TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 WEST HAM UNITED 2
FRUSTRATED West Ham boss Sam Allardyce accused Tottenham’s players of regularly accentuating challenges of minimal contact during his side’s two-goal surrender at White Hart Lane yesterday.
The Hammers surged into a commanding lead thanks to a Cheikhou Kouyate header and Diafra Sakho strike before Spurs rescued a point with a trademark late revival thanks to goals from Danny Rose and prolific England hopeful Harry Kane.
Spurs were awarded a last-gasp penalty after Hammers midfielder Alex Song was adjudged to have fouled Kane, and Allardyce insisted there were numerous incidents in the game which showcased the need for referees to give greater protection to honest players.
“You can argue whether there is enough contact from Alex [Song] or not but when you’re desperate like Tottenham are, a player is going to fall over when touched and ask the referee to make a decision,” said Allardyce.
“It’s the way football is today and if we’re to learn anything, it is to do the same as Tottenham do more often because we stay on our feet and don’t get fouls and they get touched and go down and do get fouls.
“My brief to [Referees’ chief] Mike Riley is that until you sort out referee’s giving free-kicks for players who stay on their feet, you will always get people who feel contact and go down.”
Allardyce was also left infuriated by the timing of Tottenham’s leveller, clocked at 95 minutes and 54 seconds despite fourth official Mike Dean signalling only five additional minutes.
“So we’re doing NFL now aren’t we. I’d like a timekeeper to be perfectly honest with you,” added Allardyce. “It was more luck than talent that got Tottenham a point.”
Spurs headed into the match unbeaten in their last seven Premier League matches at White Hart Lane and twice came close to an early opener. Algeria midfielder Nabil Bentaleb drew a finger-tip save from Adrian before Kane latched onto Rose’s dissecting pass only to strike the outside of the post.
Despite netting just once in their last four matches, West Ham opened the scoring midway through the half, Kouyate rising between Jan Vertonghen and Eric Dier to power a bullet header past Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris from Aaron Cresswell’s centre.
Sakho was denied by Lloris with strike partner Enner Valencia lurking square and the goal gaping, but the Senegal striker made amends shortly after the hour mark by converting an inswinging cross from Hammers skipper Mark Noble to double the visitors’ advantage.
Spurs had already recovered 15 points from losing positions this term, the then joint-highest alongside Crystal Palace, and set about conjuring their latest fightback in the 81st minute when Rose’s miscued half-volley deceived Adrian.
Kane equalised after the award of a penalty for an infringement by Song, scoring his 24th goal of the season from the rebound after Adrian had saved his initial spot-kick.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, whose side drop to seventh, said: “If you analyse the whole 90 minutes I think we deserve more than the one point. I think we showed character. Going into the last 10 minutes 2-0 down, to finish the game 2-2 is something to be proud of.”