Battling West Ham earn superb draw at Spurs
The Hammers did their survival hopes no harm at all with a deserved draw in their London derby clash with Spurs.
Tottenham 0 West Ham United 0
Robert Green’s brilliant save from Gareth Bale just four minutes from time, plus a superb rearguard action from the Hammers defence earned a point at deadly rivals Spurs on Saturday lunchtime.
In the end they deserved a share of the spoils and with better finishing they could even have stolen all three points, but they would have been happy to hang on for the draw as they continue their battle for Premier League survival.
Spurs rattled the West Ham woodwork three times in this match, Michael Dawson hitting the bar after just four minutes with a shot from the edge of the box as Tottenham started this game like an express train.
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Jermain Defoe flicked inches wide, Sandro’s shot was blocked by Manuel da Costa, while Rafael Van der Vaart’s corner was blasted wide by Aaron Lennon all in the opening 10 minutes.
West Ham did have two moments of hope in the first half, both wasted by Carlton Cole. First Thomas Hitzlsperger’s clever dink forward picked out the striker only for him to be caught in two minds and help the ball over the bar, then Demba Ba’s clever pass put Cole in the clear, but with the goal at his mercy, he shot straight at Heurelho Gomes in the Tottenham goal.
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Still Spurs came forward. Luka Modric fired inches wide, Defoe couldn’t quite get a proper touch on Vedran Corluka’s cross, while Modric went close again on 33 minutes, beating Green but seeing his shot fly just past the post.
Five minutes before the break, Lennon, forced on to the right as he had been completely stamped out by Wayne Bridge on the other flank, cut into the box and fired in a shot that rattled the inside of the post.
It sprang out to Defoe, but he could not direct his shot into the net.
Ba’s tame shot was comfortably saved just before the break, but in the second half West Ham began well and came close to scoring one of their own.
First Cole cut in and forced a smart save from Gomes, then Lars Jacobsen’s cross was cleared by Dawson to Mark Noble, whose attempted bicycle kick flew just wide with the goalkeeper motionless.
On 65 minutes, the superb Scott Parker fed Ba, who turned away from Van Der Vaart before unleasing a superb shot that was heading for the bottom corner until Gomes tipped it wide.
It was to be West Ham’s last real chance and for the rest of the match it was a backs-to-the-wall effort for the Hammers which they proved to be up to.
It wasn’t without its hairy moments. Defoe had a shot blocked by Da Costa, so did substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko, who then twice tested Green with shots from the edge of the box, but it was on 86 minutes that the telling moment came.
West Ham lost to a late goal at Arsenal earlier in the season, and it looked like they may suffer the same fate when Gareth Bale fired in a free kick from the edge of the box. However, Green thrust up a hand and pushed the shot on to the underside of the bar, before Jacobsen cleared the rebound off the line.
It was a stunning savem worthy of the point, but there was still time for Bridge to deny Defoe in the box with a brilliant tackle as West Ham held on for a draw that could be absolutely vital by the end of the season.
West Ham: Green, Jacobsen, Bridge, Upson, Da Costa, O’Neil, Parker, Hitzlsperger, Noble, Ba, Cole (Obinna 78).
Unused subs: Boffin, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Boa Morte, Sears, Hines.
Referee: Mike Dean.