Tottenham vs West Ham match report: Late Harry Kane rebound shares the spoils from controversial injury-time penalty

Tottenham 2 West Ham 2

Harry Kane’s latest rescue act was not quite as spectacular as his last one against Arsenal, but the reaction was almost the same. White Hart Lane convulsed in noise and schadenfreude as he bundled in the rebound from his saved penalty, the last kick of this match deep in added time. Kane had earned Tottenham Hotspur a point which seemed unlikely given that with 10 minutes left they were 2-0 down and looking tired, slow and bereft of ideas.

Premier League Sunday - as it happened

This was a remarkable result given the obvious gap between the two teams for the first 80 minutes. West Ham United played with intelligence, strength and pace, perfectly executing Sam Allardyce’s game-plan. They won twice at White Hart Lane last season and, before Tottenham finally fought back late on, it felt as if they would do it again on Sunday.

Spurs were fortunate to escape with a point after a performance worryingly reminiscent of their struggles at home at the start of the season. They had already lost here to Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle United and Stoke City. All those defeats, against teams currently below them in the Premier League table, were on Sundays after a Europa League game on the Thursday – as this game was – and all of the performances were characterised by sloppiness in defence and predictability in attack.

For most of this game, Tottenham played like they did in the second half of Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Fiorentina. This was their 43rd game of an exhausting season and, despite Mauricio Pochettino’s intense training and conditioning work it looks as if the effort is catching up with the players.

Pochettino rested Christian Eriksen, after he was a shadow of himself on Thursday, but Eriksen is the brains of this team and they were a lesser side without him. Erik Lamela, Mousa Dembélé and Andros Townsend lined up behind Kane but those creators all had poor games, just one week before the Capital One Cup final in which they are competing for one or two places.

Kane was Spurs’ only real threat and was involved in their two good first-half moments. He ran onto one long ball, away from James Tomkins, but stabbed it just wide of the far post. Then the 21-year-old striker clipped a perfect pass over the top to Danny Rose, whose brave header flew just over the bar. But it was poor stuff from the home side, who could not unpick West Ham’s well-arranged defence and resorted to bypassing their malfunctioning midfield and merely hitting it long to Kane instead.

By the end of the first half Spurs players were routinely putting simple passes out of play and it was little surprise when Pochettino introduced Eriksen for Dembélé at half-time. The passing improved, if not the incision, and when Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb shot wide from distance Spurs did not look like they had much of a chance.

West Ham went 2-0 ahead, nearly scored a third and only in the last 15 minutes did Spurs finally stir. Eriksen had a free-kick saved by Adrian, but the usually reliable goalkeeper ought to have kept out the goal that turned the game. The Spaniard punched an Eriksen cross out to the edge of the box, Rose hit it into the ground and it bounced and looped beyond a static Adrian and into the net.

Tottenham have made a habit of fighting back this season – they have now claimed an extra 13 points from the final five minutes of games – and they pushed for an equaliser. Adrian saved from Roberto Soldado, Eric Dier headed a corner over and Eriksen dragged a shot far over the bar. It felt like the game was up until, with nearly the whole five minutes of added time played, Alex Song pulled down Kane, who converted the rebound after his penalty kick was saved.

Sakho_1.jpg
Diafra Sakho celebrates West Ham's second

It was a mistake by Song, who had no need to tackle Kane with Aaron Cresswell in close attendance. It was one of West Ham’s few errors of the match. They were immaculate almost all afternoon: well organised in defence, with a three-man shield in front of them, but also incisive on the counter-attack. If the Hammers are planning on replacing Allardyce this summer, they must have a good manager in mind.

Tottenham were sloppy but West Ham were focused and able to force their hosts into mistakes. The opening goal came when Song pressed Dembélé into losing possession, from which Mark Noble fed Cresswell, who whipped a perfect cross in for Cheikhou Kouyaté, who ran between the two centre-backs to head past Hugo Lloris.

With Enner Valencia and Stewart Downing either side of Diafra Sakho, West Ham were always dangerous and they continued to threaten in the second half. Noble found Sakho, who could have scored or set up Valencia but did  neither. Soon after, though, he made it 2-0.

Noble, facing very little opposition, crossed from the left, Valencia attacked it from an offside position and Rose held his hand up to appeal to the assistant referee. In doing so, the left-back missed the run behind him of Sakho, who volleyed in past Lloris from a tight angle.

When Valencia nearly beat Lloris at his near post minutes later, West Ham were son the brink of killing off the game. But Allardyce withdrew Noble – who was nearly sent off – and replaced him with Carlton Cole, who was injured soon after, and West Ham lost some of their momentum and control. Spurs only showed up for the last 10 minutes, but it was just enough.

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