Tottenham Hotspur 2 West Ham United 2
Only Alex Song knew what he was thinking about and, as he lay on his back, staring up at the heavens from his own penalty area, the West Ham United midfielder had a moment to ask himself the question.
Harry Kane did not look to be in an overly threatening position because Aaron Cresswell, the West Ham full-back, was in a covering position but Song felt the red mist descend. He pushed Kane, the contact was clear and the referee, Jon Moss, was compelled to give the penalty.
Kane saw Adrián read his intentions from the spot and produce a dramatic save but the rebound fell kindly to him and the Tottenham striker gobbled up his 24th goal of the season. It was the last kick of a pulsating derby and if Kane and everybody connected to Tottenham felt relief, there was only sickness for West Ham, who had been 2-0 up and coasting with only nine minutes to go.
West Ham had arrived at White Hart Lane in sticky form and on the back of an FA Cup hiding at West Bromwich Albion. Moreover, the future of the manager, Sam Allardyce, continued to represent an unwelcome distraction. Out of contract in the summer, the club's owners have no plans, at present, to even discuss a renewal with him.
But for so long, it appeared that he and the travelling fans were primed to celebrate another victory at this stadium – to go with the two from last season, in the Premier League and Capital One Cup. They had taken charge upon Cheikhou Kouyaté's first-half header and when Diafra Sakho got the second on 62 minutes, the die seemed to be cast. Tottenham had Hugo Lloris to thank for keeping the scoreline at 2-0.
Yet Danny Rose’s goal sparked Tottenham’s fight-back and although this was not the result that Tottenham wanted in the race for a top-four finish – and to capitalise on Manchester United’s loss at Swansea City on Saturday – they were certainly happy to take it.
West Ham hate Tottenham; Tottenham are not too fond of West Ham and there was an intensity about this derby, which the midday start did nothing to dilute. When Kyle Walker and Cresswell crashed into a shuddering 50-50 challenge in the early going, it seemed to catch the mood.
Spicy challenges dotted the contest while the lack of time on the ball led to errors, mainly from Tottenham. Mousa Dembélé was the biggest fall-guy in the first-half because when he dwelled and lost possession in the Tottenham defensive third, West Ham exacted full punishment.
They worked the ball smartly to Cresswell and his cross was made to measure for the on-rushing Kouyaté, who timed his leap between Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen before thumping his header past Lloris.
Dembélé endured something of a personal nightmare and he felt the crowd on his back as he repeatedly squandered the ball. It was no surprise that he did not reappear for the second-half. He was replaced by Christian Eriksen, who had been the surprise omission from the starting XI.
Tottenham had begun as the brighter of the teams and they went close to taking the lead. Nabil Bentaleb worked Adrián from distance while Kane charged onto Rose's long ball, as James Tomkins hesitated, and guided a shot against the outside of the post.
Kouyaté’s goal settled West Ham while it unnerved Tottenham. Dembélé was not the only player in a white shirt whose passing sights were awry and the home crowd could not help but show their frustration.
Sakho had nipped past Dier to squeeze in a close-range header, which Lloris blocked while Enner Valencia had an effort snuffed out by Lloris on 29 minutes and Mark Noble saw Walker block his volley. Tottenham could point to the moment on 26 minutes when Rose raced onto Kane's chipped pass, got there before Adrián and headed narrowly over the crossbar but the home team had to be better in the second-half.
It was West Ham, though, who grew inexorably and they advertised the second goal early in the second-half before they scored it. Noble put Sakho clean though only for Lloris to save but, shortly afterwards, with Tottenham’s defence again in disarray, Noble crossed from the left and Sakho volleyed home from the tightest of angles at the far post. Valencia had been in an offside position in front of goal but he was deemed not to have interfered with play.
West Ham had a let-off when Noble, who had already been booked for a shirt tug on Andros Townsend, lunged in to catch Bentaleb on the ankle. Moss spared him a second yellow card. But Tottenham had a bigger let-off when Winston Reid headed square for Valencia and, from point-blank range, he was thwarted by Lloris.
There had been no hint of the grandstand finish but Tottenham fired it with a goal out of nothing. Adrián’s clearing punch following a short Tottenham corner did not have enough on it and when Rose shot down into the ground, he watched the ball rear up and loop into the corner of the net.
At a stroke, the stadium was transformed and Tottenham pressed. The substitute, Roberto Soldado, thought that he had found the equaliser on 83 minutes only for Adrián to save at full stretch but, when it looked as if time had run out and some Tottenham fans had started to leave, Song suffered his mad moment.