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Defoe's hammer blow

Posted on 28 December 2009  - 12:00

Luka Modric and Jermain Defoe struck the goals to secure a deserved 2-0 win against West Ham at the Lane on Monday.

Defoe's hammer blow

Luka Modric and Jermain Defoe struck the goals to secure a deserved 2-0 win against West Ham at the Lane on Monday.

Modric marked his first start since fracturing his fibula in August with the opener in the first half and having knocked, knocked and knocked again, Defoe finally smashed home the second goal to secure the points with eight minutes remaining.

The win took us into fourth place in the Barclays Premier League at the final whistle and, notably, made it four-successive clean sheets in the league going back to Kevin Doyle's early goal for Wolves back on December 12.

Harry Redknapp made four changes from the Boxing Day draw at Fulham. Ledley King returned for his first start since Sunderland on November 6 and was joined by Modric, Tom Huddlestone and Defoe in the starting line-up.

Sebastien Bassong, Jermaine Jenas, Niko Kranjcar and Robbie Keane returned to the bench after starting at Fulham.

West Ham actually had the first sight at goal when Scott Parker dragged his shot wide in the ninth minute.

Two minutes later though and we were on our way. Defoe sent Aaron Lennon racing away down the right, his cutback clipped off James Tomkins and with the ball bobbling up, Modric arrived to make the finish look easy from 16 yards.

Parker soon limped out of the action as the visitors were forced into two early changes, Herita Ilunga following the midfielder down the tunnel in the 19th minute. They were replaced by Luiz Jiminez and Jonathan Spector respectively.

The rest of the half was one-way traffic with the exception of a routine save from Heurelho Gomes down to his right from Jack Collison.

Huddlestone sliced just wide and then dragged wide after being found by Assou-Ekotto, Peter Crouch was denied a certain goal when Tomkins slid in to divert his effort after Wilson Palacios burst forward, Jermain Defoe shot straight at Green from Lennon's pass and then angled a 30-yard free-kick inches wide.

It was all Spurs and Gianfranco Zola must have been delighted to hear the half-time whistle.

Not that anything changed after the break. The lads were straight onto the front foot with efforts from Defoe, Huddlestone, Lennon and Palacios all inside the first seven minutes, Palacios' fierce strike hitting Matthew Upson and flying wide.

We inched closer to a second goal when Vedran Corluka picked out Huddlestone's run into the box and the midfielder's shot arrowed across Green only to hit the foot of the post.

Lennon was again the provider for the next chance, crossing deep for Crouch, who elected to nod back across the goal for Defoe. Play continued, West Ham hesitated and suddenly Corluka was on the rebound but headed on to the roof of the net - 65 minutes on the clock, still 1-0.

If a warning was needed, it came via Diamanti's whipped ball into the box cleared by Michael Dawson and Radoslav Kovac's decent strike over from 25 yards in West Ham's best spell midway through the half, but we were never overstretched defensively.

However, as the Hammers tried to push on, spaces were appearing and a counter-attack led to Defoe's decisive goal.

Lennon inevitably led the break and found Defoe, left side of the box. The striker ran across the 18-yard line left to right and unleashed a powerful drive that Green could only parry out before smashing the rebound so hard it almost took the net into Paxton Road. The goal made it four points over Christmas and a Happy New Year for all at Spurs!

However, Assou-Ekotto was forced off in the 87th minute with a hip problem and had to be replaced by Gareth Bale.

Spurs: Gomes; Corluka, King, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto (Bale, 87); Lennon (Jenas, 89), Huddlestone, Palacios, Modric (Kranjcar, 84); Crouch, Defoe. Subs: Alnwick, Bassong, Hutton, Keane.

West Ham: Green; Faubert, Upson, Tomkins, Ilunga (Spector, 20); Collison (Stanislas, 79), Parker (Jiminez, 12), Behrami, Kovac, Diamanti; Franco. Unused subs: Stech (GK), Da Costa, Nouble, Payne.

Officials: Referee - Mr C Foy. Assistants - Mr R Ganfield, Mr D Bryan; Fourth official - Mr S Attwell.

Attendance: 35,994