SPURS EDGE OUT HAMMERS IN CUP CLASSIC
By Stuart James
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sergei Rebrov was the hero for the visitors with a clinical brace and Gary Doherty underlined his growing reputation with the third, but they will be indebted to keeper Neil Sullivan who pulled off a string of fine saves to keep The Hammers at bay, although Stuart Pearce and Svetoslav Todorov did register for the hosts.
For Harry Redknapp's side, it was the end of a bad week and one which their supporters will no doubt want to forget. It is now three London derbies for The Iron in the last week - and three defeats.
West Ham were boosted when Stuart Pearce passed a late fitness test on his injured ankle and as expected, Nigel Winterburn, Igor Stimac, Frederic Kanoute and Michael Carrick all made welcome returns to the starting line up.
Spurs welcomed Sergei Rebrov back to their first XI, but Darren Anderton and Tim Sherwood were sidelined through injury. George Graham opted for a back three with inspirational skipper Sol Campbell lining up with Chris Perry and Gary Doherty.
Stephen Clemence moved into his more favoured central midfield role with the wing back berth's being filled by Luke Young and Ledley King.
West Ham went into the match having not scored against Spurs this season. A 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane was followed by a 0-0 draw at Upton Park, but they nearly took the lead after 10 minutes when Kanoute broke down the right.
He teased Doherty with some mesmerising ball control and when he whipped the ball across goal, Neil Sullivan almost dropped the ball into his own goal from under his crossbar.
Back came Spurs and Les Ferdinand had a sight of goal only for the irrepressible Pearce to get back and deny him a shooting chance with a superbly timed last-ditch challenge.
Lampard was then sent clear after some more good work from Di Canio, but he fired wastefully wide and Young had Shaka Hislop scurrying across his goal when he tested him from distance.
Carrick was the next to try his luck, but his dipping volley screwed just wide of Sullivan's near post and Clemence forced a good save from Hislop after being nicely teed up by Iversen.
Shortly beforehand, though, Clemence went into referee Andy D'Urso's notebook for a late lunge on Lampard and Ferdinand was lucky not to follow him when his high boot lodged itself into the side of Stimac's face soon after.
Young was then very unlucky when he got on the end of Freund's deep cross, but his header escaped the far post before rolling harmlessly out of play, but Spurs did take the lead - and in some style - soon after.
Freund's long throw failed to find the heads of Spurs' target men but before the ball could drop, Rebrov connected magnificently to smash a volley into the roof of the net. It was a wonderful goal and went some way to justifying the £11 million Spurs spent on him to make him their record buy.
Back came The Hammers in what was a true ding-dong battle, but they were often let down by a poor pass in the final third of the pitch. When they were handed a free kick outside the box, though, who else but Stuart Pearce was on hand to bring Harry Redknapp's side level.
The omens were not good for Spurs with the free kick in a similar place to the one in which he scored against Spurs at Wembley in the 1991 FA Cup Final.
Initially, The Hammers were unhappy D'Urso had given the decision as an advantage would have allowed Carrick a clear run on Sullivan's goal. But as the ball was moved slightly to give Pearce a better angle, he rammed the ball beyond the outstreched arm of Sullivan to level things up.
Lampard then had a chance to test Sullivan from another free kick, but, with an entertaining half drawing to a close, he fired wide.
The second half started as frantically as the first and Kanoute wasted a glorious chance to give West Ham the lead when he was one-on-one with Sullivan.
Carrick caught Clemence in possession and as he poked the ball through to the Frenchman, there seemed only one outcome. But amazingly, Kanoute flicked his shot horribly wide from 12 yards although Campbell did well to get back and put him under some pressure.
Gradually, The Hammers started to get on top and Cole saw his effort easily gathered by Sullivan. Carrick's drive was deflected wide after a surging run from Winterburn.
Spurs were not about to give up without a fight, though, and the North London club were only denied taking the lead by a wonderful reflex stop by Hislop from Campbell. Doherty couldn't keep his header down from a Spurs free kick and Campbell went close again after Dailly gifted them a corner.
But they did take the lead and despite the number of skillful players on view, it was pure route one.
Sullivan's long punt downfield was flicked on by Ferdinand to Rebrov and the little Ukrainian took the ball in his stride before firing under the despairing dive of Hislop.
But back came West Ham in what was becoming a true cup tie. Sullivan had to be at his best as Carrick's long range effort deflected of Dailly en route to goal, but their hopes of a trip to Cardiff were dashed when Doherty made it 3-1 with little more than an hour gone.
He was left totally unmarked to power a corner into the back of the net, but the finger of blame will be pointing at Cole who was guarding the post where Doherty scored.
With the ball travelling towards him, Cole drifted off the post and even sidestepped out of the way, only to look on in agony as it nestled in the net.
A two goal deficit was always going to prove difficult to claw back, but to their credit, West Ham never gave up. Carrick and Dailly tested Sullivan from distance, but it was substitute Todorov who set up an enthralling final 20 minutes.
Young was extremely unlucky to see his block loop across the penalty box and as it just evaded Campbell's desperate attempt to reach it, Todorov nipped in to calmly flick the ball under the onrushing Sullivan.
Redknapp decided to go for broke and committed players forward. Carrick's long range effort was blocked by Campbell with the West Ham fans pleading for handball and Sullivan got down well again to deny Cole.
Iversen tested Hislop with another effort from long range and Sullivan made another good save when Di Canio's cross shot fizzed across his goalmouth.
Kanoute was the next to test the former Wimbledon glovesman when he fired a shot from outside the box. Again, Sullivan got down well to make another excellent save with under five minutes remaining.
Kanoute then got on the end of Pearce's long ball into the box and as the ball fell to Di Canio, he saw his effort deflect of Campbell for a corner.
The resulting flag kick found the head of Todorov who was denied by another magnificent save from Sullivan and, just seconds later, West Ham's dreams of a first FA Cup final appearance since 1980 finally drew to a close.
There was to be no fairytale for the East Londoners who had already overcome Manchester United and Sunderland away from Upton Park, but for Spurs it meant a repeat of the 1991 and 1993 semi-finals and a clash with their arch enemy, Arsenal.
Click here for the Opta stats on West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur
West Ham: Hislop, Pearce S, Stimac, Dailly, Winterburn, Schemmel (Todorov 67), Lampard, Carrick, Cole, Di Canio, Kanoute
subs not used: Forrest, Song, Pearce I, Moncur
Spurs: Sullivan, Campbell, Perry, Doherty, King, Young, Clemence, Freund, Iversen, Ferdinand (Korsten 89), Rebrov
subs not used: Walker, Davies, Etherington, Gardner