West Ham 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0

Dominant from the first whistle until the last, West Ham United outclassed arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur to win 2-0 and gain three more precious Premiership points to aid our survival bid.

Les Ferdinand joined Hammers from Spurs in January but today he truly arrived as an adopted East Ender by scoring the opening goal after 33 minutes to cap a fine, brave performance. At odds of 6-1 to score the first goal against the club who let him go, Ferdi made one punter very happy when Ladbrokes declared at half-time that one customer had staked £100 on Les to net the opener!

It was Ferdinand's courage and aerial presence that also set up the second goal, convincingly driven home by Michael Carrick two minutes after the interval.

Lee Bowyer saw his shot pushed onto the post by Kasey Keller, while the Spurs keeper just managed to claw an Ian Pearce header from on - or was it just behind? - the goalline as Hammers piled on the pressure in a vintage display.

It is the first clean sheet Glenn Roeder's side have kept since last October and, off the back of last Sunday's crucial victory at West Brom, Hammers appear to have finally turned the corner. Although this win keeps us in the bottom three, West Ham have pulled level with Bolton Wanderers on 26 points, although the Trotters - who don't play this weekend - have a game in hand and a superior goal difference.

There was certainly no hint of nervous anxiety about the home side, who set about their lacklustre London rivals right from the start. Bowyer was close to opening the scoring before Keller produced a fine save to deny a Jermain Defoe volley. The American keeper did even better to turn Bowyer's shot against the outside of his right upright after a clever diagonal pass from Joe Cole who, back from suspension to replace the injured Steve Lomas, was outstanding in central midfield, along with Michael Carrick.

But Hammers were better than Tottenham all over the field. The trio of recent signings - Bowyer, Ferdinand and Rufus Brevett - enjoyed their best match since joining the club and displayed the typical English steel that will be so important in the battle ahead.

Trevor Sinclair, looking much more confident and lively after his Hawthorns double, won the battle with Steve Carr on the left flank, while Tomas Repka and Ian Pearce had no trouble containing Teddy Sheringham and his makeshift partner Gary Doherty - a defender playing out of position.

Up front, Ferdinand and Defoe gave Dean Richards and Ledley King nightmares with their pace, persistent and - in Ferdi's case - sheer physical power.

If Hammers have been guilty of lacking the bottle for the battle too often this season, then this was not the case today. Referee Neale Barry showed the yellow card to Glen Johnson (another solid, accomplished show from the young right-back), Bowyer and Cole for over-zealous challenges in the first half.

Not that Hammers lacked the skill and composure to go with their tenacity. They had as much controlled possession as Spurs in a fairly even first half but grew in stature and the second half was all one-way traffic.

West Ham's first goal was pure quality. Defoe did well to control a firmly struck pass from Brevett and, as Richards and Goran Bunjevcevic both challenged him on the halfway line, he bamboozled them both to spin away with the ball.

Defoe showed good awareness, too, to lay the ball to his right, where his strike partner unleashed a powerful shot that Keller got his body to but couldn't stop from entering the net in front of the Spurs fans at the Centenary Stand end. Having been squeezed out of the White Hart Lane picture this season, his first goal in claret and blue must have been as sweet for the veteran 36-year-old as it was for the majority of the 35,049 crowd.

Ironically, Ferdi had almost been forced to withdraw just minutes earlier, but returned to the field after treatment to a facial injury sustained in a collision with Richards. Tottenham's loss is West Ham's gain, as he again proved in the 47th minute. Ferdinand made two aerial challenges in the Spurs' penalty area before the loose ball dropped kindly for Carrick to drive home with Keller still grounded.

Hammers thought they had scored a third four minutes later when Bowyer (strangely wearing gloves for the second half) hit a deep cross to the far post that picked out Pearce, whose header looked to have gone in under the crossbar, until Keller pushed it clear amid valiant appeals that the ball had crossed the line.

It didn't matter, because there was no way back for sorry Spurs, who seemed to lack the heart for the battle. Hammers continued to stroke the ball around, with Cole and Carrick invariably pulling the strings.

Credit, too, must go to the manager. Glenn Hoddle changed his formation more than once to try and find a way back into the game but Roeder - whom he called into his coaching team for 1998 World Cup - always had the measure of his mentor. His players carried out his instructions to the word and kept their shape and discipline throughout a polished performance.

To be fair, the winning margin could have been much greater. While Spurs created only one clear-cut chance all the game - Sheringham somehow heading across the face of the goal when left unmarked at the far post after David James had misjudged a Darren Anderton corner - Hammers made and missed several good chances in a one-sided second half.

Even sub Don Hutchison - a replacement for the battle-weary Ferdinand - had a rasping shot defected narrowly wide.

Ferdi left the field to a standing ovation and how the miserable Spurs fans must have cringed as he turned towards the Bobby Moore Stand to applaud the home fans on his way to a well-earned hot bath and yet another X-ray.

In the week that marked the 10th anniversary of Bobby's death, the flags flew at half-mast around Upton Park. But there were no half measures for Hammers - and the master Mooro would have approved of the quality.

Roeder said: ''We had quite a few players who had their best games of the season today. It was our best performance of the season at home and it was satisfying to see that we had four boys (Cole, Carrick, Defoe and Johnson) out there who have come through our Academy and are under the age of 21.

''Jermain Defoe has learned so much from Les Ferdinand in training and it was nice to have two forwards pushed right up there on their defenders. Les deserved his first goal today - he might have cracked his eye socket but he just didn't want to come off, where a lot of players would've done.''

Predictably asked about the absence of the headline-hogging Paolo Di Canio, who was absent with a stomach bug, the Hammers boss added: ''I don't want to talk about Di Canio - only the players who have been here and performed so well for us today.''

By Tony McDonald



1 - Defoe's snapshot from the edge of the penalty area takes a deflection and sails away for a corner, but Anderton clears Bowyer's resulting kick.

5 - An excellent early chance for the Hammers, as Ferdinand's flick-on reaches Defoe, whose shot is blocked by Richards but bounces loose in the area for Bowyer, who is denied by a brave save from Keller.

7 - Hammers are on top and Defoe comes close again, as he races on to Sinclair's header and fires in a fierce shot that Keller blocks well.

12 - The overlapping Carr sprints on to Sheringham's pass and unleashes a blistering low shot that James holds well.

18 - Johnson booked for foul on Etherington.

21 - Bowyer booked for foul on Bunjevcevic.

23 - Hammers go even closer to taking the lead, but are once again denied by Keller. A neat move involving Brevett, Defoe and Cole ends with Bowyer being released by Cole's diagonal pass, but his left foot shot is pushed on to the post by the Spurs keeper and cleared to safety.

27 - Cole booked for foul on Davies.

31 - GOAL! After a quiet break in play, Hammers finally get the goal they deserve. Defoe is the provider, turning superbly on the halfway line and racing forward before slipping the ball into the path of Ferdinand, who takes one touch on the right hand side of the penalty area before firing in a powerful shot that Keller can only help on its way into the net. West Ham United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0.

35 - Excellent work from the fired-up Ferdinand, who earlier appeared to be going off with a head injury, sets up Defoe, whose wild shot flies well wide of the target.

41 - Spurs miss a glorious opportunity to draw level, as Anderton's deep corner is completely missed by James, but somehow headed straight back across the face of goal and out for a goal-kick by Sheringham when it appeared easier to score.

43 - Anderton's low left-foot volley from 20 yards out is comfortably held by James.

Added time: 2 minutes.

Half-time: West Ham United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0.

Second Half:

46 - Substitution for Tottenham, Thatcher replaces Bunjevcevic.

47 - GOAL! A fantastic start to the second half for Hammers, as Carrick starts and finishes a vital second goal. The midfielder's cross is met by Ferdinand, who then challenges Keller for the loose ball - injuring himself again in the process - and Carrick races in to crash home a left-footed shot. West Ham United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0.

50 - Hammers almost add a third, as Bowyer's left-footed cross is met at the far post by Pearce, whose powerful header is only just kept out by Keller on the line.

54 - Cole cuts in from the left and fires in a wayward shot that Ferdinand almost deflects goalwards as it flies across the face of goal.

63 - Substitution for West Ham, Hutchison replaces Ferdinand.

64 - Taricco booked for foul on Bowyer.

66 - Substitution for Tottenham, Freund replaces Doherty.

71 - Davies booked for foul on Cole.

73 - Hutchison's flick-on is laid back to him by Defoe on the edge of the penalty area, but his low shot is deflected just wide for a corner.

76 - Substitution for Tottenham, Acimovic replaces Etherington.

79 - Sheringham sums up Tottenham's day, as he blazes a shot from the edge of the area into the upper tier of the Centenary Stand!

83 - Defoe almost caps a fantastic performance with a goal, as he brings down a high ball, turns, and runs at King before firing a low left foot shot just wide.

Added time: 2 minutes.

Full-time: West Ham United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0.