Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bentley Steers Spurs to Win

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bentley Steers Spurs to Win

Article excerpt

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Fulham 0 DAVID Bentley was the surprise name on the Tottenham teamsheet but the wantaway winger made a telling contribution against Fulham to keep his club in the Premier League top four. Bentley is desperate to leave Spurs and his first start since the beginning of December could attract attention from other clubs - it was a determined performance, capped off by a free-kick that flew in off Bjorn Helge Riise.

Peter Crouch had opened the scoring after escaping the attention of Chris Smalling, who was playing at centre-back hours after it was announced Manchester United had agreed terms for the youngster to play at Old Trafford next season. Aaron Hughes shifted to right-back, allowing Smalling to play in the centre - and the England Under-21 international coped well with the height of Crouch in only his second Premier League start.

He had plenty to deal with in the early stages. Tom Huddlestone had the first attempt on goal, fizzing a volley that Mark Schwarzer parried after Jermain Defoe's flick and Crouch's dummy.

Schwarzer's palms were stung by another Huddlestone drive and Crouch headed wide from Gareth Bale's cross.

Fulham's threat came through former Spurs striker Bobby Zamora, back from a broken collarbone but lacking support.

After Damien Duff crossed in the 13th minute, Zoltan Gera deftly cushioned a pass for Zamora but Heurelho Gomes rushed out to save the finish and needed treatment after the brave block. It was the closest the visitors came all evening.

The deadlock was broken in the 27th minute thanks to Luka Modric's skill.

Most had expected Bentley's deep cross to drop for a goal-kick, including Riise, but Modric did not give up and managed flick the ball over the Norwegian. He then scissor-volleyed inside and Crouch got free to tap home.

Crouch's 10th of the season was more about Modric's quick feet rather than Smalling losing his striker - and the youngster showed good composure in general, giving an example why United and Arsenal have been chasing him.

Modric almost doubled the lead in first-half stoppage time but it was nothing to do with Smalling's defending. …

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