FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 24TH NOVEMBER, 2001
WEST HAM UNITED 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0)
Referee:- David Elleray
West Ham (4-4-2):- James; Schemmel, Repka, Dailly, Minto; Sinclair, Hutchison, Lomas (Capt - sub, Moncur, 51), Cole; Defoe, Kitson
Subs not used:- Hislop; Foxe; Courtois, Todorov
Booked:- Cole, Moncur
Spurs (4-4-2):- Sullivan; Perry, Richards, King, Ziege; Davies, Freund, Anderton, Poyet (sub Leonhardsen, 51); Sheringham (Capt.), Ferdinand
Subs not used:- Beasant; Thelwell, Bunjevcevic; Rebrov
Booked:- Freund, Perry
Spurs have won their third away game of the season, gone to sixth in the league, and at the time of writing are the top team in London! Yes, there are games to be played tomorrow, but let's enjoy the moment. The fact is that, although we hit the woodwork three times, and dominated the game, we never struck our best form, and still managed to beat a Hammers side that had previously only lost once at home, despite leaking numerous goals on their travels. A win is a win, and when not at your best, it's a sign of a good team, so, not that we need confirmation really, things are definitely looking up!
Without Taricco, Glenn Hoddle reverted to 4 at the back, although this was switched to the familiar 3-5-2 late in the game. Simon Davies came in, and although he put in the deep cross that led to the Spurs goal, perhaps he did not make the best of his chance to impress. King and Richards were very strong at the back, and Perry reverted to his old hoofing tactics too often in the unfamiliar right back position. Christian Ziege had one of those days when he was very effective going forward, but too often AWOL when needed at the back, where Schemmel and Sinclair enjoyed too much space and penetration.
West Ham were missing Di Canio, and Carrick, but introduced David James in goal, whilst welcoming Joe Cole in the midfield. Jermain Defoe started alongside hat-trick hero Paul Kitson up front. West ham's biggest crowd since the 1980s (thanks to the opening of the lower tier of the new stand) was hoping for a humdinger, but the game never really got that exciting, as the goalies were rarely exercised in the first half. Spurs had the most shots on goal (and most of those from Gus Poyet), without testing James too much, except for some useful crosses from Ziege. Ziege did not manage to get forward too much due to the challenge from Schemmel and Sinclair down his flank.
Kitson had an early curling shot deflected for a corner, before Les Ferdinand won an aerial ball for Gus Poyet to shoot over the bar. Then came a couple of tests for James, as Ziege put in those low crosses into "no man's land". However, the game was being fought in the middle, with Cole dominating for the home side, but generally being held at bay, whilst Spurs passing movements failed too often. After 27 minutes, Anderton's free kick from the right was fed by Ferdinand and Sheringham to Gus Poyet, who again fired over the bar. Ferdinand was putting a lot of work in, and it looked as if the plan might be to replace him with half an hour to go, but once again, Serge Rebrov never got a look-in.
In fairness, Les's determination was often telling, as demonstrated on the half hour, when Anderton put his pass out to Ziege, who put another difficult cross in front of James. Both side had good chances before the break. First Sinclair's cross was net by Kitson, but his header went straight to Sullivan, then Teddy Sheringham picked up a loose ball in space, but crashed his shot against the bar.
Early in the second half, there were half chances for Sinclair and Poyet, but then Poyet gave away a loose pass in the middle, and Defoe was given a chance, but put his cross in front of Sullivan, and beyond the danger area.Spurs took the lead after some fine build up play featuring Sheringham and Anderton in the middle. The ball was put out to the right, and Simon Davies put in a high cross. Poyet bravely met the ball, and James saved, but Les Ferdinand was following up to hit the ball home from close range. There was a weird hiatus for several minutes, as Gus Poyet had clearly been concussed in a clash of heads, and it was not clear whether the goal had been given or not. Only when the West ham players put the ball on the centre spot was it clear that Mr Elleray had given the goal. Comically, Gus tried to get back on the pitch, thinking he should have had a corner, and had to be escorted from the field. Oyvind Leonhardsen replaced him, and played a good part in the middle of the field.
Steve Lomas also had to be replaced, with a toe broken (accidentally by Steffen Freund). Ex-Spur John Moncur took his place, and it was odds-on that he would get himself a booking before the game was through! Sheringham and Ferdinand gave Leo an opening, and he hit the post with a cracking shot that rebounded across the goal. Sullivan was down well to a Hutchison shot after another attack led by Cole, and then he had to tip over a Moncur shot after Hutchison had pushed back a Schemmel cross into his path.
Spurs hit the woodwork again (I thought from and Anderton shot, but there are various reports on this), and then the closing stages consisted mainly of pressure from the home side. A poor Freund free kick was sent to Kitson, who not only put his shot wide, but was also just offside. Kitson had another chance when Cole put in a good cross, but it was just too high for the striker, and passed harmlessly to the touch line. In injury time, Sinclair hit his shot way over the bar, from a Kitson ball. The very vocal Spurs support was ecstatic, and acknowledged by the team, as Spurs enjoyed their first away league win on this ground for five and a half years.
· Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
· Declan Mulcahy's Last Five Stats for this game can still be read here
· Check the current team appearances, cards and scorers in all competitions
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