Read a full match report of the Premier League game between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at Upton Park on Saturday May 3, 2014
Sam Allardyce made the point that the mood of supporters can change completely after a victory, and it does not get much better for West Ham United ’s fans than beating bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur for the third time in a season and ensuring Premier League survival at the same time.
It might be stretching a point to say Allardyce is now back in favour with the Upton Park faithful, but as he and his players did a ’lap of appreciation’ after a 2-0 victory against a Spurs side reduced to ten men for over an hour following the first-half dismissal of Younes Kaboul.
Allardyce was subject of supporters anger last week when his side lost at West Bromwich Albion, their fourth defeat in a row. One banner accused Allardyce of ’killing West Ham United’, but after this victory saved them — for another year at least, he said: “One week you are not playing so well and people sound their disapproval, which they are quite entitled to do.
“But they get behind you when they’ve got something to get behind. They don’t stop singing, the players enjoyed playing on this stage and gave a wholehearted performance to lift everybody on the last (home) game of the season.We couldn’t have asked for anything more than what we got today.”
Spurs certainly made life easy for them. Once Kaboul was sent off for bundling over Stewart Downing as he ran in on goal, the home side took control. Harry Kane headed an own goal shortly after Kaboul’s dismissal and Downing drilled in a free-kick before half-time to effectively seal the points that should help Allardyce’s case in the summer.
Tim Sherwood, on the other hand, is likely to be Tottenham’s manager for only one more week, with the club beginning the search for his successor. Mauricio Pochettino and Frank de Boer are the two leading candidates, and whoever gets the job will have the task of re-invigorating a club whose challenge for a Champions League place petered out earlier than usual.
Spurs barely registered a shot on target, and but for another man-of-the-match performance from Hugo Lloris, would have lost by more than two goals. “Lloris was top drawer,” said Sherwood.
“I hear people saying after Everton game when he got a bang on the head that he is not the same keeper anymore. That is a load of crap. He’s a consistent performer every week.” Lloris made the first of many fine saves in the 25th minute, shortly after Kaboul saw red for fouling Downing just outside the penalty area. Andy Carroll struck the free-kick well, but the French keeper tipped it away.
Lloris had little chance, however, when Carroll headed on the resulting corner and Kane inadvertently flicked it into the roof of his own net. The Hammers grew in confidence as Spurs wilted in the midday sun.
From a deep cross, Danny Rose almost put the ball past Lloris, who then made a superb save to keep out a well-struck volley from Matt Taylor. But again the Frenchman was left exposed as West Ham increased their lead. Michael Dawson fouled Mark Noble 20 yards from goal, and although Lloris orchestrated a defensive wall, Downing was able to find a hole in it when both Emmanuel Adebayor and Paulinho turned their backs on the winger’s shot. The ball flew into the net and West Ham’s supporters could begin to celebrate their own salvation and taunt their rivals.
Mohamed Diame’s superb overhead volley was matched by an excellent save from Lloris, who then made an even better save moments later when the ball fell for Kevin Nolan in front of goal. West Ham’s captain spun and shot towards goal from close range, but Lloris was already on top of him to block the shot.
“But for Lloris, I think we would have had for more than two,” added Allardyce. “The fans were right behind the team from start to finish because they knew they were playing well and deserved a victory in the end.”
West Ham United (4-5-1): Adrian 6; Demel 6, Tomkins 7, Reid 7, McCartney 6; Downing 7, Noble 8, Nolan 6 (Jarvis 87), Taylor 6, Diame 6; Carroll 7 (J Cole 83).
Subs: Jaaskelainen (g), Armero, Vaz Te, Collins, Nocerino.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Lloris 9; Naughton 6, Dawson 6, Kaboul 5, Rose 6; Lennon 6, Paulinho 5 (Sandro 65), Sigurdsson 5 (Soldado 65), Eriksen7; Kane 6 (Chiriches 27), Adebayor 5.
Subs: Friedel (g), Fryers, Bentaleb, Pritchard.
Booked: Naughton, Sandro, Dawson, Soldado.
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).