Spurs late rescue act with Hammers
Written By: Robert Halter
An evenly contested London derby kicked off at the early time of noon for a Sunday showdown in February as Tottenham Hotspur renewed rivalries with West Ham United at White Hart Lane. On five minutes, Adrian was tested to the maximum, as the Hammers keeper sprung into action to push the ball over the upright, after Nabil Bentaleb, fired in a rocket. In the tenth minute, a ball straight down the middle from Danny Rose, put Harry Kane clean through, and after beating off the challenge of James Tomkins and then Winston Reid, Kane’s outstretched leg diverted the ball past Adrian, before the ball struck the bottom right post as the Irons had a lucky reprieve. On sixteen minutes, Aaron Creswell spun the ball wide of the target from long distance, as the claret and blue army looked to get their footing on the game. But the Hammers got the breakthrough on twenty one minutes, after a mistake by Mousa Dembele was capitalised upon, and from Cresswell’s left wing cross, a thundering header by Cheikhou Kouyate, flew over the top of Hugo Lloris into the heart of the goal. But four minutes later, the Lilywhites pressed for an equaliser, when Kane sent in a delivery, that Rose met with a header which looped over the crossbar. After Lloris battered away a shot in the area from Enner Valencia, through another left wing cross by Cresswell in the twenty eighth minute, Spurs then broke away with Kane the supplier, but a shot from Ryan Mason was dragged wide. At half time, Mauricio Pochettino made a tactical change, as Christian Eriksen resumed the second half in favour of Dembele. On fifty four minutes, Mason was yet again unable to find a path past Adrian, after he lacked the cutting edge from outside the box. But on fifty eight minutes, Mark Noble spearheaded a West Ham move and after putting Diafra Sakho in space, Lloris rescued Spurs, by blocking Sakho’s near post strike, into the outside netting. The Lilywhites then switched Andros Townsend with Roberto Soldado. But Sakho made amends for his earlier miss, as from Noble’s chip to the far post, the ball was met with a perfectly timed side footed shot by Sakho, into the left side of the net, after Rose was beaten to the chase, as the Hammers went further ahead. Noble then escaped a second yellow card, after a rash tackle from behind into Bentaleb, as Noble avoided a sending off, having already been booked in the first half for a foul on Townsend. After an infringement by Dier on Sakho in the sixty fifth minute, Reid won a header from a Noble free kick, and Valencia’s close range strike was kept out by a frantic save from Lloris. To protect the Irons captain, Sam Allardyce replaced Noble with Carlton Cole and the Hammers soon changed Valencia with Matt Jarvis. With fifteen minutes of normal time remaining, from Erik Lamela’s deflected long ball, Kane found the net at the second attempt, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. But on seventy seven minutes, Adrian was forced to produce a save at full stretch, to turn away Eriksen’s well struck free kick, after Cole’s challenge on Lamela had been penalised. Spurs made another change with Nacer Chadli on for Mason. Although, Spurs got a stranglehold back in the game on eighty one minutes, when Lamela and Eriksen played a short corner, and as Adrian punched clear Lamela’s cross, the ball fell to Rose, outside the area, who slammed a volley into the ground which deceived Adrian, on the route to goal. Three minutes later, Adrain stopped a fierce strike from Soldado, after Chadli had opened up the space. Cole then pulled up with a hamstring as James Collins took over. With eighty seven minutes on the clock, from an Eriksen corner, Jan Vertonghen skied a header, as Spurs pushed forward for an equaliser. But the Hammers threw the game in the final seconds of stoppage time, after Alex Song fell onto Kane, and referee Jon Moss awarded a penalty and despite Adrian saving Kane’s spot kick, the rebound fell to Kane, who applied the close range finish before the whistle blew to end the 2-2 draw.