The masked assassin: Vlad Chiriches helped kill off Fulham's hopes of a first win under Rene Meulensteen with his equaliser in Tottenham's 2-1 win over Fulham.
In an action-packed encounter, Ashkan Dejagah gave the newly-appointed Dutchman's side the lead 10 minutes into the second half.
Fulham were forced further and further back afterwards. It led to a poorly struck Kyle Walker corner on the 73rd minute going out to Tottenham defender Vlad Chiriches who equalised with a finely struck long-range half-volley into the bottom corner.
Just under 10 minutes later, Lewis Holtby sealed Spurs' win with a daring effort from 20 yards having stolen the ball off the toes of his own teammate Andros Townsend.
Meulensteen will be pleased with the effort of his players. He will also be wondering what might have been on a night when Spurs struggled to break down his team before Chiriches' well-taken but somewhat fortunate goal.
His counterpart Andre Villas-Boas will be grateful to see his team return to winning ways after going over a month without a Premier League win.
For more on this London derby, read on.
Rene Meulensteen on the Craven Cottage sideline watches on.
Despite their defeat, the difference in Fulham's performance on Wednesday to that seen against West Ham United last Saturday was akin to night and day.
Given that the new man in charge, Rene Meulensteen, made seven changes to his predecessor Martin Jol's final starting XI, perhaps that was not too surprising.
The changes undoubtedly made a difference, with the team's energy and perseverance indicating a group playing for their manager. Sadly, the same could not be said of the majority of those half-assing an afternoon's work at Upton Park last time out.
Of course, beyond establishing a relationship of respect with their new boss, the Cottagers also need to rediscover professional pride and the desire to stay in the Premier League this season.
Against Spurs, the signs were encouraging that these are genuine objectives for them. Next up to test this will be Aston Villa, who visit Craven Cottage on Sunday lunchtime.
Now though, more specifically on those changes...
It is interesting to imagine the kind of conversations that took place between Jol and his coaching staff in the former's last couple weeks in charge. At least based on Meulensteen's selections to take on Spurs, there seems like there might have been a difference of opinion over the qualities of certain players.
Philippe Senderos and John Arne Riise were restored in defence alongside Aaron Hughes and the fit-again Sascha Riether. While Riise was given a hard night's work by Aaron Lennon, as a unit the back-four were solid and bordering on impenetrable at times as Spurs struggled to find a way through.
A little off the pace to begin with, Senderos grew into the game and made strong challenges to deny Erik Lamela and Jermain Defoe a further couple of times. Hughes was assured alongside him, summed up by an astute interception of a dangerous Kyle Walker pass midway through the second half.
Ultimately, there was little they could do about two moments of individual class from Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby.
Further forward, captain Scott Parker brought a few moments of knowing quality to his workmanlike best, particularly in the counterattack he launched in the build-up to Fulham's goal. Giorgos Karagounis put himself about as much as he could, working alongside his skipper to inject a sense of grit into his team.
The most telling changes were in the deployment of the advanced midfield trio that hinted at a real attacking identity for Fulham as they move forward under Meulensteen.
Ashkan Dejagah, Pajtim Kasami and Alexander Kacaniklic asked plenty of questions of Spurs, both individually and together.
Of the individuals, Kacaniklic looked most dangerous in the first half in an engrossing battle with Walker. The Swede played Dimitar Berbatov in for a chance that was let down by a poor first touch from the Bulgarian. He also did well to fashion himself some good chances of his own.
Dejagah almost grabbed the headlines with his goal, an accomplished-looking drive from wide right into the bottom corner.
As it was, it was a moment that will take its place in the story of a night of what could have been for Fulham.
From back to front though, it was a team performance that was far more invigorating for the watching fans than the listless display seen across London last weekend.
Meulensteen will likely tweak things in the weeks to come as he attempts to fashion a winning side. In his team's outing against Spurs, however, he has somewhere to start.
One man only briefly mentioned on the previous page was Dimitar Berbatov. Even in happier days in West London, it has been hard to escape from the notion that the moody but brilliant Bulgarian is a man apart.
The latest evidence of that assumption was a pre-match story from the Press Association—here via The Guardian—quoting Berbatov's agent Emil Dantchev revealing that his client wanted to leave Fulham in January.
Tempting as it might be for Meulensteen to offload a striker who has only briefly flickered into life this season, his display against his former club served as a reminder of why he can be worth the drama.
In his four chances on goal (as tallied by Squawka.com), Berbatov demonstrated his usefulness as the experienced head of the attacking quartet that poked and prodded Spurs.
Dejagah, Kasami and Kacaniklic all worked hard to provide chances for him. But for some good saves from Hugo Lloris he might have taken one or more of them.
With Darren Bent not consistently convincing during his loan spell so far (and left out entirely for this game) and Hugo Rodallega an occasional contributor at best, Berbatov remains Fulham's best option up front.
Even with the possibility of them recruiting more firepower and his seeming unsuitableness for a fight, his mercurial quality might be the x-factor that helps Fulham out of their relegation zone mess.
Spurs celebrate what, for a time, seemed an unlikely winner.
Jermain Defoe was earlier this week linked with a move to Fulham by Metro's Danny Griffiths. The forward's selection ahead of Roberto Soldado for Wednesday's game shows Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas might not be done with him quite yet.
Even so, it was another frustrating night's work for a Spurs striker.
Defoe started as he meant to go on. Taking a pass from Sandro early on, he ran at the Fulham defence and hit a low shot that Maarten Stekelenburg saved smartly.
Just under 20 minutes later, his comfort operating outside of the box came to the fore in Spurs' most dangerous attack up to that point. After Lennon picked up a loose ball, Defoe purposefully angled his run leftwards to play in Paulinho who after a lovely, jinking run inside managed to blast over.
The provider in Defoe came out again soon after with a squared ball to Erik Lamela that the latter struck just wide.
Bar those moments and the half-chances that would come his way as the game progressed, Defoe was unable to impact on the game in the way he or his manager would have liked.
After at least looking like they might score in the first half, for large periods of the second Spurs were uninspired.
Defoe's frustration was similar to that experienced by Soldado in recent weeks. Except he resorted to dropping deep to get involved rather than fruitlessly toiling in the channels as the Spaniard has.
Chiriches' goal, Holtby's winner and three points will mask some of these issues. While not begrudging Villas-Boas a victory his side fought hard for, the fact remains despite taking 18 shots (five on target), Spurs have still not got it quite right in the final third.
As confirmed by The Independent's Sam Wallace pre-match, Mousa Dembele missed out against his former club Fulham because of an "injury picked up on Sunday" during his impressive performance versus Manchester United.
This meant a first Premier League start since September for Etienne Capoue. It was a short-lived return as he was substituted at halftime (at the time of writing there had been no confirmation if this was tactical or because of an injury).
Intended to allow Paulinho to remain in the attacking midfield role that worked so encouragingly against United, Capoue took a little time to settle partnered with Sandro.
Early on the Frenchman gave the ball away, caught out as his teammates were on several occasions by Fulham's harrying in and around the centre circle.
Initially, he was too stationary when the ball was brought out of defence as well.
Capoue visibly eased into proceedings as the game progressed, though. While not outstanding, there were glimpses of the all-round midfielder Spurs will be hoping to see plenty more of in the future.
Shortly before the 40-minute mark, he tried his luck going forward. His eventual shot was mishit wide, but the run forward and shifting of the ball past Kasami momentarily put Fulham on the back foot.
About five minutes later he was alert on the edge of the area to drop back and put off the same player, forcing a corner.
Whatever the reason, Capoue's halftime withdrawal denied us a further look at the midfielder. After three months with just two Europa League games to his name, it was at least good to see him back in action.
Just what Villas-Boas has planned for him in the coming weeks depends on both his and Dembele's fitness status.
Over two games versus Hull City and Sheriff Tiraspol, Erik Lamela put in two positive performances that hinted at a player finding his feet.
The Argentinian's part in Tottenham's 6-0 crushing by Manchester City suggested that process might be ongoing, though, a suggestion backed up by his 78 minutes versus Fulham.
For the first half hour Lamela looked off the pace to say the least. When he got a touch of fortune when his bad control evaded the nearest Cottager, he wasted it with an over-hit pass to Paulinho when the Brazilian was in a dangerous position.
The narrow miss from a Defoe set-up seemed to settle Lamela down. When subsequently switched with Aaron Lennon onto the left wing after starting on the right, he began to cause Fulham some real problems.
Lamela almost got the better of Stekelenburg with a deflected shot that followed a terrific drive into the space in front of him. After dispossessing Berbatov he went on a similar run only to be blocked by Senderos.
He started the second half decently too, spreading the play nicely out to Lennon in a move that led to Defoe and Sandro getting shots in on goal.
Thereafter, however, Lamela was nowhere to be seen before being replaced by Andros Townsend.
The inclination of Villas-Boas to give him valuable Premier League minutes is an understandable one. With Lennon establishing form in his preferred position of right wing, his option to play is likely to be limited to the left for the time being (unless he is tried centrally).
There are enough games coming up that Lamela might well click into gear soon enough. The dilemma for Villas-Boas remains, how long can he stick with his £30 million summer recruit without it detrimentally affecting this team?
Lamela is not yet at the point where he is an expensive burden. But progress needs to be made in the short term if his development in English football is not to be put on the back-burner.