Spurs frustrated by Hammers
Spurs failed to put more pressure on the top four as they failed to break down a resilient West Ham.
By Hayley Paterson
Last Updated: 19/03/11 3:36pm
Tottenham failed to put more pressure on the top four as they failed to break down a resilient West Ham side in a goalless stalemate.
Despite dominating possession at White Hart Lane, the home side could not force the opener with Jermain Defoe unable to net a host of superb opportunities against his old club as he remains just one goal shy of his 100th for Spurs.
Michael Dawson and Aaron Lennon both rattled the Hammers' woodwork in the first-half and Defoe was guilty of a failure to convert when Gareth Bale, who was making his first start in two months, cut back his drilled cross into the box.
Carlton Cole had the best chance of the half for the visitors when he latched on to a perfectly-weighted through ball from Demba Ba but shot straight into the arms of Heurelho Gomes.
Cole had more chances in the second-half along with Ba forcing Gomes into a superb save, however Avram Grant's men came away from the lunchtime London derby sharing the spoils.
Harry Redknapp had several players back into the Spurs fold as William Gallas was deemed fit enough to partner Michael Dawson in the heart of the defence. Bale and Defoe were both brought in as the hosts looked to continue their pursuit of fourth place.
Grant switched Lars Jacobsen in for James Tomkins to fill the right-back void for the Hammers who needed just a point to be out of the relegation zone in the lunchtime kick-off.
Bale was straight into the action down the left as the Welshman won his side a free-kick in a dangerous position with three minutes played.
He was then ordered to leave the field by referee Mike Dean to change his cycling shorts.
An effort cannoned off the bar from an unlikely source when Dawson curled an effort on the edge of the 18 yard box which had Robert Green beaten.
Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart continued their dominance in the midfield as Spurs had the lion's share of the possession, however failed on several occasions to make it count.
Bale was at the heart of another attack but Defoe's stab failed to trouble Green as his poke was sent beyond the far-post.
Cole then broke free of William Gallas and Dawson failed to connect well with Thomas Hitzlsperger's lofted ball into the box and shinned his volley over the bar.
Modric let fly in the 16th minute when the Croatian turned away brilliantly from his marker, before driving his shot over the bar.
Spurs again lacked that clinical edge in front of goal as van der Vaart drilled his daisy-cutter wide three minutes later.
Cole had the chance of the half to put West Ham in front when he found himself one-on-one with Gomes but slotted his effort straight down the Brazilian's throat.
Modric dragged another effort wide of Green's far-post as United hung on at times. Lennon saw his strike come back off the post in the 39th minute after cutting in from the left and Defoe choked under the pressure as he side-footed the rebound wide with the goal gaping.
Scott Parker went into the book for a late lunge on van der Vaart before the half-time whistle, signalling West Ham's frustration about not retaining possession.
Grant's men however started the brighter of the two in the second-half when Cole brought a good save from Gomes.
Man of the match
Defoe's tally of missed chances increased as the 28-year-old was denied by Green who was putting in a man of the match shift.
West Ham continued to close the door on Spurs, who were at times guilty of over-playing, and Mark Noble saw an audacious overhead kick sail past the post in the 56th minute.
Brazilian midfielder Sandro looked to have done severe damage to his leg after getting in a tangle with Cole and twisting awkwardly just seconds after the Noble chance. However the 21-year-old played on after treatment on the pitch and the United forward was booked for his troubles.
Ba then forced a great save from Gomes who dived to his left to deny the Frenchman in the 65th minute.
West Ham's number one produced the save of the game with four minutes to spare as he tipped Bale's curling free-kick on to the bar and the away side cleared.
It was not Defoe's day as the nippy forward broke free a few more times in the dying minutes however his efforts looked desperate as West Ham hung on.
Roman Pavlychenko came on late to replace Dutchman van der Vaart and forced Green to make another couple of strong saves as both sides shared the points as West Ham crawled out of the drop-zone for the time being.