Carlos Kurzawa

Booked: João Palhinha (foul)

Goals: None

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (Capt), Romero, Dier, Davies, Royal, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Perisic, Kulusevski (Bissouma 90+1′), Son (Richarlison 76′), Kane Subs not used: Forster (GK), Doherty, Skipp, Sanchez, Sessegnon, Tanganga, Lenglet

Booked: Son (foul), Romero (foul), Bentancur (dissent)

Goals: Kane 45+1′

Referee: Paul Tierney

Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis and Neil Davies

Fourth Official: Craig Pawson 

VAR: Michael Oliver

Assistant VAR: Darren Cann

Attendance: 24,190

Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk