Late Drama Denies Hammers
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 22 Feb 2015 16:39:00
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West Ham fans could be heard singing "it's happening again" to the home end while they were in front at White Hart Lane this afternoon but, as they did at Upton Park, Spurs had the last word as Harry Kane secured a point in the last minute despite missing a penalty.

Sam Allardyce made one change to his team, as Winston Reid came in in place of club captain Kevin Nolan who dropped to the bench, meaning Mark Noble took the captain's armband. The manager also named Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho in the starting line-up this time around, meaning there was no 4-6-0 formation employed.

The Hammers started the game in the ascendancy and were controlling the possession; as early as the second minute, Cheikou Kouyate got it horribly wrong and blazed his effort over.

On five minutes, the hosts had a chance of their own but Nabill Bentaleb's attempt was expertly palmed away by Adrian. Seconds later, he tried again but the Spaniard caught the second effort easily.

Ahead of the game, Allardyce clearly had a plan to nullify the threat of Kane. This nearly went to pieces as the striker went close on ten minutes. Although he had Adrian beaten, the post came to West Ham's rescue.

On 21 minutes, the travelling support were once again in the dreamland in North London, as Aaron Cresswell's cross was met superbly by the head of Kouyate to give Hugo Lloris no chance.

Even though the Hammers were on top going into the break, they were unable to take a more comfortable advantage into half-time. As two minutes of injury time were signalled at the end of the first period, the scoreline remained the same when referee Jonathan Moss blew his whistle.

The visitors continued to set the tempo in the second-half and had a great chance to go further in front when Noble played a superb ball out to Sakho who was through on goal but Lloris diverted the ball into the side netting.

The two players were to combine to great effect again just four minutes later, when the Irons went further in front as Noble sent a useful looking cross in and the striker was able to smash it home, leaving the majority inside the ground stunned.

The Hammers went close to a third on 66 minutes, but were denied by a superb double save from Lloris as he first denied Reid from a freekick and was also in the way of Valencia's effort.

Noble escaped a second booking a minute later, as he was given a yellow card for an earlier shirt pull. With that in mind, Allardyce decided it was time to replace him and introduced Carlton Cole in his place and later on 75 minutes, Matt Jarvis replaced Valencia.

Spurs thought they had at least got one goal back a minute later, however Kane was offside as the ball was swung back in from the corner that preceded the chance.

With nine minutes of normal time left to play, Spurs finally found a way past Adrian as the Spaniard punched a corner away but when the ball dropped to Danny Rose, he got his team right back into the contest.

Three minutes later, the Spanish stopper had to be alert again to deal with Roberto Soldado's effort as he made a cracking save.

On 87 minutes, Big Sam had to change his earlier substitute as Cole picked up an injury, so he sent on James Collins.

Spurs were desperately searching for an equaliser as five minutes of added time were signalled and as the game was nearing its conclusion, the home side had the chance to level matters when a penalty was awarded. Kane stepped up and saw his effort saved by Adrian but the Hammers' fans joy was turned to despair just seconds later, as Kane knocked in the rebound and as he did the final whistle blew, meaning all the visitors' hard work only earnt them a point. Still, at least they produced a better performance than the one that saw them knocked out of the FA Cup last weekend!

Big Sam's men are back in action on Saturday lunchtime, as they continue their spell of London derbies with the visit of former manager Alan Pardew and his Crystal Palace side to Upton Park.

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