West Ham 2 Tottenham 0 match report: Relieved Sam Allardyce beats Tim Sherwood in the ‘P45 derby’
Calls for Allardyce to be sacked were quietened through victory over 10-man Spurs as Younes Kaboul red sees Tim Sherwood's future looking bleak
If, as seems certain, Tim Sherwood loses his job, he must hope for a decent result in the final game at home to Aston Villa on Sunday. Yesterday’s performance at West Ham was certainly no way to go, embracing as it did all manner of humiliation, including a historic third defeat of the season by close rivals whose supporters chorused, “Tottenham Hotspur, it’s happening again”. In contention only until Younes Kaboul was sent off in the 24th minute, Spurs finished grateful to have drawn the second half.
This was all music to the ears of Sam Allardyce, whose sturdy frame could probably not have withstood the blow of a fifth successive defeat, quite possibly to be followed by a sixth at Manchester City on Sunday. The object of much abuse by those same fans during that run, he should now find that finishing comfortably in mid-table after winning promotion and then achieving 10th place last season earns him more time in the job.
He was happy enough to join the players’ lap of appreciation afterwards in front of an admittedly thin audience and said later: “It’s a fantastic day for us, a great performance to send the fans home happy. They’re a great bunch of fans, they know what they want and if they don’t see what they want, they tell you.”
Sherwood, who was surprisingly upbeat, said: “I’m not too displeased with the performance. The game changed on the red card. No complaints about it but before that we were comfortable. When we go down to 10 men and they score a minute afterwards, we’ve got a mountain to climb.” They never looked like reaching first base.
The home crowd could easily have been on edge, however, after seven defeats in nine games and exchanges on the pitch were even until the crucial moment. Danny Rose, the left-back, was poorly positioned as a diagonal ball sent Stewart Downing haring away from him. Kaboul clearly fouled him just outside the penalty area and referee Phil Dowd sort advice from his assistant before confirming that Rose and Michael Dawson were not in position to negate a clear scoring opportunity.
Andy Carroll (below) hit a fearsome shot from the free-kick that the outstanding Hugo Lloris turned over the bar and, from the resulting corner, Carroll’s header was diverted in by an unfortunate Harry Kane.
Carroll, who is still hopeful of making England’s World Cup squad, went on to cause familiar problems in the air, controlled nods setting up Matt Taylor and Kevin Nolan, each of whom were thwarted by fine saves from Lloris. The goalkeeper was, nevertheless, beaten again before half-time and had reason to curse Paulinho and Emmanuel Adebayor, each of whom turned sideways in a defensive wall apparently constructed without cement. Downing’s low shot flew through it and there was no way back after that.
The second half therefore lacked tension and interest, Lloris preventing further damage and Tottenham being denied any consolation near the end when Taylor escaped with handling in the penalty area and Adrian saved well from Rose.
A game billed as the “P45 derby” therefore ended with only one of the managers likely to receive his cards. But, like his predecessor Andre Villas-Boas, he has suffered heavy defeats by the top three clubs as well as losing to Arsenal, emphasising the gap Tottenham still have to bridge, whoever is in charge next season.
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Adrian; Demel, Tomkins, Reid, McCartney; Noble, Taylor; Downing, Nolan (Jarvis, 87), Diamé; Carroll (C Cole, 83).
Tottenham (4-4-2): Lloris; Naughton, Dawson, Kaboul, Rose; Lennon, Paulinho (Sandro, 65), Sigurdsson (Soldado, 65), Eriksen; Adebayor, Kane (Chiriches, 27).
Referee: Phil Dowd.
Man of the match: Lloris (Tottenham)
Match rating: 6/10
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