West Ham secure safety as 10-man Tottenham are well beaten again
14:58 03 May 2014
The Hammers made it three wins out of three this season against Spurs with a deserved victory at Upton Park
West Ham United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0
For the final time this campaign, the curtain fell at Upton Park, where Tottenham Hotspur left the field to chants of “Can we play you every week?” ringing in their ears, after West Ham United made it a hat-trick of wins over the north Londoners this season.
Last week, Sam Allardyce had borne the brunt of the fans’ frustration but, seven days on, the smiles were back as a Harry Kane own-goal and a Stewart Downing free-kick got the Hammers back to winning ways against a Spurs side, who had been forced to play with 10 men following Younes Kaboul’s 25th-minute dismissal.
Last week’s dismal defeat at struggling West Bromwich Albion had been the Hammers fourth successive loss and, following that reverse at The Hawthorns, the under-fire Allardyce made just one switch as Matt Taylor came in for substitute Matt Jarvis.
Certainly, there was no East End dissent from the lunchtime crowd in the opening stages as 14th-placed West Ham - buoyed by two earlier victories at White Hart Lane this season - took the game to the visitors with Winston Reid seeing an overhead effort easily gathered by Hugo Lloris, before Christian Eriksen and Michael Dawson both survived handball shouts, while Guy Demel also scooped Mark Noble’s half-cleared corner on to the crossbar.
Despite winning at Stoke City last weekend, Tim Sherwood had endured another intense week of speculation over his inevitable successor but, having also made just one change to his sixth-placed side - Gylfi Sigurdsson coming in for Nacer Chadli - he saw Emmanuel Adebayor waste the best of the early chances to open the scoring, when he side-footed weakly to Adrian after an athletic Aaron Lennon combined with the breaking Kane to set up the Togo striker.
Paulinho also sent a weak header straight into the clutches of Adrian and, at the other end, Stewart Downing - looking for his first goal in a Hammers shirt - sent a rising 20-yarder into the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand.
As the quarter-hour mark passed, Kyle Naughton was booked for tripping Taylor but worse was to follow for Spurs on 25 minutes, when Kaboul was dismissed for downing Downing on the edge of the area as he burst clear of a trio of chasing defenders.
Andy Carroll’s consequent free-kick scorched past the Spurs wall before being brilliantly diverted away from under his left-hand angle by Lloris. But the 10-men quickly paid the price, when Noble floated the resulting corner to the far post, where the climbing Carroll nodded goalwards only for Kane to inadvertently head the ball beyond the grasp of his keeper and the desperate lunge of Sigurdsson on the line.
With Upton Park erupting into a cacophony of noise, poor Kane’s misery was complete, when he was replaced by Vlad Chiriches before the restart.
The busy Lloris then punched the ball off Nolan’s head before recovering to tip Taylor’s low 20-yarder around the base of his left-hand post.
One minute before the break, however, the Spurs defences were breached one more, when the escaping Noble was again felled by the consequently cautioned Dawson, whose agony was compounded, when Downing sent the 20-yard free-kick through Adebayor and Paulinho in the woefully weak wall to finally break his duck.
“Tottenham Hotspur, it’s happening again,” sang the delighted claret and blue fans as the teams departed at the break and within five minutes of the restart the Hammers - who had never beaten Spurs three times in a season before - almost had a third but Mohamed Diame’s brilliant overhead kick saw Lloris produce an equally superlative save before he denied Nolan the chance to follow up and then saw Taylor curl the clearance inches wide.
On 55 minutes, the left knee of Lloris again thwarted the unmarked Nolan as he let fly with a point-blank volley and Demel then headed the attendant corner over the top.
Midway through the half, Sherwood made a double-switch as Paulinho and Sigurdsson made way for Sandro and Roberto Soldado, who was soon booked for tripping Demel and grabbing Nolan by the neck.
Big Sam introduced Carlton Cole at the expense of Carroll for the final five minutes but, with the sorry Spurs supporters streaming away, the game had long been safe and, having secured three richly-deserved points, the Hammers now head to Manchester City next Sunday with their Premier League status absolutely assured.
HAMMERS: Adrian, Demel, McCartney, Reid, Tomkins, Diame, Downing, Nolan (Jarvis 87), Taylor, Noble, Carroll (C. Cole 85) Unused subs: Jaaskelainen, Armero, Vaz Te, Collins, Nocerino.
SPURS: Lloris; Naughton, Rose, Dawson, Kaboul, Lennon, Eriksen, Paulinho (Sandro 65), Sigurdsson (Soldado 65), Kane (Chiriches 28), Adebayor. Unused subs: Friedel, Chiriches, Fryers, Pritchard, Bentalab.
Bookings: Naughton (18), Dawson (43), Soldado (70), Sandro (84)
Sent-Off: Kaboul (25)
Referee: Phil Dowd