Tottenham Hotspur falls to West Ham

Spurs suffer a 1-0 defeat, their first road loss of the EPL season

Gareth Bale vs. West Ham

Photo Credit: 
Ian Walton / Getty

Frederic Piquionne's first half goal proved the difference as we fell to our first away defeat of the Premier League season against West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday.

Robert Green was called upon to make some superb saves but unfortunately the goalkeeper was probably not worked enough in the second half as the home side retreated and crowded out most forward moves.

Only Sebastien Bassong was named in the starting XI from the team that suffered Carling Cup defeat on Tuesday and Harry Redknapp opted for an attacking line-up that featured a return for Luka Modric after the injury he sustained at West Brom.

Vedran Corluka played in a slightly unfamiliar central defensive role and was defeated in the air in the opening moments by Piquionne, which led to Victor Obinna shooting tamely wide.

Rafael van der Vaart had a free-kick deflected wide after a crude challenge on him by Mark Noble - Kieron Dyer shooting wide at the other end via a deflection off Jermaine Jenas.

Dyer was looking a clear threat for the home side and central to their offensive intentions, while Luis Boa Morte was creating a threat down the left hand side, while also preventing Alan Hutton from surging forward.

Green made a smart one-handed stop to deny a Jenas effort from distance, the midfielder doing well to get his shot out of a crowd. After a spell of West Ham pressure, van der Vaart forced Green into another flying save to his left, moments later firing in a bouncing drive that had Green diving the other way but grasping thin air as the ball flew narrowly wide.

With 28 minutes on the clock the home side took the lead when Noble's corner was met by the head of Piquionne, who was able to glance his header into the top corner. Lars Jacobsen attempted to double the advantage with his shot flying just wide of Carlo Cudicini's left-hand upright.

A last-gasp challenge by Corluka prevented a likely second, this time from Scott Parker, as West Ham continued to apply pressure.

Modric came so close to levelling when his shot was tipped onto the underside of the crossbar by Green from an Aaron Lennon's cross.

Hutton and van der Vaart then combined to set up Crouch at the far post and only a desperate late lunge from Jacobsen prevented a leveller.

A neat passage of play resulted in Tom Huddlestone taking aim and firing at the beginning of the second half, only for his shot to hit Crouch and divert over, the performance at this point was lacking fluency and a little bit of punch.

Huddlestone should have levelled when put clean through by Hutton.

With Crouch waiting in the middle unmarked, he skipped around Green before the ball came off his shins and flew over, with Crouch aghast.

Jenas and van der Vaart both had shots blocked as the team sought to increase the tempo. Robbie Keane was introduced in place of Lennon, just after Cudicini made a vital stop to deny Obinna.

Cudicini later made a vital and spectacular save to tip away a Noble drive before Giovani dos Santos was called on to replace van der Vaart. There was then an almighty goulmouth scramble during which West Ham somehow didn't score and then Roman Pavlyuchenko was the last card Harry had left to play, on for Crouch.

Giovani, Keane and Pavlyuchenko were operating as a three up front but didn't have much effect as the clock ticked towards 90. Three minutes stoppage time passed but Green remained untroubled and West Ham registered their first league win of the season.

Spurs: Cudicini; Hutton, Bassong, Corluka, Bale; Modric, Jenas, Huddlestone, Lennon (Keane, 66); Van der Vaart (Giovani, 78); Crouch (Pavlyuchenko, 80). Unused: Pletikosa, Kranjcar, Sandro, Palacios.

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