Tottenham Hotspur had been almost perfect at White Hart Lane this season, but their unbeaten run at home came to a shuddering halt on Sunday. West Ham United didn't seem like likely candidates to do the deed, having scored a grand total of zero times during their travels in their first six games, but out of almost nowhere Sam Allardyce's men erupted, grabbing three goals in 13 second-half minutes to inflict a humbling London derby defeat upon their hosts.
For the first half and the majority of the second, Spurs were well on top. Paulinho had several chances to strike as the hosts dominated, and Jussi Jaaskelainen twice denied Jermain Defoe with smart stops. Although West Ham did have one decent chance to open the scoring in the first half when Kevin Nolan nearly turned in Mark Noble's clever free kick, it seemed like only a matter of time before the visitors' resolve snapped. Tottenham were hammering at the door.
Then, suddenly, a breakthrough. But it wasn't at the end everyone was expecting to see a goal. Stewart Downing swung in a corner kick, Winston Reid outmuscled Jan Vertonghen to get his head to the delivery, and although Nolan inadvertently cleared the shot off the line the ball ricocheted back to Reid, who slotted past Lloris at the second attempt. It was West Ham's first away goal of the season.
Although the goal came against the run of play, it wasn't entirely shocking. Spurs have had trouble defending on set pieces for quite some time now, and they'd already courted danger. Nolan's first-half chance could easily have found the net, and an earlier corner could easily have resulted in a goal thanks to Lloris flapping at the ball. The second goal, however, was entirely shocking.
Buoyed by the goal, the hammers were suddenly buzzing around the midfield with intent, and when Noble won the ball thanks to some lax Spurs passing he was the first to spot the run of Ricardo Vaz Te, who had done very well to ghost in behind Michael Dawson. Noble threaded an inch-perfect through ball for the Portuguese, and although Lloris stopped the first shot the rebound went straight back into Vaz Te's knees and then bounced over the line, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Although Andre Villas-Boas threw Roberto Soldado into the mix in an attempt to get his side back into the game, it was too little, too late. West Ham were now rampant, and they soon added to the lead thanks to a superb solo goal by Ravel Morrison, who drove straight down the pitch, escaping Vertonghen and twisting past Dawson before scooping a shot over Lloris and in.
The last fifteen minutes were rendered virtually meaningless by the three quickfire goals, and the visitors closed out the match with aplomb, spending as much time in Tottenham's half as they did defending. This really isn't how it was supposed to go for Spurs -- but what a win for Sam Allardyce and his crew!
Tottenham Hotspur starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Hugo Lloris; Kyle Naughton (Lewis Holtby 81'), Jan Vertonghen, Michael Dawson, Kyle Walker; Moussa Dembele, Paulinho; Gylfi Sigurdsson (Erik Lamela 63'), Christian Eriksen (Roberto Soldado 74'), Andros Townsend; Jermain Defoe.
West Ham United starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Jussi Jaaskelainen; Razvan Rat, Winston Reid, James Tomkins, Gay Demel; Ravel Morrison, Mark Noble (Joey O'Brian 90'); Stewart Downing, Kevin Nolan, Mohamed Diame (James Collins 80'); Ricardo Vaz Te (Joe Cole 86').
Goals: Reid 66', Vaz Te 72', Morrison 79'.