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By Steve Blowers, at White Hart Lane
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Capital One Cup Quarter Final: Tottenham 1 West Ham 2
Against all odds, West Ham United returned to north London to inflict yet more White Hart Lane pain on teetering Tottenham Hotspur as they came from behind to secure their place in the Capital One Cup semi-finals where they will face Manchester City.
The Hammers followed up their 3-0 victory in October with another Capital display that saw late goals from Matt Jarvis and Modibo Maiga wipe out Emmanuel Adebayor’s 67th-minute opener.
Both teams may well have had better weekends but while Sam Allardyce saw his side booed off following Saturday’s Sunderland stalemate, far worse was in store for Andre Villas-Boas, who was subsequently sacked after a five-goal thrashing against Liverpool.
But having seen off Cheltenham Town, Cardiff City and Burnley on the way to this quarter-final tie, much to the disappointment of the soaking, sold-out away section, the lure of a place in the last four was still not enough to tempt Big Sam to field his strongest team against sinking Spurs..
Indeed, with James Tomkins (groin) injured and one eye on the upcoming weekend trip to Old Trafford, the Hammers relegated six of Saturday’s starters against the Black Cats to the bench as Joey O’Brien, Adrian, Razvan Rat, Alou Diarra, Matt Taylor, Jack Collison and Carlton Cole each received call-ups.
Following Spurs’ worst home defeat for 16 years, in-coming caretaker manager Tim Sherwood made half-a-dozen changes as the four-time winners brought in Adebayor Danny Rose, Vlad Chiriches, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Andros Townsend, and ex-Hammer Jermain Defoe.
And eager to impress their stand-in boss, both Defoe and Townsend went within inches of giving Spurs an early lead before Joey O’Brien headed just wide of his own left-hand goalpost .
Apart from a wayward effort from the breaking Jarvis, it was backs to the wall stuff for the visitors as they conceded five corners inside the opening quarter-hour.
Slowly but surely, however, West Ham began to grab a foothold on the wet White Hart Lane pitch and, with the home attack gradually finding itself repelled, the frustrated Adebayor was booked for nudging into Collison.
Ten minutes before the break, Defoe’s skidding 20-yarder forced the first serious save of the evening out of Adrian and, shortly afterwards, Carlton Cole also found himself thwarted by Hugo Lloris, before Adebayor rounded off a goalless first period by almost decapitating a Hammers fan in Row Z of the Upper Tier.
Just after the restart Aaron Lennon saw an angled shot deflected for a corner before Sigurdsson had a close-range shot charged down, while at the other end, James Collins almost netted a controversial opener when he just cleared the bar, when attempting to give possession back to Lloris following a stoppage in play.
Only the Welshman knows what he was trying to do but he certainly did little to endear himself to the northern part of London and Diarra then found himself booked for tugging back Rose, who was then replaced by Zeki Fryers.
Midway through the half, Maiga replaced Carlton Cole but the Mali international was still finding his feet on the greasy grass, when Spurs finally broke the deadlock.
Showing Taylor a clean set of studs down the left flank, Defoe sent over an inch-perfect cross to the far post, where the arriving Adebayor sent a flying, eight-yard volley in-off the crossbar.
In response, Mohamed Diame replaced Joe Cole and soon let fly with a thunderous 15-yarder that Lloris did well to beat away and then the Spurs ‘keeper did even better to turn aside a long-range scorcher that steamed through the north London night.
Townsend retired with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Nacer Chadli, while Lewis Holtby came on for Adebayor and Ravel Morrison became the last arrival of the evening as the dog-tired Diarra retired.
But still there was to be a twist in the tale.
For with 11 minutes remaining Adrian’s deep kick was nodded on by Maiga and with Taylor cleverly anticipating the nod-down, he played the ball wide to the overlapping Jarvis, who equalised with a rising angled 10-yarder.
With extra-time now beckoning, Maiga could not have picked a better time to bag his first goal of the season, when he got between Chiriches and Etienne Capoue to meet Diame’s well-flighted right-wing cross with a powerful header that gave Lloris no chance.
Predictably, a frantic finale ensued but the hard-working Hammers were certainly not going to surrender their place in that semi-final draw and, after Defoe headed over from under the bar, Spanish keeper Adrian bid adios to Spurs with a brilliant one-handed save from Sigurdsson before the marauding Maiga rocked the bar in the dying seconds.
SPURS: Lloris, Walker, Rose (Fryers 62), Capoue, Chiriches, Lennon, Townsend (Chadli 72), Dembele, Sigurdsson, Adebayor (Holtby 77), Defoe. Unused subs: Friedel, Soldado, Eriksen, Fredericks
HAMMERS: Adrian, O’Brien, Rat, Collins, McCartney, J.Cole (Diame 69), Jarvis, Diarra (Morrison 77), Taylor, Collison, C.Cole (Maiga 65). Unused subs: Jaaskelainen, Noble, Demel, Chambers.
Bookings: Adebayor (33), Diarra (61)
Referee: Neil Swarbrick