The Togo striker volleyed home to put us ahead in the 67th minute of this quarter-final tie and we were good value for the lead at that stage, but Matt Jarvis levelled with 10 minutes remaining and four minutes later substitute Modibo Maiga headed home the winner.
Tim Sherwood’s first team selection saw him field a 4-4-2 formation with Jermain Defoe and Adebayor up front, the latter’s first start since the final day of last season. Kyle Walker was handed the captain’s armband.
It was a typical crackling cup-tie atmosphere at kick-off and the game opened up at a frenetic pace in the pouring rain. We certainly started on the front foot and had a great chance inside two minutes when Aaron Lennon streaked past Razvan Rat and whipped in a cross which Gylfi Sigurdsson connected with. George McCartney blocked his effort and the ball ran loose to Jermain Defoe, but he dragged his shot just wide of the far post.
Three minutes later Andros Townsend went even closer when he fizzed in a 20-yard drive which was inches away from the post and on eight minutes, it looked like we’d taken the lead when Hammers defender Joey O’Brien headed Lennon’s cross just past his own goal with Defoe lurking behind him.
It was fast and furious in the early stages and Defoe tried his luck again on 18 minutes, latching on to Etienne Capoue’s long raking pass but sending his half volley well over the crossbar.
The pace did relent eventually as the match settled down, the visitors striking their first shot across our bows on 27 minutes when Jack Collison’s effort was blocked and Hugo Lloris saved comfortably. Defoe hit a shot straight at Adrian, Carlton Cole did likewise at Lloris and Adebayor perhaps could have done better when Walker and Lennon combined well to set him up but he blasted high and wide five minutes before the break.
The second period began in the same vein as the first, with us showing all the attacking intent and four minutes in we had our first chance. Danny Rose’s cross was headed clear by O’Brien only as far as Lennon, he controlled and fired in a shot which deflected off Rat and went just wide of the far upright.
Walker then embarked on a surging run which ended with his shot cannoning off Defoe into the path of Lennon, who clipped over a cross for Sigurdsson but the Icelandic midfielder couldn’t get a clean connection with his shot and the ball was cleared from danger.
Vlad Chiriches made a fine sliding block to deny Carlton Cole on the hour mark after the Hammers frontman had skipped away from Capoue and pulled his leg back to shoot, before Walker’s 25-yard free-kick at the other end failed to trouble Adrian.
And then came the breakthrough, the move starting in our own half as Townsend picked the ball up five yards outside our box and slid it down the line to Defoe. He burst away from O’Brien and sent over a cross which fell invitingly for Adebayor, who smashed it first time past Adrian and in off the crossbar to send the Lane into raptures.
The goal sparked West Ham into life and Lloris had to be at his best twice to preserve our lead, denying Mo Diame and then Matt Taylor with two wonderful saves, while there was an early end to proceedings for Townsend, who picked up an injury and was replaced on the wing by Nacer Chadli.
The equaliser came on 80 minutes when Maiga flicked on Adrian’s long clearance, Taylor controlled and slipped the ball in to Jarvis who fired left-footed past Lloris, again off the crossbar.
Both sides were carving out chances in search of the winner and it almost fell to Chadli, when put through by Defoe, but O’Brien slid in to tackle as he was about to shoot. Then the visitors went up the other end and grabbed the lead in the 84th minute, Maiga heading home unchallenged from Diame’s cross.
Into stoppage time and Mousa Dembele threaded a pass in to Sigurdsson on the edge of the area and his right-foot shot looked like it was heading for the bottom corner before Adrian intervened with a diving save, while Maiga almost scored his second only for his 25-yard drive to crash back off the crossbar.
Spurs: Lloris, Walker, Capoue, Chiriches, Rose (Fryers 62), Lennon, Dembele, Sigurdsson, Townsend (Chadli 73), Adebayor (Holtby 78), Defoe. Substitutes (not used): Friedel, Fredericks, Eriksen, Soldado.
West Ham: Adrian, O’Brien, McCartney, Collins, Rat, Jarvis, Taylor, Diarra (Morrison 79), Collison, J Cole (Diame 70), C Cole (Maiga 65). Substitutes (not used): Jaaskelainen, Noble, Demel, Chambers.
Goals: Spurs – Adebayor 67; West Ham – Jarvis 80, Maiga 84.
Yellows: Spurs – Adebayor; West Ham – Diarra.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick.