March 25, 2023

Harry Kane collected a short pass from Son Heung-min, rolled away from one Fulham defender with a touch with left foot, made himself a yard of space and shaped a beautiful low shot around another white shirt.

The ball curled inside a post, nestled into a corner of Bernd Leno’s net and Tottenham moved into a lead they barely deserved at the end of the first half.

In doing so, Kane eased level with the great Jimmy Greaves onto 266 at the very top of the Spurs goal charts. No-one has more. It was a historic moment by the River Thames, as he equalled a record set in in 1970. And, it was a reminder of the value of genuine goal scorer. One capable of chasing personal milestones as silverware eludes him.

Harry Kane moved level with Jimmy Greaves’ Tottenham goal scoring record on Monday night

Kane’s first Spurs goal was turned in from six yards from a knock-down header by Andros Townsend, away at Shamrock Rovers as Tottenham slipped quietly out of the Europa League at the end of that particular group stage.

More than 12 years on and he is still doing the business. “He’s just a one season wonder,” crowed the Spurs fans in the Putney End of the ground, an ironic taunt designed for those who tried to write Kane off at the start.

No-one is writing him off these days, especially not those with Tottenham in their hearts. He is the difference for Antonio Conte’s team, more so than ever since the return after the World Cup. His double inspired a 4-0 win at Crystal Palace, earlier this month, and scored the only goal in the FA Cup victory against Portsmouth.

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Kane was denied a second by terrific reflex save by Leno to beat away a close-range header early in the second half.

One was enough to relieve some of the pressure on boss Conte at a time when questions swirl about his future and managing director Fabio Paratici, banned by the Italian FA last week but in attendance at Craven Cottage last night.

It has been a testing spell for Tottenham who travelled across the capital on the back of two damaging defeats, the derby at home to Arsenal and last week after surrendering a two-goal lead at Manchester City.

Even Kane admitted ahead of kick-off that poor results heightened the senses, even if they were against the two teams involved in the title race at the top of the Premier League.

In the away end, disgruntled fans made their feelings clear. They took less than two minutes to unite in a chorus of protest demanding chairman Daniel Levy ‘gets out of their club’ and sang in support of Conte, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

Indifferent form either side of the break for the World Cup has pushed Conte’s team back into the cluster of teams scrambling to make the top four.

These include Fulham, who have built on the upward momentum from promotion last season and have proved capable of upsetting the elite clubs if they are below their best.

They toppled Chelsea on their previous outing at the Cottage and opened with the same sort of energy and adventure on display that night, hustling the visitors into mistakes and forcing them deep.

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Bobby De Cordova-Reid tested Hugo Lloris from distance, a crisp effort zipping up off the turf. Lloris made a fine save diving full length to his right and then made a more comfortable one to keep out a free-kick Andreas Pereira.

The Tottenham goalkeeper was stung by criticism after costly errors against Aston Villa and Arsenal but kept the scores level with another splendid save to foil Harrison Reed who timed his run from midfield and met a cross from Pereira with a firm side-foot volley.

Conte has no problem with his team sitting deep if they can be strong at the back and break with some menace but, for the first half an hour, the visitors barely offered any threat on the counter attack.

Fulham snapped into tackles in midfield while De Cordova-Reid and Willian linked up with their full-backs and created overloads in the wide areas. Up front, Aleksandar Mitrovic dominated Cristian Romero in the air.

Some of the fire faded as half time approached, however, and the visitors started to advance. Harry Kane took aim from 30 yards. His shot was too high. Emerson Royal forced Bernd Leno into his first save of the night from an angle.

For the first time, the home team came under extended pressure. There were corners to defend as they sought the sanctuary of half time. They did not make it without conceding.

Kane struck with a fabulous goal on the turn in the first minute of stoppage time and Conte’s team had performed the same trick they did at Manchester City on Thursday, weathering an early storm before taking the lead just before the interval.

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As well as the Tottenham milestone, Kane moved onto 16 Premier League goals for the season, an impressive haul albeit some distance behind the 25 scored by Erling Haaland. And onto a total of 199 Premier League goals as he continues his pursuit of another record.

Once ahead, Conte’s team looked more settled, able to exert more control on a disjointed and even second half.

Leno made his brilliant save from Kane’s header while, at the other end, Mitrovic went close with a looping header and Lloris made a fine fingertip save in the closing minutes from substitute Manor Solomon.