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Report: West Ham 0-1 Spurs

Posted on 25 November 2001  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

It was a long time coming but worth the wait - Les Ferdinand grabbed his first away goal since August 1999 as we bagged all three points at Upton Park for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

That goal came at Sheffield Wednesday and, briefly, took us to the top of the Premiership. While not quite at those lofty heights, this win is further proof of our ability to win on the road and leaves us nestled nicely in the top 10 after 14 games.

This clash was always going to be a case of out of the frying pan of last week against Arsenal and into the frying pan of another derby but in all honesty, the pace and passion was no-where near the north London encounter and as a result, we were able to get back to our flowing, possession football.

Play was somewhat congested in the opening period as both sides tested the water.

Les Ferdinand had a couple of breaks that came to nothing and it wasn't until the 12th minute that we had the first decent attempt on goal as Gus Poyet's dipping volley went just over.

Christian Ziege was a constant threat in the first half and delivered three top-drawer crosses from the left flank into that 'corridor of doubt' between goalkeeper and defence.

On two occasions Teddy Sheringham and David James met the ball just about as one but although not overly convincing, James dealt with both.

In-between the lively Joe Cole crossed dangerously to the far post but Dean Richards did enough as Don Hutchison threatened.

Poyet volleyed over again after a set-piece was cleared on the half-hour and another Ziege cross, this time on the volley, deserved better than to trickle out of play.

We now enjoyed the majority of possession but the home side looked threatening down both flanks with Scott Minto and Sebastien Schemmel willing to join in.

Cole linked with Minto in West Ham's best move of the half and Ledley King had to be aware to flick Minto's cross away with Paul Kitson ready to pounce.

Hutchison's header from Trevor Sinclair's cross lacked the power to beat Neil Sullivan and then, just before the break, the closest either side came to a breakthrough. Ziege played the ball into Poyet, his backheel released Sheringham and the skipper steadied himself before drilling a shot onto the bar and to safety.

The second half started at a pace as Sinclair had a chance within two minutes but headed Steve Lomas's cross weakly, Poyet volleyed into the stand and Jermain Defoe got a yard on King for the first time but dragged his shot across goal.

Then the moment 'Sir Les' has been waiting for. The ball was played wide to Simon Davies, in space, he brought the ball down and cross for Poyet whose header was saved superbly by James only for Ferdinand to bury the rebound.

But there were no celebrations as the players immediately waved to the sidelines for help for Poyet, who remained flat out.

The Uruguayan midfielder eventually got to his feet and seemed on another planet as both referee, physios and players tried to persuade him to leave the pitch. He did - straight down the tunnel, replaced by Oyvind Leonhardsen.

'Leo' almost made an immediate impact as Ferdinand flicked onto Sheringham who played the Norwegian in only for his shot to hit the inside of the post and bounce to safety.

West Ham responded well as Sinclair, a growing influence, beat Ziege but wasted his cutback and after good work from Cole, Hutchison's low saved was comfortably gathered by Sullivan.

We hit back though as the game went end-to-end - Ferdinand latched onto Sheringham's flick only for Dailly to block bravely, Sullivan tipped John Moncur's shot over and the Sheringham hit the woodwork again this time with a left-foot curler from 16 yards.

With 76 minutes gone Defoe released Kitson for Hammers' best chance but the striker, a hat-trick hero last week, dragged his shot wide.

Cole and Freund had a little scuffle that led to a yellow card each (Perry and Moncur later joined them in the book) and as the home side became more frantic, we were happy to soak it up.