Last gasp Spurs strike again as Hammers pay penalty
Tottenham showed more of their comeback spirit as Harry Kane stole a home point from a spirited West Ham United by following in a save penalty deep into stoppage time. Mauricio Pochettino is now 4/1 to steer Spurs to a top four finish.
A lively London derby saw these European hopefuls share the spoils, with Sam Allardyce’s side surrendering a 2-0 lead. That came courtesy of a powerful first-half header from Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho’s back post finish after the break.
It could have been a different story, though, with Hammers stopper Adrian acrobatically keeping out Nabil Bentaleb’s long-range effort early on. Kane also hit the post with a flicked shot when he go between the returning Winston Reid and James Tomkins.
West Ham weathered this initial pressure from the hosts, however, and began to control midfield. It was from their engine room that Kouyate broke with a quarter of the game gone to pop up and nod past Hugo Lloris, shaky by his high standards here, from Aaron Cresswell’s inviting cross.
Senegal’s Kouyate, an Allardyce summer signing, had recently been deputising in defence, but proved a pivotal player further forward in a more natural deep-lying midfield role, taking it in turns with Alex Song to get forward.
Danny Rose headed onto the roof of the net after good work by Kane, but Spurs went in behind. Pochettino’s decision to start playmaker Christian Eriksen from the bench proved unwise as the Denmark international came on at half time.
Lloris put his earlier malaise and shakiness at balls into his box behind him by denying Sakho, but after an hour the Senegal striker doubled the Hammers’ lead. He converted a Mark Noble cross at the back post, but Tottenham fans will point to Enner Valencia being offside in the centre.
Visiting skipper Noble was then lucky to avoid a second yellow card as he clashed with Jan Vertonghen. Lloris kept another Valencia effort out before Kane had a goal ruled out for offside. Replays showed it was a good decision when reacting to Erik Lamela’s deflected effort.
Adrian then got a plunging palm on Eriksen’s free-kick, but then flapped at a cross which Rose turned in with 10 minutes of the 90 remaining. The Spanish stopper then redeemed himself by denying Tottenham sub Roberto Soldado.
It looked like West Ham would hold, but referee Jon Moss pointed to the spot at the death when Song was adjudged to have clattered into Kane. Although Adrian saved the penalty, the England call-up hopeful reacted first to the rebound.
This was rough luck on Big Sam, who certainly got the response he wanted after a 4-0 FA Cup exit at West Bromwich Albion last time out. He is out of contract at Upton Park this summer, but that is an issue which “doesn’t faze” the Hammers, according to defender James Tomkins.
Allardyce remains well on course to achieve the brief of a top 10 finish set for him by West Ham’s hierarchy at the start of the season, with the east London outfit 11/1 to get a European place. Spurs, meanwhile, should consider themselves fortunate to have snatched a home point as the race for continental competitions continues.