|match review copied from |
West Ham 2 Tottenham 1 By Martin Lipton, PA Sport
Eyal Berkovic marked his Upton Park debut with the winner that piled the
summer heat on beleaguered Gerry Francis.
Israeli ace Berkovic had not made any secret of his wish to play for Tottenham
after his season at Southampton.
But instead he moved to East and not North London, and tonight his 70th-minute
goal, after he had gone past Ramon Vega, proved decisive.
Harry Redknapp's side had been sent on course for their best start in 11
seasons when John Hartson capitalised on shocking defensive work to claim his
first of the season.
And even though Les Ferdinand opened his White Hart Lane account after his
£6million move from Newcastle with a close-range strike late-on Spurs knew they
Indeed Francis must be fearing the worst after another horror show from his
team, made more worrying by a knee injury for Sol Campbell.
The Spurs boss claimed he would not be deflected after Sunday's opening defeat
by Manchester United.
But there could be no excuses tonight as a side containing five players who
have cost him £22million in 1997 alone folded in abject fashion.
Outclassed and outfought, Spurs were literally never at the races, as Harry
Redknapp's side showed the commitment and desire sadly lacking in Francis'
The writing was on the wall inside 15 minutes, by which time sorry Spurs were
already a goal and a key player down.
In fact, it took barely three minutes for their frailties to become apparent,
with Steve Carr gifting the ball to Stan Lazaradis and then never getting near
the Aussie as he tracked down the left.
Lazaridis crossed low and there was Hartson, who had opened his Hammers
account against Spurs in February, to bounce a side-footer down and into the net
from eight yards.
That was bad, but there was worse to come. Tottenham were ragged, shapeless,
artless and, Steffen Iversen aside, often hopeless. Campbell's exit, following a
clash with Paul Kitson, did not help their cause.
Steve Clemence came on, with John Scales dropping into the back line after
starting as a man-marker on Berkovic.
But without Ian Walker, who made point-blank stops to deny Hartson and then
Kitson, it would have been all over long before the interval.
David Ginola was peripheral at best, with Ferdinand totally overshadowed by
teenage cousin Rio, and panic was the order of the day, especially when Berkovic
was allowed the time to fire a whisker wide.
Norwegian Iversen had at least caused the odd concern at the other end, but
Ludek Miklosko was only really tested in the closing minutes of the period, a
diving one-handed stop from Allan Nielsen followed by a block at Ferdinand's
Ginola was more visible after the break, and Marc Rieper had to block Nielsen
as the Dane steamed in, but the Hammers still looked the better side.
One Berkovic-inspired move ended with Hartson's diving header flashing over
the angle, before the tensions of the night boiled over just before the hour.
Carr clashed with Berkovic and John Moncur and a free-for-all ensued, referee
Steve Lodge consulting twice with his linesman before deeming Iversen and Steve
Lomas the guilty men. The FA may well be studying the video.
Within 10 minutes, however, it seemed over as a contest. Spurs had survived
one more scare when Kitson headed over from a matter of yards, but it was
delaying the inevitable, which came in the 70th minute.
Lazaridis slid through to Berkovic and Vega completed a miserable week after
his Sunday own goal by allowing the little Israeli past him.
Vega appealed for hands, perhaps he had a case, but Berkovic did not care, as
he poked beyond Walker for his first goal in claret and blue since his
£1.75million move from The Dell.
Ferdinand then took advantage of good work by substitute Andy Sinton to give
Spurs undeserved hope, and, in a frantic finish, Frank Lampard smashed against
the Spurs bar and Vega forced a great stop from Miklosko.
But Spurs could have no complaints, West Ham had what they were worth.
West Ham: Miklosko, Breacker, Potts, Rieper, Kitson (Hughes 88),
Hartson (Dowie 86), Lomas, Ferdinand, Moncur (Lampard 85),
Subs Not Used: Rowland, Sealey.
Goals: Berkovic 70, Hartson 4.
Tottenham: Walker, Edinburgh, Howells, Nielsen (Sinton 77),
Ferdinand, Carr, Ginola, Vega, Scales, Iversen,
Campbell (Clemence 16).
Subs Not Used: Calderwood, Baardsen, Fenn.
Booked: Clemence, Iversen.
Goals: Ferdinand 83.
Ref: S J Lodge (Barnsley).