Will the easily offended please look away. Fulham ‘smashed it’ on Sunday and after 90 minutes they were ‘hanging out the back of it’. No doubt, former Sky Sports commentator and ‘werewolf-in-progress’ Richard Keys would approve.
This was a game where a toothless Spurs ran out of luck and lacked the strength in midfield or cutting edge up front to make inroads against an improved Fulham outfit. The long-term absence of Tom Huddlestone and temporary unavailability of Gareth Bale left Spurs’ midfield with an array of midgets who would be better served protecting the confectionery-related interests of William Wonka. The continuing omission of Niko Kranjcar is curious. Is Harry Redknapp (deep intake of breath) displaying ‘tall-ism’?
This cup tie was over as a spectacle within 15 minutes following kamikaze defending by the usually reliable Michael Dawson. Sadly, our likeable captain had an absolute shocker. His sloppy pass played in the paper-ankled Clint Dempsey for the first penalty. Hutton’s challenge merited a spot-kick, but Dempsey’s theatrical tumble made sure.
The hapless Dawson then clearly pulled back Dembele’s shirt in the area (having fortuitously got away with a carbon copy offence against Newcastle last week) and the portly Phil Dowd was so excited the red card literally flew out of his pocket, presumably because his chubby fingers were unable to negotiate such a small space. We wish the blubbery official luck in his continuing battle with obesity. By the ‘letter of the law’, Dowd was correct, but it’s a shame referees regularly fail to spot this infringement when Nemanja Vidic is the perpetrator. He could probably murder and receive a booking.
I had to blink a few times to make sure Gerry Francis wasn’t in charge. Tottenham’s tiny midfield was swamped and a nervy Gomes overwhelmed. The Brazilian’s hesitancy led to an unnecessary corner which the Norwegian behemoth Hangeland converted before Dembele finished superbly as Spurs players backed off in injury time.
There was no Gareth Bale and therefore no rip-roaring comeback. And so one dream is over, but amid the disappointment it’s important to remember a few others remain.