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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at the London Stadium

Antonio goal settles it as West Ham see off their bitter rivals


West Ham United (0) 1 Antonio 72

Tottenham (0) 0

Michail Antonio prodded home an Aaron Cresswell corner to settle one of the capital’s traditionally most hot-blooded derbies.


It was the striker’s seventh goal of the campaign and probably counts for more than all the rest, coming as it does in the match which means most to Hammers fans.


The game took an age to liven up and wake supporters from a slumber we seldom see when this clash takes place. It was all unusually quiet for 45 minutes.


After the break, the temperature finally rose when Cristian Romero gave Pablo Fornals a piece of his mind for what he considered was an exaggerated reaction to a challenge and Declan Rice then had home fans going with a rampaging run from his own half.


But it was not until the 72nd minute that we had the breakthrough from the Hammers. Fornals had a deflected shot tipped over by Hugo Lloris and from the resulting corner, Antonio got in front of Harry Kane to bundle in from six yards.


This was a match which tends to operate outside the normal rules of context, but if form was any guide, the Hammers were the ones on the up.


They were the ones buoyed by a Thursday win in Europe whereas Spurs’ scratch team had folded at Vitesse Arnhem. Spurs were also the ones with a previous derby defeat hanging over them – that 3-1 loss at Arsenal.


And it was perhaps that underlying pessimism gripping the club which saw a large proportion of fans in the away section streaming out before the final whistle.


Victory lifted the Irons up to fourth in table, Spurs dropping to sixth.


The match had a few moments when it suggested it might take off during an otherwise humdrum start.


There was an almost Di Canioesque moment from Fornals, for instance, who connected beautifully with an aerial volley (both feet off the ground) from Jarrod Bowen’s cross to the far post.


Later, Tomas Soucek set up a half-volley chance for the overlapping Ben Johnson, but it flew off target. They came closer when Fornals lofted a ball to the far post and Tomas Soucek flashed a header narrowly wide.


A slip from Romero inside the area offered Antonio a sniff of a chance but he found the space close in front of him after checking back onto his left foot for a strike at goal.


Spurs started the more diffidently of the two and it was a while before they truly threatened – a Kane pass paced to perfection to meet the galloping stride of Heung-Min Son. But the danger was snuffed out before any shot could be dispatched.


Son blasted straight at Lukasz Fabianski on the turn after Tanguy Ndombele had rolled a good ball into space. Ndombele headed straight at the Hammers keeper from a Sergio Reguilon cross.


The best chance, though, fell to Kane, who thundered in a header from close range which Fabianski reacted well to, tipping over acrobatically.


It was to be the closest Spurs came on another disappointing afternoon for them.


Hammers: (4-2-3-1) Fabianski – Johnson, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell – Soucek, Rice – Bowen (Dawson 90), Benrahma (Lanzini 85), Fornals – Antonio. Subs not used: Areola, Yarmolenko, Vlasic, Noble, Diop, Masuaku, Ashby

Spurs: (4-2-3-1) Lloris – Emerson Royal, Romero, Dier, Reguilon (Gil 84) – Hojbjerg, Skipp – Lucas Moura (Bergwijn 90), Ndombele (Lo Celso 84), Son – Kane. Subs not used: Gollini, Sanchez, Rondon, Alli, Tanganga, Davies

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