LONDON: Tottenham managed to put the controversy over their delayed move to a new home behind them and Harry Kane finally found the net in August as Fulham were beaten 3-1 on Saturday.
England forward Kane had never scored a goal in August over 14 previous matches, before he claimed an important third goal for Mauricio Pochettino’s side after 77 minutes at Wembley.
Substitute Erik Lamela carved it out, surging half the length of the field before slipping through a pass which allowed Kane to switch feet and curl a shot into the far corner of the Fulham goal.
Three minutes earlier, Kieran Trippier had restored the lead for the home side direct from a 23-metre free-kick – a magnificent strike reminiscent of the one he scored in the World Cup semifinal for England against Croatia.
After a dominant first half, Spurs had finally taken the lead just before the interval through Brazilian winger Lucas Moura.
The 26-year-old had impressed on Tottenham’s pre-season tour, having found his first-team chances limited last season after joining from Paris Saint-Germain in January.
He showed he is in the mood to maintain that form with the way he connected with Calum Chambers’ weak clearance from a Christian Eriksen cross, sending a superbly-weighted left-foot shot into the top of the Fulham goal from the edge of the area.
It was a goal that had been coming, but which was all the more important given the air of gloom that has surrounded Pochettino’s club this week following the news that their move to the rebuilt White Hart Lane stadium has been delayed again.
The meeting with newly-promoted Fulham, who had won at Wembley more recently than Spurs, having gained promotion via the play-off final in May, was scheduled to be the club’s final fixture at their adopted home.
Tottenham admit they now cannot say when their new stadium will be ready, although a run of having lost just two of their last 39 home league games suggests they are not finding their lack of a permanent home too troubling.
Of more concern to Pochettino against Fulham would have been the way his team failed to convert first-half chances while looking susceptible to some lively counter-attacking from Slaviša Jokanović’s side.
Within seven minutes of the restart, those fears were confirmed with Aleksandar Mitrović, who had struck the Tottenham post moments earlier, equalising with Fulham’s first goal back in the top flight.
Defender Joe Bryan whipped over a dangerous cross which Mitrović failed to meet, flinging himself to the ground in the process.
But youngster Ryan Sessegnon had the presence of mind to meet the ball at the far post and turn it back across goal for Mitrović, still lying on the Wembley turf, to head into an open net.
Spurs only had themselves to blame for not having secured all three points in the first half, with Trippier a particular threat down the right.
His early cross was kept in by Ben Davies, whose driven centre was headed wide from five metres by Lucas, and the Brazilian was then denied by Fabri’s block, with Kane seeing a goal ruled out for a foul on the Fulham goalkeeper.
As Spurs sought to regain the lead after Fulham’s equaliser, Maxime Le Marchand was required to clear a Dele Alli shot off the line before Kane volleyed against the bar.