Spurs earn derby day victory
By Tom Dowsett
Monday 24 Aug 2009 12:36:00
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West Ham United experienced defeat for the first time this season in a closely fought London derby against top of the table Tottenham Hotspur at Upton Park.

The North London side were victorious in a 2-1 victory that saw former Hammer Jermain Defoe continue his excellent scoring run at the Boleyn Ground.

With the news of the horrific incident suffered by Calum Davenport on Friday evening, both sets of supporters allowed him a generous round of applause before kick-off.

The game commenced with Tottenham starting the brighter, but the home side came into the match more and more after a sluggish opening quarter, that saw them concede a number of corners to a resurgent Spurs side who had defeated Hull City 5-1 in midweek. The catalyst for West Ham was Scott Parker who got into the mood for this London derby by committing himself into a number of crunching tackles.

The most intriguing contest of the half however, was the battle between Carlton Cole and Spurs' captain Ledley King. The physical approach play of Cole was proving a handful for the Tottenham defence, yet it was the visitors who had the first real chance as King headed against the crossbar after a Luka Modric set-piece. England striker Cole should have had the Hammers in front just before half-time but he failed to connect to a Junior Stanislas ball across the six yard box after the Academy graduate had teased his way down the right wing.

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The game sprang into life just after the break when Cole struck a spectacular 25 yard volley to give West Ham the lead, a goal which would have pleased the observing England manager Fabio Capello. The hero of the hour quickly turned to villain as a poor back pass from the Hammers number 12 evaded James Collins - the performance of which was being watched by Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill, who expects to sign the Welsh defender this week - and fell into the path of ex-player Jermain Defoe who confidently swept the ball past Robert Green into the back of the net. It was Defoe's fourth goal of the season and one which would look to yield many more.

The equaliser appeared to knock the stuffing out of West Ham, who failed to create any clear cut chances thereafter. They had a claim for a penalty on the hour, but replays suggested that Luis Jiminez had theatrically dived under pressure from Assou-Ekotto.

All of Tottenham's play was coming down the right hand side with Aaron Lennon the architect of the piece. In the 78th minute, the North London side delivered the knockout blow, and it came through the increasingly influential Lennon. The winger burst past defender Jonathan Spector before cutting inside and releasing an angled shot which beat Green's outstretched hand to nestle in the bottom corner.

In an attempt to rescue a point, Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola threw on strikers Zavon Hines and Frank Nouble but it was the visitors who regained top spot and condemned their East London neighbours to another derby day defeat.

West Ham will be looking to avenge Sunday's result when they face the mouth-watering prospect of a fixture against Millwall in the Carling Cup second round at Upton Park on Tuesday night.


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