Who needs strikers? Not Sam Allardyce for this London derby. The West Ham United manager's response to his team's failure to score on their travels this season en route to White Hart Lane was to ape Spain's European Championship-winning 4-6-0 formation. The result was a performance and result beyond the dreams of the club's supporters.
They will remember the second half for many years and, if any gloss were required,, which is highly debatable, it was provided by Ravel Morrison, the mercurially gifted midfielder, who scored a goal that had the wow factor stamped all over it. Picking up possession just inside his half, he accelerated away from Jan Vertonghen before beating Michael Dawson, smoothly keeping his balance and clipping a right-foot finish past Hugo Lloris. The visiting enclosure embraced mayhem and an element of disbelief.
It was a strange game, dull in the first half and pock-marked by slices of slapstick in the second, from which West Ham benefited. Allardyce could claim that his players made their luck. Ricardo Vaz Tê's goal was a fluke and André Villas-Boas, the Tottenham manager, who was preparing to introduce Roberto Soldado from the substitutes' bench and switch to two strikers, called it the turning point. From Mark Noble's through-ball, Vaz Tê shot against the advancing Lloris and saw the ball fly back at him, hit a knee and ricochet into the far corner. Vaz Tê tried his best to look nonchalant in his celebration. There was no way back for Tottenham after that.
West Ham's first also contained a streaky element. The excellent Winston Reid directed a header goalwards only to see it hit Kevin Nolan, his team-mate, who was standing in front of the goal-line, with Lloris looking beaten. Yet the ball rebounded to Reid, who he kept his composure to shoot home. Blue flares lit the scene. Villas-Boas later complained about a push from Reid on Vertonghen.
West Ham had felt their previous away results had been underpinned by bad luck. They had played well, particularly in defensive terms, and their fortunes would surely turn. How they were vindicated, leaving Tottenham simply to lament an afternoon when nothing went their way. Apart from a burst at the beginning of the second half, they laboured to open up their opponents. Villas-Boas grumbled about West Ham being defensive and scoring from a set piece yet both are permitted in the game. There was a smattering of boos from the home supporters who had stayed to the final whistle.
West Ham's formation was a talking point, with Allardyce using four central midfielders; Morrison and Mohamed Diamé in front of Nolan and Noble. It looked as though Morrison and Diamé had begun as false No9s. Allardyce's idea was that Downing and Vaz Tê, who started wide, would drift into more central areas as strikers but where the strategy worked was in the restricting and frustrating of Tottenham. West Ham's loss of Andy Carroll, their true No9, to injury has cast long shadows but not here.
The first half was forgettable and there was laughter from the crowd at the interval when the big-screen highlights were introduced, although there had been bits and pieces to admire, in particular the rugged power of Diamé. Reid defended manfully but he fluffed one of the few first-half chances when he glanced wide from Noble's corner. Noble also worked a free-kick routine for Nolan and he watched the captain hook his volley past the far post.
Andros Townsend was direct and lively for Tottenham but they had little to show for their first-half efforts; Paulinho twice sliced wide and that was about it. They were better at the start of the second half, with Jermain Defoe, preferred to Soldado against his former club, which still loves to hate him, going close to the opening goal. Released by Paulinho, he found himself one-on-one, briefly, with Jussi Jaaskelainen but the goalkeeper was out quickly to block his prodded shot. Moments later Defoe unfurled a vicious drive from the edge of the area that Jaaskelainen tipped over the bar.
West Ham, though, changed the game when they capitalised on their set-piece strength. Tottenham had been warned in the 55th minute when James Tomkins headed down from a corner and, with Nolan in front of him, Lloris clawed to safety. Nolan would be a central figure in the opening goal and thereafter West Ham took Tottenham apart. The goal burst was dizzying and how their supporters revelled in it. Their team jumps straight out of the relegation zone. Tottenham have to regroup.
Man of the match Ravel Morrison (West Ham United)