FA BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP
SUNDAY 20TH NOVEMBER, 2005
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1) WEST HAM UNITED 1 (0)
West Ham scorer:-
Attendance: - 36,154
Referee: - Alan Wiley
Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Stalteri, Dawson, King (Capt.), Lee; Jenas, Tainio (sub Lennon, 69), Carrick, Davids; Mido, Keane (sub Defoe, 78)
Subs not used: - Cerny; Kelly; Rasiak
Booked: - Davids, Stalteri, Mido
West Ham (4-4-2):- Hislop; Repka (sub Newton, 76), Ferdinand, Gabbidon, Konchesky; Benayoun, Noble, Mullins, Etherington (sub Bellion, 85); Harewood (sub Zamora, 76), Sheringham (Capt.)
Subs not used: - Bywater; Dailly
Booked: - Sheringham
In the dying seconds of an extended injury time, Spurs paid the penalty for their failure to capitalise on their early dominance of this game, when West Ham’s under-21 defender Anton Ferdinand headed home from a last ditch corner taken by one of three ex-Spurs in the Hammers’ line-up – Paul Konchesky. To be honest, the warning signs had been there for all to see, as the visitors won a succession of corners in the last quarter of the game, and the longer it went on, the more you felt that an inevitable equaliser was going to come. Spurs just cannot get into the winning habit at the moment, having gone four games now without all three points.
Martin Jol surprised everybody, and perhaps especially the West Ham counter plans, by giving Robbie Keane only his second league start of the season, leaving Jermain Defoe on the bench. Despite his availability, Aaron Lennon was also left on the bench in favour of Tainio, who played a central role at the head of a diamond midfield formation. That put Jenas and Davids towards the flanks, but as is usual for Spurs, the full backs were given responsibility for attacking down the wings when available. Teddy Sheringham skippered the away team and was greeted warmly by both sets of fans. His reception was not so warm mid-way through the first half though, as he and Edgar Davids were involved in a skirmish, and both saw Mr Wiley’s yellow card.
It was another full house at The Lane, and on a bright winter’s day, with a 1 o’clock kick-off, you felt that whoever was defending Paxton Road in the first half would be at a disadvantage, with the low sun directly in the keeper’s eyes. That was Paul Robinson, who did sport a cap whilst under that handicap, much as he had declared at the Q & A earlier in the week, that he preferred not to don headwear.
Matthew Etherington came in for particular attention, and was down on the ground within minutes of the start, re-visiting that view of the arena two or three more times during the game, largely thanks to the attention of Stalteri. Spurs had a great move after just 5 minutes, spread from left to right by Carrick, to Stalteri, and then involving Jenas, Tainio and Mido, who laid the ball back to Davids, whose shot was deflected for a corner. Soon after that Carrick found Jenas with a superb pass through the middle, and Jenas sent Keane away at an angle on the left. Robbie’s shot was safely held by Hislop, whose presence meant we had been denied the chance of baiting Roy Carroll over his Old Trafford cheating in January.
West Ham played in accordance with their time-honoured traditions of attacking football, and whilst their full-backs’ application was often inept, the rest of the Hammers, including Sheringham, saw to it that Robinson was at least kept on his toes. Etherington passed down the line to Harewood, after 10 minutes, and his cross was met by Mullins who shot wide. Benayoun then had a good opportunity, but also missed the target.
Spurs took the lead after a quarter of an hour. Carrick was being prevented from aiming forward and passed back to Dawson, who picked out Mido, in space between the West Ham centre backs. Hislop was out too far, and Mido headed over the keeper to give us the lead, and to give the scorer the lead over Defoe in the Spurs’ goal-scoring table for the season. Within minutes, West Ham had a free kick on the right hand side, taken by Konchesky, and it looked like Teddy got a touch before Harewood headed wide. After his set-to with Davids, Teddy gave Harewood another opportunity, which was fired wide.
Jenas had a golden opportunity after 25 minutes, when Carrick found Mido on the left, and the ball came in, with Jenas in the middle of the area, and plenty of time to pick a spot. His kick was woefully sliced. West Ham did have the ball in the back of the net five minutes before the break, through Noble, but the offside flag was already on display. That man Sheringham had been the creator once again!
Spurs had already lost too much of the initiative before the interval, allowing West Ham to come onto them too easily, giving them too much room in the middle. There was too much of a gap between our midfield and the attack, and too often, long balls went towards Keane, rather than Mido. To be honest, Keane looked ring-rusty and he sadly has not taken the chance he was given to tempt Martin Jol to start with him again. At times there was a hint of decent football from the home side, but their attempts at clever passes were failing, and the simple touch from the visitors was working more consistently.
Six minutes after the break, Tainio crossed for Mido, whose header was cleared for a corner. From the second of these corners, the ball was headed down and Keane did try an overhead shot which was well saved by Hislop. Lee hit a shot well over the bar, which only equalled his other two shooting attempts in the game. Paul Robinson had to make a great save after 66 minutes from Sheringham, with a close range effort from another corner. Jenas chipped a shot just wide at the other end, and also seemed to get clipped in the area, but the officials were oblivious to his situation, as play carried on with Jermaine on the floor. Indeed, I felt that West Ham had more than their fair share of luck with decisions, such as an obvious goal-kick for Spurs being called a corner, coupled with the occasional handball or push in the back, which Spurs did seem to get punished for by Mr Wiley.
Etherington had a couple of good shots, either side of a mis-control by Keane when he might have broken clear. The first shot was well blocked, and the second was wide. With two minutes of normal time to go, Jermaine Jenas was just outside the box, and switched the ball from right foot to left, hitting a good shot just outside Hislop’s right post. Mido and Defoe also had shots on target in the latter stages. Injury time was scheduled for two minutes, and most of that had gone, when Lennon could have sent Defoe clear just inside the West Ham half. Lennon delayed his pass, Defoe was caught offside, and the referee added time, whilst the ball was retrieved. From the free kick, a corner was conceded, taken by Konchesky, and converted by Ferdinand, with goalkeeper Hislop also joining in the desperate quest for an equaliser which came to start the great celebrations in the away section. Their point felt like a win, and it was like a loss to us. The rendition of “Glory, Glory” was not appropriate to a less than satisfactory display and return from Spurs, who must now travel to Wigan for that elusive win.
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