download All Football App

Spurs fizzled and disappointed again at the home of West Ham, writes MATT BARLOW

  /  autty

Tottenham have not warmed to the Olympic Park. The last time they won here was the opening game of Jose Mourinho’s tenure, with the Amazon cameras rolling behind the scenes to see if his special powers might extend to rekindling Dele Alli’s flame.

Turned out they did not. And four years and three managers down the line, with Adam Peaty leading a parade of hopefuls for the Paris Games up and down the pool in the nearby Aquatics Centre, they made the short journey to Stratford.

Could they continue in the best Olympic traditions by turning it on every four years, firing hopes of qualification for the Champions League and turn up the heat on Aston Villa as they went up against Manchester City?

Turned out they could not. Brennan Johnson gave them a flying start with his fourth goal in eight games but Spurs fizzled and disappointed again at the home of West Ham.

Kurt Zouma scored the equaliser and helped the home team resist to a take a point, watched from the stands by his family and childhood friend Paul Pogba, the Juventus midfielder currently serving a ban after a positive drugs test.

West Ham started in the same careless defensive fashion they finished in at Newcastle, where they transformed a 3-1 lead into a 4-3 defeat with a late collapse on Saturday, while Tottenham’s Johnson started in the way he finished against Luton, three days earlier.

Johnson came off the bench to inspire another comeback win for Spurs on Saturday, which was enough to earn him a return to the starting line-up, and he found the net within five minutes at the London Stadium.

Rodrigo Bentancur rolled a short pass to Timo Werner who beat Vladimir Coufal with a change of pace and cut the ball square. Johnson arrived in a hurry from the opposition flank, just as Ange Postecoglou demands, to convert from close range.

There was little chance for goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianksi, the only change made by David Moyes to the team that started at Newcastle, where Alphonse Areola picked up an injury.

It was a terrific start for Ange Postecoglou and the first time his team has scored in the first half of a game since Richarlison’s brace at Everton at the start of March.

For Moyes, it was a dispiriting turn of events after seeing Jarrod Bowen squander the first good opportunity of the game.

Bowen has been deadly in front of goal this season, and nobody expected such a scruffy finish when he shinned wide a cross from Mohammed Kudus, who had caught Pedro Porro dwelling on the ball deep in defensive territory.

Porro, more comfortable at the other end of the pitch, went close to a second for Spurs, fizzing one wide from the edge of the penalty box.

Fabianski then saved from Heung-min Son and, as the visitors cursed missed opportunities to ease clear, West Ham levelled from a corner.

Bowen swung it across and Zouma appeared unmarked in front of goal to glance a header past Guglielmo Vicario, his third goal of the season.

West Ham’s set pieces caused problems. Vicario kept out a free-kick by James Ward-Prowse before the interval and a collection of in-swinging corners, unquestionably designed to pile pressure on the Italian goalkeeper were scrambled clear, seldom with any composure.

Vicario made the first save of the second half to keep out Michail Antonio, although at the expense of a corner and again, he came under attack.

Bowen’s delivery was accurate and Konstantinos Mavropanos won the header, powering it down into the keeper’s legs. Antonio was offside in front of Vicario. It would not have counted but the plan continued to provide hope.

Lucas Paqueta jinked away from Bentancur on the edge of the box and curled an effort narrowly wide. The home crowd responded. Their team, after a sluggish opening were firmly in a contest uncertain which way to tip.

Tottenham threatened as well. James Maddison had a shot blocked and Johnson whipped another dangerous low cross through a crowded goalmouth without a touch. Yves Bissouma curled a shot wide when he might have done better.

Then it was Antonio ought to have found the net, released by a long pass out of defence by Ward-Prowse and helped by a slip from Micky van de Van, racing back on his first appearance since his return from a hamstring injury.

Antonio found himself with only Vicario to beat. He aimed low with power but did not connect sweetly and enabled the Spurs goalkeeper to keep it out, a splendid save but one he should not really have been able to make.

This was the pattern of the closing phase. Tottenham dominated the ball and searched for a way through. Postecoglou made changes from the bench in an attempt to help. Giovani Lo Celso was his final throw of the dice.

West Ham resisted and threatened on the counter attack. Moyes did not feel the urge to send on Kalvin Phillips. Fabianski made the final save to deny Destiny Udogie, and his team took a well-deserved point from the derby.