Looking Forward



FA Cup 6th Round

Sunday 11th March 2001

So, we return to Upton Park just five weeks after the League game there.  And will we expect more of the same ...  ??  I think so.

With the defence reasonably sound against us in the League game, we can expect Winterburn and "Sicko" Pearce to line up on the flanks with Song and Dailly in the middle.  The age of the back four should give Spurs hope, if they can keep the ball on the floor to give them a bit of a runaround, but this would mean Spurs passing it accurately to our own players.  Other options lie with Ian Pearce, the Norwegian Soma,  Stimac and maybe, depending on whether they can keep him on loan, Tihinen, who looked a decent enough central defender in the recent match, who could make a start.  Behind them the reliable Hislop is a good shot stopper, but for a keeper of his height, you would expect him to be better in the air.

In midfield we have facing us the great hopes of the England of the future.  Cole, Carrick and Lampard.  Cole is loved by the West Ham faithful and Carrick has come in for some praise as a hard working box to box type, while Lampard is the one who gets all the stick because his Dad is the coach.  Lomas is out injured as is Sinclair, so the other option in midfield is Schemmel, on loan from Metz, but usually a defender. 

Kanoute and Di Canio will have miraculously recovered from the injuries that kept them out of the Arsenal game to be paired up front, with Titi Camara or the young Bulgarian Todorov ready to step in from the bench.  Suker is still with the Irons and played against Arsenal, but I don't expect him to be selected for this match as the other forwards have effectively shut him out of the first team picture unless Harry "Hangdog" Redknapp is down to the very "bare bones".  I am afraid that the Hammers manager is rapidly becoming the Premier League's answer to Barry Fry as he wheels and deals bringing in players on loan, on trial or on a wing and a prayer.  Having had so many bad experiences with foreign players (Boogers, Radacoiou, Dumitrescu), I am surprised he ventures much further north than the Watford Gap, but he has brought in some players who will obviously pad out his squad to make it look sufficient.

The shape of the side means that they can provide a good basis for the skills of Cole and Di Canio, with the potency of Kanoute given full rein.  Sometimes their liking for fancy footwork is their undoing, but away wins at Sunderland and Manchester United in this competition is good form.  Now drawn at home, they will have the pressure of repeating it in front of their own fans.  As in the League game, it was a case of being disappointing after the win at Old Trafford and having lost 0-3 at Arsenal on Saturday and a London derby against Chelsea on Wednesday, you can expect to hear lots of moans from "hangdog" about fixture congestion.  That and the fact that there will be another game now, because ...

PREDICTION : -  West Ham United  0   Tottenham   0

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.



West Ham United  2   Tottenham  3  -  Sunday 11th March 2001  
                                                                      FA Cup 6th Round

Weather : -  Rainy
Crowd : -  26,048
Referee : -  Andy D'Urso (Billericay)
Scorers : - West Ham United -  Pearce 42, Todorov 71
                     Tottenham  -  Rebrov 30, 56, Doherty 61

West Ham United : Hislop, Winterburn, Stuart Pearce, Stimac, Dailly, Schemmel (Todorov 67), Lampard, Cole, Carrick, Di Canio, Kanoute.
Subs not used : Forrest, Ian Pearce, Song, Moncur.

Tottenham : Sullivan, Young, Campbell, Perry, Freund, Clemence, King, Doherty, Ferdinand (Korsten 89), Iversen, Rebrov.
Subs not used : Walker, Gardner, Etherington, Davies.

Spurs are on their way to Cardiff, Tottenham’s goner do it again. Bring on the Gooners !

This was an absolutely magnificent win. It was a match with all the tension, pride and passion you would expect from a London derby in the quarter final of the FA Cup. For West Ham quite simply the bubble was burst. Burst by a resolute Tottenham team who to the very last man played superbly. Iversen was back after a long lay off through injury. Sherwood was out but Perry and Rebrov also returned.

There was some tremendous vocal support from the travelling fans and the match kicked off in an electric atmosphere. Tottenham immediately nullified the threat of the young, talented West Ham midfield. Spurs have talented youngsters of their own and in the middle of the park Ledley King, Luke Young and Stephen Clemence were outstanding, ably supported by the old war-horse Steffen Freund. The first real chance fell to Les Ferdinand who was put through by Rebrov. Stuart Pearce made a last ditch challenge to deny the Spurs striker. Both sides then had chances with the two teams looking evenly matched. It was Spurs who emerged the stronger and more likely to score. Young hit the outside of the post with a header under pressure. In the 31st minute Freund took a long throw from the left. Attention was focused on the Spurs big men. The throw eluded them all and found Rebrov who had slipped his marker Cole. Sergei hit a sweet first time volley into the roof of the net to send the Tottenham fans wild. It looked as if Spurs would go in at half time in the lead but West Ham won a free kick just outside the area. It was in a similar position to the one Pearce scored for Forest at Wembley in 1991. He scored again after swerving an unstoppable shot round the advancing Freund and just past Sullivan.

All square at half time then.

Early in the second half Clemence gave the ball away in his own half, but Kanoute skewed wide when he should have hit the target. Back down the other end and Campbell saw a snap shot from a corner pushed round the post by Hislop. Then in the 57th minute came a magic moment. Sir Les rose like only Sir Les can. He hung in the air and flicked the ball on to Rebrov. With the keeper bearing down on him Sergei slipped the ball between his legs and into the net. Better was to follow four minutes later when a Rebrov corner found Doherty unmarked at the far post. His header eluded Cole on the line and the outstretched fingers of Hislop. Spurs were three one up away from home! Just to keep the tension going Luke Young then made an error diverting a ball into the path of Todorov (WHO!).  He scored to set up a barnstorming finish. The Tottenham boys defended solidly and Sullivan made a string of fine saves in particular an effort from Kanoute which he pushed round the post. In the final 10 minutes Sullivan made enough great saves to earn the man of the match award with an outstanding performance. Somehow Spurs managed to accumulate four yellow cards and West Ham none. That was from the infamous Andy D’Urso, the referee who must have a special pact with Stuart Pearce. I counted at least five fouls which Pearce committed which the referee awarded.  That, together with the numerous others which the referee did not see, could be interpreted as persistent misconduct. The TV cameras clearly caught Pearce whacking Doherty round the head in the first half.

This was a pulsating cup-tie and you could see how much this win meant to Sol and his boys from the way they celebrated at the end of the match. A richly deserved victory and a place in the semi-finals against the enemy from down the Seven Sisters road. Bring on the Gooners 'cos Spurs are on their way to Cardiff, Tottenham’s goner do it again.


Eric the Viking


Here Comes The Ukrainian Again


You've got to hand it to Joe Cole.  Well, he did hand it to us didn't he ??  The young white hope of English football was shown a lesson that he will have to learn to live with and although Spurs' young midfielders might not have show as many tricks and flicks, they did enough work to put the Irons counterparts in the shade.  It was a tactical move that paid off for George Graham and full marks to him for it.  Harry Redknapp's muddled thinking of dropping his top stars for the preceding league games blew up in his face as they were either injured or not up to the competitiveness of the quarter final.

The atmosphere was evident from the Sky TV coverage and the Spurs contingent in the South Bank made themselves heard as the game kicked off.  Spurs started brightly, a tactic that I always think sets the other side off on the back foot.  The shots rained in like the ... er ... rain that rained on Upton Park.  Les forced Hislop full length and had another effort blocked by Stuart Pearce.  Luke Young hit the post with a header and had another shot go wide, while Rebrov fired over and Clemence latched onto a clever ball over the defence to hit a volley that was pushed around the post.  At the other end, Sullivan had to collect a few wide shots off the advertising hoardings and one weak strike from Kanoute, but he did have rather more trouble with the linesman, picking up a yellow card for abusing him.  Clemence followed him for a challenge on Lampost while a number of West Ham "tackles" went unpunished.  Les did escape a booking when he kicked Stimac in the head too.

It was just after the half hour that Sergei wandered into the box and away from Cole to hit a sweet volley past Hislop from Freund's ling throw.  Is this the first time we have scored form one of the German's howitzers ??  Things were going well and when the Irons got back into it just before half time, it was against the run of play.  The nearest they had come was when Doherty deflected a right wing cross and Sully had to grab it a bit too close to his line for my liking.  However, a rash tackle by Perry on Kanoute saw the referee blow up as Carrick ran onto the loose ball in the centre of the box.  There was no advantage, but Spurs still ended up paying for it when Pearce curled it around the on-rushing Freund and past Sullivan.  The "Psycho" was the one player Redknapp was desperate to get to play and his intimidation was to be a major key in their performance, or so they thought.

The break came at the right time for Spurs as West Ham pressed home their momentum and just after the break Kanoute had the opportunity to continue their attacking as a mistake by Clem left him free down the middle.  However, with Campbell trailing, he hit his shot a long way wide.  It was the wake up call Spurs needed.  Despite Sullivan having to make a few saves from Cole and a header from a corner, there was action at the other end as Sol forced a save from a long shot.   Spurs took the initiative and went on Route One to take the lead.  In the increasingly wet conditions, Sully's clearance slid off Les' head and onto Rebrov's boot.  He killed the ball and in a swift movement swept it under Hislop to restore Tottenham's lead.  Soon after it was three with Sergei turning provider, as Spurs capitalised on a set-piece.  His corner was headed in unopposed at the far post by Gary Doherty, who specialist subject could well be "headed goals in East London FA Cup ties" !!

The home side were looking at the end of their season and put all the fight you would expect from West Ham into the remaining half hour.  It was gritty defending as Spurs relied on breakaways for any more from the game.  Luke Young blazed over and long shots from Iversen and King made Hislop save, but the plaudits were going to the keeper at the other end.  Sullivan made very good saves on a wet surface from shots from Cole and Lampard and a header from Todorov.  The best was from Kanoute, whose low shot gathered pace off the turf and Sullivan got enough of a hand on it to deflect it away from goal.  This was in a period of the game when West Ham were pressing for an equaliser following their second goal.  It was unfortunate for Luke Young, who had played a major part in tying up Schemmel and helping Spurs going forward.  He anticipated a pass out to the right, but the ball ricocheted off his heel into the box and the path of Todorov, who slipped it in to narrow the lead.  The Spurs players all ran their hearts out, even Korsten, who I swear I saw sprint back to close down a Hammers player !!  All of the team deserve all the praise going.

However, Spurs hung on despite West Ham being the neutrals favourites after beating Manchester United and to keep a number of omens alive.  Winning in London means it is like 1981, when Spurs only left the capital once in winning the competition; being drawn against Arsenal in 1991 in the semi and Pearce scoring from an identical free kick to that in the 1991 FA Cup final.  We should have known the moment it went in that the writing was on the wall for Psycho and his team-mates. 



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