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West Ham Utd 0 Tottenham 2

Filed: Monday, 8th December 2008
By: Staff Writer

Harry Redknapp came away smiling from his first trip to the Boleyn Ground as Tottenham manager after his side took all three points thanks to two second half strikes.

Redknapp - who won here on all three of his trips with Portsmouth - extended his winning sequence to four games tonight thanks to late goals from King and O'Hara, a result which lifts Tottenham above West Ham for the first time this season and one which leaves Gianfranco Zola's side on the cusp of the relegation zone.

United - who had failed to beat their local rivals in this fixture since that memorable 2-1 win on the final day of the 2005/06 season - produced a performance as bad as that which saw Alan Curbishley's team succumb 4-0 at White Hart Lane back in March, and but for the post and some good work by Rob Green that score could have been replicated.

United were simply dreadful on the night and simply outclassed by a team that, despite showing a recent upturn in form, have still been struggling to escape the relegation zone. On the evidence of tonight's showing however it will be the Hammers with relegation worries come next May, not their neighbours who are slowly easing their way towards mid-table obscurity.

Tottenham, who went into the game on the back of a disappointing home defeat to Everton could have opened the scoring inside the first minute when recent capture Modric fired straight into the arms of Rob Green after some good work on the left flank by Lennon. It should have been a warning sign for the Hammers but it was instead to prove a morale-booster for the visitors, who went on to create the best chances of the half.

Former Blackburn winger David Bentley spurned yet another golden opportunity seven minutes ahead of the break when an awful header by Lucas Neill set the winger up with another great chance. Fortunately for Neill, Green was on hand to divert Bentley's effort wide of the goal. However Green was nowhere to be seen when Roman Pavlyuchenko's stoppage-time effort rebounded off the far post to safety.

The Hammers had barely threatened Spurs' goal in the first half although they were left scratching their heads when referee Chris Foy ruled out Jermain Jenas' 21st minute own goal - from a Bellamy corner - as a result of a supposed infringement by Lucas Neill; TV replays were inconclusive, at best.

The second half started in a similar fashion with Tottenham controlling play; an early change - Bent on for the disappointing Pavlyuchenko - gave the visitors added spark and it wasn't long before Rob Green was once again being called into action, making saves from Modric, Bentley and Zokora.

As the second half wore on a goal appeared increasingly inevitible, and so it was no surprise when the deadlock was finally broken on 68 minutes through Ledley King - scoring his first goal in three years (64 games) - whose arrowed header did just enough to evade the despairing dive of Rob Green, conceding his first goal in over five hours of play.

United, aided by a noisy home crowd rallied briefly and Carlton Cole tested Gomes before the Hammers should have been awarded a penalty when Cole's header was literally pushed away from goal by full-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto, with arms raised above head. Not so, according to referee Foy who simply awarded a corner to West Ham - therefore agreeing that contact had indeed been made by the Tottenham defender!

Gianfranco Zola, who looked hugely frustrated at his team's inability to make inroads on the opposition goal tried to give them a lift by reverting to his favoured 433 formation with the introduction of David Di Michele. It was a tactic that nearly paid dividends when the Italian veteran was presented with a chance to level the scores in injury time - however Di Michele could only fire stright at Spurs keeper Gomes when aimed anywhere else his shot would have almost certainly resulted in a dramatic equaliser.

As it was the ball rebounded to safety and within 30 seconds Tottenham had put the game beyond doubt when Jamie O'Hara raced through to add a second goal - also his first in the league this season. The Hammers, who had been so well supported in the second half trudged off moments later to a chorus of boos from sections of the home crowd; it is difficult to criticise those who vented their frustration so vocally following such an insipid display.

For Zola's side it gets no easier - although he, at least, will be guaranteed a warm welcome when his side visits Stamford Bridge to face title-chasers Chelsea this weekend.

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09:07AM 12th Dec 2008
''I was at the game and I came away feeling disappointed with the result and the fact that our attacking play was woefully short of the mark. But for me the worst aspect was the performance of our home support !

Fortress Upton Park - Do me a favour! Let us do our job from the stands - not only when we're winning.''

by Ray
09:39PM 11th Dec 2008
''After watching the Spurs game I realised that my Hammers were going down as they were cr*p and deserve nothing less! Zola hasn't a clue as no player dared take a shot at their net. What has happened to the players spirit which was present in the first half but disappeared in the second? ''

by rugby irons
05:08PM 9th Dec 2008
''A disgraceful performance and the worst home night showing I have witnessed in nearly forty years of coming down.''

by Romford Steve
12:38PM 9th Dec 2008
''What a complete shambles. I must admit that I have never been a fan of Cole's but the boy had no one close enough to him for him to lay the ball off to. Me an my mates spoke before the game about how Neill was going to be run ragged and it was as if he wasn't there. When he did have the ball he wouldn't push up.Inept performance and to the team we hate the most! If you cant push yerself for those games then I fear for the rest of the season - Fizzy Pop anyone? I bleedin well hope not!''

by Tell it how it is Charley
11:06AM 9th Dec 2008
''The football may have been worse under Curbishley but at least they scored a few goals! They keep giving Cole new improved contracts but he is hardly prolific by any stretch of the imagination. Has Zola been playing any strikers since September?

You´re always likely to concede in this league so it's imperative you can score. Perhaps the players know the club is going into administration so what's the point. In 25 years even under the early years of Redknapp in the Premiership around 1994 I've never known a West Ham team to be so inept in front of goal.

You've got your pretty football folks at the cost of loss of Premiership status! Curbishley gets us to 10th and West Ham press the self destruct button.''

by jamie
08:40AM 9th Dec 2008
''Another loss, we have got no better, we are a team going nowhere.''

by Lewis Erentrauts
08:40AM 9th Dec 2008
''Yet another poor poor display. Not one player comes out with any credit, after all, this was a London derby against our main rivals! Zola will again not criticise any of his players, but you have to ask why. And why is the questions as to Faubert and Cole in the team. We started to concede sloppy goals once again, we cannot score, and we cannot do anything right at the moment. A long hard winter ahead yet again.

Curbs and Harry must both have smiles on their faces this morning, with some Hammers fans wishing neither should have gone. Same old West Ham, flatter to deceive! Hello Championship and Mr Roeder!''

by Stoney (THFC)
11:03PM 8th Dec 2008
''A refreshingly honest appraisal of tonight's game. Except one thing. You bemoan Assou-Ekotto's handling of the ball but choose to ignore that of Ilunga. Evened itself out you might say. ''

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