West Ham United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Darren Anderton, the England midfielder, made a surprisingly swift return for Tottenham after his pre-season hernia operation when he came on as a second-half substitute at Upton Park last night.
His appearance immediately started to solve one of his side's many problems, the midfield, but another, their summer capture from Crystal Palace, Chris Armstrong, again played as if he was carrying pounds 4.5m weights in a sack on his back. He squandered a 17th-minute chance to win for Spurs a game that was West Ham's for the taking.
The problem for the Hammers is that, driven on by their baying fans, they put commitment ahead of all else and rarely seemed to think. They can rock opponents back on their heels, but only for so long.
It was hardly surprising that the referee, Mike Reed, had a busy night, booking seven players, five of them from Spurs.
West Ham held the edge but too many of their incisive runs off the ball were made by midfielders near the half-way line rather than by players up front.
When their persistence was rewarded with a goal in the 25th minute it was about as subtle as much of what had gone before. Clive Wilson fouled Don Hutchison 25 yards from goal and the West Ham striker turned the free- kick into something resembling one of Julian Dicks' trademark penalties by thrashing a rising shot into the top corner of the net.
The Hammers opened the second half as if they were about to put down the tongs in favour of something more delicate when they were undone by a Spurs player who is out of the current West Ham mould. Ronny Rosenthal turned on to David Howells' pass on the left side of West Ham's penalty area and drilled a 55th-minute equaliser into the far corner.
West Ham United (4-4-2): Miklosko; Breacker, Rieper, Potts, Dicks; Allen, Moncur, Bishop, Slater; Cottee, Hutchison (Boere, 80). Substitutes not used: Martin, Sealey (gk).
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Austin, Calderwood, Mabbutt, Wilson; McMahon (Anderton, 63), Dozzell, Howells Rosenthal; Sheringham, Armstrong. Substitutes not used: Scott, Thorstvedt (gk).
Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).Reuse content