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Wednesday, 31st January 2001

West Ham United 0
Tottenham 0

by Staff Writer

West Ham failed to find the net despite enjoying the lions share of play in tonight's Premiership clash against Tottenham at Upton Park tonight.

Frank Lampard came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half when his close range header hit the bar. It was the first time that a league match between the two sides had finished goalless since 1924.

Following Sunday's spectacular victory we should have known something like this was on the cards. Spurs hadn't scored in their last three, and were forced to field Sheffield Wednesday reserve Andy Booth up front following an horrific spate of injuries. With all this in our favour the Hammers were expected to win comfortably - so predictably, we didn't.

That's not to say West Ham didn't enjoy the share of possession. Tottenham will definitely be the happier of the sides after the result which left the Hammers teetering above the relegation pack way down in 13th place in the Premiership.

The nearest we came to breaking the deadlock was right on the stroke of half-time, when Paolo Di Canio initiated a move that had it resulted in a goal would have gone down as one of the goals of the season.

Di Canio picked up the ball in our own half, and with his back to Stephen Clemence went one way and then the other before spinning away from the hapless Spur. He drove deep into the visitors half before releasing Schemmel on the right. The Frenchman's first time cross was met (almost) perfectly 12 yards from goal by the head of Frank Lampard whose bullet like nod nearly lifted the woodwork from it's roots before going to safety.

However Tottenham also had opportunities. Loanee Booth thought he had given the North Londoners the lead on 15 minutes, but his looping header was ruled out as 11m man Rebrov was in an offside position.

The Hammers also had the ball in the back of the net in the first half - however Joey Cole's strike was ruled out for offside.

The second half continued the rather disappointing trend of the first; clear cut opportunities were few and far between.

But it was Tottenham who came closest to breaking the deadlock. Oyvind Leonhardsen, sent through on goal on the hour lifted the ball over the advancing Hislop only for Hannu Tihinen to somehow clear the ball off the line. It was a quite remarkable clearance; Tihinen, making his full home deut was running towards goal but still managed to lift the ball over the crossbar to safety. The Finn put in yet anopther accomplished display at the heart of the Hammers defence; why Harry Redknapp hasn't pulled up trees to get him on a permanent contract yet is anybody's guess.

The Hammers then had a spate of second half opportunities but failed to convert any. Stuart Pearce hit the near post directly from a corner kick, and he was involved again a few minutes later when his quickly taken free kick released Di Canio with only reserve keeper Walker - deputising for the banned Neil Sullivan - to beat. However Di Canio could only find the side netting; it was that sort of night unfortunately.

Spurs finished the game the stronger of the two sides, and could have snatched all three points with a late rally. But it wasn't to be, and bot hsets of fans left the Boleyn unhappy at the final score.

The Hammers worrying league form continues unabated. It's nothing to worry about just yet, but another couple of defeats - starting at Liverpool on Saturday - would really set the alarm bells ringing.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Hislop, Winterburn, Schemmel, Dailly, S.Pearce, Tihinen, Cole, Carrick, Lampard, Di Canio, Kanoute

Tottenham: Walker, Clemence, Campbell, Docherty, King, Perry, Freund, Leonhardsen, Anderton, Rebrov, Booth

Highlights:

15 mins - (Spurs) Booth strike ruled offside
29 mins - (West Ham) Cole strike ruled offside
33 mins - (West Ham) Kanoute shot well saved by Walker
40 mins - (Spurs) Rebrov misses golden opportunity
44 mins - (West Ham) Lampard header hits bar - should have scored
45 mins - Half time; 0-0
61 mins - (Spurs) Carrick clears spectacularly off the line
68 mins - (West Ham) Tihinen booked
73 mins - (Spurs) Perry booked for foul on Di Canio
74 mins - (West Ham) Walker tips away Pearce free kick
77 mins - (West Ham) Di Canio hits side netting from quick free kick
81 mins - (West Ham) Cole shot fizzes over the bar
83 mins - (Spurs) McEwan and Young on for Rebrov and Clemence

Attendance: 26,048

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