A dazzling winger, roaring support and a fast tempo game all created the perfect London derby as West Ham took on Tottenham Hotspur at Upton Park.
West Ham were pre-warned about Tottenham winger Gareth Bale’s abilities as his goals both in England and in Europe took the Spurs even further into orbit as the North London club pile pressure on their fierce rivals Arsenal as the push on for a top three finish in the Barclays premier League.
West Ham, as always had a roaring support as their fans paid beautiful tribute to the late, great Bobby Moore who died 20 years ago. Moore had been, and still is an iconic figure at Upton Park as he portrayed what is known as a legend. Unfortunately he passed at the age of 51 due to bowel cancer, and the West Ham side were looking for a derby win to mark this memorable date in English football.
All three of Moore’s grandchildren lead the teams out as a fierce London derby awaited on the artificially lighted pitch under the London night’s sky. Bubbles were blowing everywhere as chants burst from each and every stand.
With West Ham midfielder Mark Noble out due to a neck injury, Gary O’Neil was called up at last minute to take his spot, whilst England striker Andy Carroll led the line. Carroll had scored in the reverse fixture earlier this season. Meanwhile Tottenham started former West Ham man Scott Parker who returned to Upton Park for the first time since his departure to their rivals last season.
The first real chance came in the opening stages of the game after a Kevin Nolan pass reached Joe Cole, and with little pace left he was subjected to a through ball to winger Matt Jarvis, and although the ball went further to the left, the English winger latched onto the ball before skipping past Michael Dawson and unleashing a weak right footed shot into the palms of Hugo Lloris.  The chance came after a quick break away following a failed Tottenham attack.
A steady Tottenham build up lead to a mistake from Hammer’s right back Guy Demel who laid the ball straight into blistering Gareth Bale’s path, and it was a matter of time before the Welsh winger opened the scoring as he struck the ball from the edge of the area and the ball found the net. Goalkeeper Jaaskelainen was unfortunate in this goal as the shot was just beyond his reach. The West ham equaliser came minutes before half time during a blunder full West Ham attack that saw captain Kevin Nolan stand on the ball instead of striking a first time shot. Nolan pulled the ball backwards to best friend Carroll in a crowded Tottenham area, and as former Hammer parker slid in to block a   shot; Carroll cleverly chipped the ball over his incoming feet paving the way for a mid-tackle Parker to take him out in the box, leading to a straight penalty from Howard Webb. Although being booed from the West Ham fans, they were very grateful for the failed tackle. With usual spot kick taker Noble out with an injury, it was up to Carroll to convert, as he did with a slick, powerful and accurate finish into the top left hand corner of the goal, sending Lloris the other way. That was Carroll’s second goal of the season against Tottenham, and his third this season for the Hammer’s.
Tottenham centre back Caulker was next to his the stage as his jump defied the laws of gravity as he latched onto a pitch perfect Gareth Bale header before sending a bullet header West Ham’s way, destined for the goal, the ball was stopped superbly by Finnish keeper Jaaskelainen who palmed it away with his left hand. Caulker continued to do this for the remainder of the game.Spurs were set to break the deadlock early in the second half but substitute Gylfi Sidgurdsson’s finesse shot was tipped onto the post before Emmanuel Adebayor headed towards goal from three yards, again this header was destined for the net but a superb stop from Jaaskelainen kept the score-line level for yet another time.
Joey O’Brien lifted the ball up into the air, and with a beautifully weighted pass reached Joe Cole who broke through the Tottenham defence like a hot knife through butter, taking one touch to control the ball and then another to unleash a volley at goal. Luckily the midfielder caught the ball wrongly and a small bounce on the pitch helped fool keeper Lloris and Cole found the net to make it 2-1 West Ham. His second goal since his return to West Ham, and his first back at Upton Park sent him such an adrenaline rush that he roared ferociously after pulling off his shirt.
The Tottenham equaliser came approximately ten minutes later when a Gareth Bale free kick caused havoc in the west Ham area, and numerous failed clearances kept the ball in danger land, the ball then somehow found its way through three West Ham players and laid itself on a plate for Sigurdsson to slot away, sending the Tottenham fans into ecstasy and putting the Hammer’s faithful into slight heartbreak.
Regular time was almost over when Gareth Bale found himself with the ball 30 yards from goal, and with nobody closing him down it was acceptable for him to let rip a thunderbolt of a strike that tore through the air before dipping under the West Ham bar, and the Welshman grabbed his second goal of the game, literally sending the West Ham fans into tears. This is the second game of the season that West ham have led at home 2-1 and ended up losing 3-2, Joe Cole scored in both. His first of the two however, came for Liverpool earlier this season.
The final whistle blew shortly after Bale’s wonder strike, and left all in the football world in awe of his ability. The former Southampton defender is now being tracked by Real Madrid who are set to launch a ‘big’ bid for the winger.
This loss for the Hammer’s drops them down to fourteenth in the league on goal difference, but takes the Spurs up to a respectable third in the league as they push for a Champions league spot.