Report: Spurs 3-2 West Ham
English Barclays Premiership
Anthony Gardner timed his first goal for Spurs to perfection.
There was certainly a sense of derby deja-vu after Wednesday's defeat at Fulham, albeit in different circumstances, as we again looked set to throw points away from a winning position.
At Loftus Road it was a case of 2-0 up, 3-2 down. This time it was 2-1 and West Ham down to 10 men when the Hammers were allowed in for an equaliser with 14 minutes left. It was a game we should have won and the majority of the 36,000 fans at the Lane knew it.
But Gardner made sure we weren't talking about could haves and should haves. With only two minutes remaining he strode, in typical style, out of defence. He continued to stride, went a bit further and when he got 25 yards out, had a pop. It wasn't the best, but clipped off Gary Breen's foot and beyond the reach of David James. First goal, three points, second place.
Pre-match it was all about Robbie Keane - the Irish star didn't disappoint. He was involved in the first goal, won a penalty for the second, produced one of the moments of the season within six minutes of his debut and constantly wanted the ball, probing, twisting and turning. If he wanted to impress his new adoring masses, he did just that.
Few will forget his first contribution. Alert to a poor defensive header, Keane lifted the ball over Breen with one foot before volleying, a la Klinsmann, a fraction over.
Unfortunately, that effort was the highlight of a first hour where the order of the day was passion, high tempo football but lack of real quality in the final third.
It was 6-4 to the visitors on shots off target with Joe Cole and Trevor Sinclair the main culprits for the visitors, Jamie Redknapp, Teddy Sheringham and Goran Bunjevcevic off target for us.
The second half started in similar fashion with Ziege curling a free-kick just wide but the game burst into life in the final half-hour.
Keane started things with a delightful pass with the outside of his foot down the line to Matty Etherington, whose sheer pace got him to the ball just before the byline and his low cross to the near post was expertly steered home by Simon Davies, who got in front of Christian Dailly.
But Dailly made up for it within a few minutes as Paolo Di Canio lofted a deep cross to the far post, Dailly stretched to the limit to head it back across goal and Frederic Kanoute slid in at the far post.
Five minutes later and we were back in front. Bunjevcevic picked out Keane, one-on-one with Ian Pearce on the edge of the box. Keane controlled and flicked the ball over Pearce in one move and as he attempted to finish, was brought down by the defender. Uriah Rennie awarded the spot kick and Pearce was off. Sheringham made no mistake and it was 2-1.
Surely that was that. Absolutely not. Redknapp was penalised and booked for fouling Cisse and Di Canio, who was about to be substituted, picked out Sinclair's run behind Thatcher and the England international buried his chance.
In the circumstaces, a draw would have been a huge blow - not least after Fulham. Thankfully, Gardner moment followed with two minutes left and this time there was no way back.
4mins: INJURY. Repka limps off after crunching 50-50 with Jamie Redknapp.
6mins: Keane swooped on loose header by Dailly, flicked it over Breen's head and volleyed acrobatically over.
9mins: James good hands to cut out dangerous Ziege cross.
9mins: SUB. Winterburn replaces Repka.
10mins: Cole blazed over from 15 yards after couple of poor clearances handed him shooting chance.
14mins: Lomas skied his shot into the air after good work down left flank by Kanoute.
16mins: Redknapp almost onto Keane's lobbed pass after approach play by Bunjevcevic and Sheringham.
17mins: Cole squirmed away from Redknapp, held up well by Perry before curling wide from 18 yards.
22mins: Lovely reverse pass by Keane released Ziege, cutback from byline almost steered home by Sheringham.
25mins: Bunjevcevic decent 25-yarder always moving away from target.
26mins: Redknapp blasted over from 30 yards after good work from Davies and Keane.
27mins: YELLOW. Bunjevcevic four reckless tackle on Lomas.
31mins: INJURY. Perry pays the price for brave block on Kanoute and is stretchered off.
32mins: SUB. Doherty on for Perry.
36mins: West Ham won two headers before Cole lashed over from 18 yards.
37mins: Appeals for penalty as Bunjevcevic went flying in the area waved away.
39mins: Sheringham just about holds off challenge of Dailly to head Ziege's tempting cross at James.
39mins: Straight up the other end and Sinclair clipped shot over from the angle.
45mins: Decent chance but Sinclair drove wide from 20 yards.
Half-time: Spurs 0-0 West Ham
Half-time: SUB: Thatcher for Taricco.
46mins: Ziege free-kick drifted a yard wide.
47mins: Keane didn't really get hold of shot, a yard wide from 20 yards.
49mins: YELLOW. Sinclair for clattering Etherington.
50mins: Di Canio rifled in a cross that Kanoute headed wide from 10 yards.
56mins: Ziege fires free-kick over from 25 yards.
57mins: Brilliant block by Thatcher to deny Winterburn after full-back latched onto loose ball in the area.
59mins: Lomas, always struggling to reach, headed Kanoute's cross wide.
60mins: YELLOW. Kanoute for deliberate handball.
61mins: GOAL. Keane released Etherington down the left flank, he slid to cross low to the near post where Davies pounced to divert home with his left foot. 1-0.
65mins: GOAL. Di Canio's deep cross headed back across goal by Dailly and bundled in at the far post by Kanoute. 1-1.
69mins: PENALTY, RED CARD, Bunjevcevic pass found Keane one-on-one with Pearce, magnificent skill took him past the defender who brought him down. Penalty awarded, Pearce sent off.
70mins: GOAL. Sheringham tucked away penalty. 2-1.
73mins: Keane chip floated just over.
75mins: YELLOW. Redknapp for foul on Cisse.
76mins: GOAL. Di Canio's free-kick met by Sinclair, in the clear, six yards out, to tuck beyond Keller. 2-2.
79mins: SUB. Carrick for Di Canio.
81mins: Cole 70-yard run, tracked the way by Doherty, shot eventually deflected wide by Thatcher.
85mins: SUBS: Iversen for Etherington, Defoe for Kanoute.
85mins: Davies half-chance but miscued from 18 yards.
88mins: GOAL. Gardner carried ball out of defence, no-one went near him so continued, eventually shot from 20 yards, deflected beyond James by Breen. 3-2.
Line-ups: Spurs: Keller, Taricco (Thatcher, 46), Bunjevcevic, Perry (Doherty, 32), Sheringham, Redknapp, Ziege, Etherington (Iversen, 85), Davies, Gardner, Keane. Subs: Hirschfeld, Acimovic.
West Ham: James, Repka (Winterburn, 6), Dailly, Sinclair, Di Canio (Carrick, 79), Lomas, Kanoute (Defoe, 85), Breen, Pearce, Cisse, Cole. Subs: Van Der Gouw, Camara.