West Ham burst Tim Sherwood’s big-night bubble

Managerless Tottenham exit League Cup as Hammers come from behind to claim a second successive win at White Hart Lane

West Ham’s Modibo Maiga heads home the winner in last night’s game at White Hart Lane.

West Ham’s Modibo Maiga heads home the winner in last night’s game at White Hart Lane.

Wed, Dec 18, 2013, 23:00

Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Adebayor 67), West Ham United 2 (Jarvis 80, Maiga 85)

West Ham United had emphatically not read the script. This was supposed to be Tim Sherwood’s big night; the first time that he had managed in the professional game and, also, the first steps towards redemption for Emmanuel Adebayor.

Sherwood picked Adebayor and he watched him put Tottenham en route to victory in this quarter-final with a stunning right-footed volley. When he was substituted in the 78th minute, he departed to a standing ovation.

Yet that was merely the prompt for West Ham to belatedly and spectacularly enter the game as an attacking force. And, after a few nibbles, they found a cutting edge to enjoy another victory at this stadium. Their supporters revelled in the Premier League win here a couple of months ago, which set in motion the unravelling of Andre Villas-Boas’ managerial tenure but this actually topped it.

It was glorious because it had been so unexpected until the closing stages. But after Matt Jarvis had slammed home from Matt Taylor’s pass, the substitute Modibo Maiga leapt majestically to guide home a header that brought further gloom to White Hart Lane. Maiga last scored on December 1st of last year. Tottenham departed to the familiar chorus of boos.

First selection
It was impossible not to see Sherwood’s first selection as the Tottenham manager as a reaction to what had gone before. There had been plenty of tut-tutting about Villas-Boas’ refusal to play with two strikers, from all areas of the club, and so Sherwood did not mess about. He went for 4-4-2, the footballing equivalent of meat and two veg.

Sherwood had gone for the tracksuit-and-trainers look and it quickly became apparent that he would not be the silent touchline type. He could barely believe that his team could not turn their early purple patch into a goal and he showed it. When Jermain Defoe dragged wide of the post from close range in the second minute, he jumped and he screamed.

Created the chance
Aaron Lennon had created the chance with a low cross, having beaten Razvan Rat for pace, and the winger was a threat. Andros Townsend fizzed a low shot wide from distance and, from a Lennon cross, Joey O’Brien suffered a meltdown and almost headed into his own net. The ball flew just past the post. Adebayor also had an effort saved by Adrian. All this in the first 10 minutes.

West Ham had started with one striker in Carlton Cole. After Tottenham’s whirlwind start, they gained a foothold and began to frustrate their hosts. The first half descended into a bit of grind. Sherwood and Sam Allardyce swore at the fourth official.

West Ham’s first effort on target came in the 35th minute and it was a tame one from Carlton Cole while Adebayor blazed over the crossbar under pressure from James Collins, but he was driving to get into dangerous areas.

Trying too hard
Adebayor was on the brink of trying too hard at times. But as Tottenham groped rather in the second half, Adebayor found a way to make the difference and send Sherwood into a frenzy of high-knee jumping excitement.

Townsend bobbed and weaved before releasing Defoe down the left and his cross sought Adebayor. There remained plenty to do but his technique and body-shape was perfect. The right-footed connection was pure.

West Ham, however, roused themselves. The substitute Mo Diame and Taylor forced Hugo Lloris into very smart saves before Jarvis stuck the first pin into Sherwood’s bubble.

It was route-one stuff, Maiga flicking on from a high ball and Taylor supplying Jarvis. But West Ham and Maiga had not finished, and his header from Diame’s cross was a beauty.

TOTTENHAM: Lloris, Walker, Capoue, Chiriches, Rose (Fryers 62), Lennon, Dembele, Sigurdsson, Townsend (Chadli 73), Adebayor (Holtby 78), Defoe. Subs not used: Soldado, Eriksen, Friedel, Fredericks. Booked: Adebayor.
WEST HAM UTD: Adrian, O’Brien, Collins, McCartney, Rat, Collison, Diarra (Morrison 79), Taylor, Joe Cole (Diame 70), Carlton Cole (Maiga 65), Jarvis. Subs not used: Noble, Demel, Jaaskelainen, Chambers. Booked: Diarra. Attendance: 34,080.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire).
Guardian Service