Bentley enjoys rare outing to steer Spurs home
Published 27/01/2010 | 05:00
David Bentley enjoyed a rare night of success to help Tottenham stay fourth in the Premier League.
The winger, expected to leave White Hart Lane this transfer window, was given an unexpected start -- it was only his fourth league appearance of the season -- and he responded by helping to make the first goal, for Peter Crouch, then claiming the second.
It was Tottenham's first league win of 2010 and condemned Roy Hodgson's side to defeat in the Fulham manager's 100th game in charge. It also served as a reminder to the latest multi-million pound player that life at the top is not always perfect.
Fulham included Chris Smalling on the day he agreed a £12m summer move to Old Trafford, but the defender, marking Crouch on only his second league start, could do little to prevent the Spurs striker opening the scoring.
In the 28th minute, Bentley crossed from the right, Mark Schwarzer miss-punched and Luka Modric's wonderful tenacity produced dividends with the winger somehow keeping the ball in, clipping it over Bjorn Helge Riise and cleverly prodding it back for Crouch to clip in his 10th goal of the season.
On the day Spurs' hopes of gaining planning permission for a new stadium received a setback, it provided a welcome lift. Earlier architectural watchdogs had refused to support the club's plans for a ground adjacent to White Hart Lane fully, criticising aspects of the design proposals.
Spurs, who had failed to score in three of their previous four league games, made sure of the points on the hour mark when Bentley's free-kick deflected wickedly off Riise's head and dipped over the stranded Schwarzer.