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West Ham v Spurs, 31.01.2001

WEDNESDAY 31ST JANUARY, 2001
FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
WEST HAM UNITED 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0)

Attendance:- 26,048

Referee:- Neale Barry

Teams:-
West Ham (3-5-2):- Hislop; Tihinen, S. Pearce, Dailly; Schemmel, Cole, Carrick, Lampard, Winterburn; Di Canio, Kanoute

Subs:- Forrest; Song; Moncur; Camara, Soma

Booked:- Tihinen

Spurs (3-5-2):- Walker; Perry, Campbell, Doherty; Anderton, Freund, Leonhardsen, King, Clemence (sub Young,84); Rebrov (sub McEwen,84), Booth

Subs not used:- Segers; Thelwell; Sherwood

Booked:- Perry

Jim Duggan reports for "Spurs Odyssey"
Jim Duggan's THFC page can be found here

A point was won against most people’s expectations and there was a decent debut for Booth in a positive night for the Spurs, although the third consecutive 0-0 is nothing to get too excited about.

Spurs lined up with new signing Andy Booth up front with Rebrov, and had Walker for the suspended Sully in goal. Anderton swallowed his pride and played right wing back, allowing Leo to be ineffective in the middle as opposed to the right. West Ham played the same side that beat Man Utd on Sunday. Spurs fans sung "we’ve got Andy Booth" with an irony heavy with our decade of disappointment before the match.

I’d hoped that that West Ham would still have their minds on their victory at Old Trafford, while the Spurs players had enjoyed 10 days off and a break in La Manga in Spain. Redknapp was quoted in the Standard before the game saying that West Ham were as big as Spurs, but actually reading the article he said that Spurs had a better ground, better training facilities and more money (and by implication more fans), and all he was really saying was that West Ham had finished above us in each of the last three seasons. Big deal.

The first chance of the match fell to Rebrov. Freund had left Joe Cole long enough to take a throw, which eventually fell to Doherty who played the ball back into the danger area. Campbell headed on to Rebrov who could only manage a modest shop straight at Hislop.

The game was played in the open tradition befitting the two clubs and was easily one of the better away games seen for a while. West Ham emerged into the game, looking dangerous down their right where Clemence looked ill at ease at left half all night. Pearce blasted a wild shot miles over before Di Canio worked his magic to get a shooting chance which went wide of Walker’s post, both stemming from fluent moves from the home side.

As ever most of the good stuff from Tottenham was orchestrated by Anderton, but as ever, it was not enough to justify his lofty reputation and wages. How much worse off would we be without him? Do we have to rid the club of the likes of him and Walker, highly paid "stars" who have little to show for their fancy reputations and wages?

The next chance fell to Rebrov after being well found by Anderton, he decided to try and pass to Leo rather than have a pop at goal (a measure of his lack of confidence?), but his over-hit pass missed Leo and the chance was gone. After the dismal display at Everton and many of the other away-day disasters this season, this was already one of Tottenham’s better away performances, and it nearly got a whole lot better when a good cross from Anderton was powerfully met by Booth, who flashed a header through Hislop and into the back of the net. But the lino was about to ruin all our celebrations, ruling Booth offside.

Spurs continued to play well for the rest of the half, but as time went on, West Ham got into the match more. Freund was given the job of keeping Joe Cole quiet, and did his job well for much of the pitch, reducing much of his possession to the West Ham half. Kanoute, who’d also managed to get the ball past Walker when miles offside had West Ham’s first attempt on goal after the half hour mark, when he burst into the right-hand side of the box before forcing Walker to concede a corner from a powerful shot.

Spurs continued to have the better of the chances and were unlucky not to go in at half-time with a goal. Rebrov found a shooting opportunity at the edge of the box after the ball had worked its way through to him, but pulled his shot wide of Hislop’s left-hand post. Anderton was next to have a crack on goal, hitting a powerful shot straight at Hislop who failed to gather but the on loan Finn Tininen was in to thwart Leo from the rebound, something he would repeat, much to our dismay, in the second half.

With about a minute to half-time, a piece of magic from Di Canio (who the Spurs fans urged to "f*ck off back to Lazio", although I’d love to see him at the Lane (what do we pay Pleat for??) turned Clemence on the halfway line before releasing the runner down the wing who sent over a good cross which porky Lampard met with a firm header at the edge of the box. The ball thudded against Walker’s bar with him well beaten and went behind to safety.

Honours were even at half time, which was more satisfying to the Spurs fans. But there was a lack of optimism based upon numerous similar occasions when we have given away a good first half performance in the second.

West Ham had another good chance just after the break, when another cross from their right managed to evade everyone in the box before being cleared when a goal looked on the cards. If West Ham had the best effort of the first half, it was certainly Tottenham who came closest to breaking the deadlock in the second. Anderton was again at the heart of things and his lofted ball into the box was met by Leo making another of his excellent runs into the box just before Hislop, and as the ball bounced towards an empty net, Tininen emerged from nowhere and got to the ball as it reached the line. Even then with the ball under the crossbar it seemed more likely that he would just help the ball in, but unfortunately for us, he managed to scoop it on to the top of the net. Booth had another header later in the half, again from an Anderton cross, but although he met it well he could not keep it down.

For much of the second half, ex Spur John Moncur warmed up in front of the Spurs fans, and to the usual chorus of derision and Spurs reject he gave us all the finger in what developed into excellent exchanges with the West Ham fans in the corner of the stand. Again the Spurs support was fantastic, giving the players none stop encouragement..

Perry got himself booked for a bad tackle on Di Canio, and from the resultant free kick, Pearce hit a powerful shot through the wall from 25 yards which Walker did really well to save. Spurs nearly gave away all their good work about ten minutes from the end when a quickly taken free kick in the midfield released Di Canio round the back of Perry but he blazed his shot into the side netting when he should have done better.

The last 10 minutes saw Spurs play without Rebrov who was withdrawn to a chorus of disapproving boos and chants of "you don’t know what you’re doing" and "there’s only one Glenn Hoddle". Cole had West Ham’s last chance when he shot over from 25 yards and Booth who had ran himself into the ground still found the energy to force Pearce into a saving block.

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