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Carling Cup
Wednesday, 29th October 2003

Tottenham 1
West Ham United 0

by Gordon Thrower

Defeated - but not demoralised.

Well it was a long night and it ended with the bizarre situation where the supporters of the losing side were probably happier than those of the winners. Due to injuries, ineligibity and suspension we put out a makeshift side. Kilgallon came in for the suspended Repka and injured Pearce, whilst up front Hutchison was pushed up alongside Defoe with Mellor remaining on the bench. Off the pitch both Chas and I made it to the match despite feeling less than well. Our chosen remedies were vastly different. I chose nurofen whilst Chas opted for a kebab. With (sadly for Chas) predictable results!

At this point I'd like to make a confession/apology. Normally when writing these reports I do so as soon as I get home whilst the events are still fairly fresh in the mind. However, the effects of the rotten head and the cr*p journey home meant that by time I got through the front door I was too exhausted to do much in the way of writing. So what follows is more of a badly-remembered summary rather than a proper blow-by-blow account.

The match was a good one. Not a classic but it probably satisfied the criteria for what the radio guys normally describe as "engrossing". There were chances at either end . We had a fairly early setback on 20 minutes when Stockdale, for whom we had had to go to extraordinary lengths to get Middlesbrough's permission to play, limped off following a brave block on the edge of the box. Ferdinand came on to replace him after treatment failed to cure the problem. Many of Spurs chances came the way of Keane but James was in irresistible mood between the sticks and pulled off a string of fine saves. Dailly also did well to clear one from in front of the line. Up the other end we had probably the clearest of chances when a clever lob from Defoe found Lee clear in the box. Unfortunately the midfielder's shot past Keller hit the inside of the post and the American was fortunate to see ball come back safely into his arms. Lee (I think) was also unlucky to be foiled by a last-ditch (but excellent) tackle from a similar position.

The second half continued in much the same vein and tempo as the first, James continuing his run of fine form, Hutchison running his legs off and Kilgallon having a fairly impressive match in his more-accustomed central defensive role. As the match wore on Lee began to tire and was replaced by Garcia with about 20 minutes left. Our best chances of the second half fell to Lee early on (a cross ball in front of goal came to him too quickly) and to Defoe (who cleverly allowed the ball to run across him taking out two defenders but elected to blast the ball against Keller rather than placing the ball into the corner which might have been the better option). The last chance before the end of full time came to either Defoe or Garcia who managed to put each other off in front of goal with only a few seconds to go.

So to extra time. The main worry for us was that our patched-up side would tire and that, bearing in mind the sparse resources available, we would get overrun. Our worst fears appeared to be confirmed as early as one minute into the second half when Zamora got the better of Ferdinand to bury the only goal of the game. However, it was to the players' credit that we continued to press for an equaliser and, with a little more luck might have got one. Hutchison pulled a fine save out of Keller in the first half of extra time, following some good interplay with Etherington.

For the second half of extra time Mellor replaced Horlock, for whom this was the first match back after an injury. Hutchison was very unlucky to see a free-kick deflected over for a corner and Mellor's header was tipped over by Keller. However, the equaliser was not to come despite pressure and we were out of the League Cup for another season.

Overall, I thought that the performance over the course of the tie was a good one. The commitment could certainly not be faulted and there were some tired legs out there at the end. They certainly deserved the applause they received from the large travelling support. My main hope is that they have enough recovery time before the Coventry match. No doubt Mr Pardew's thorough preparation plans will have taken this into account.

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Player Ratings

David James
A fine match. Save after save kept Spurs at bay.

Robbie Stockdale
Was doing ok before his unfortunate injury.

Wayne Quinn
Fairly solid although his lack of a right foot can hinder his distribution sometimes.

Christian Dailly
Good game at the back with some good blocks.

Matthew Kilgallon
Looked good in his favoured position.

Rob Lee
Got forward well and might have had a goal or two. Tired sharply in the second half.

Kevin Horlock
Got his usual quota of tackles in but his lack of match fitness following injury showed towards the end.

Michael Carrick
Beginning to return to form. Certainly had a much better match than one might have thought from the opinions of the "Bloke Behind Me" who took great delight in pointlessly slagging him off at every opportunity.

Matthew Etherington
A busy night against his old club.

Don Hutchison
Tireless running throughout despite getting nothing out of referee Barber. Keller's save denied him the goal his hard work merited.

Jermain Defoe
A quieter than usual night that, nevertheless, should have provided him with a goal.


Anton Ferdinand
Caught napping a few times, most notably for Zamora's goal.

Richard Garcia
A couple of good touches during normal time but failed to put a decent cross over from promising positions on several occasions during extra time.

Neil Mellor
Caused the Spurs defence a few problems when he came on for the second half of extra time.

Stephen Bywater
Did not play

Youssef Sofiane
Did not play

Match Facts

Referee: Graham Barber.

Attendance: 36053.

Man of the Match: David James.

West Ham United


Booked: Matthew Etherington 90          .

Sent Off:      .


Keller, Konchesky, Gardner, Carr, King, Ziege, Dalmat, Doherty, Ricketts, Zamora, Keane.

Substitutes: Mabizela (Dalmat 58), Blondel (Ziege 61), Postiga (Ricketss 77).

Subs not used: Burch, Bunjevcevic.

Goals: Zamora (91).

Booked: .

Sent Off: .

Match Report

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