Goalscorers: Teddy Sheringham 7, Julian Dicks 20, 72 PEN, Paul Kitson 22, Darren Anderton 29, John Hartson 37, David Howells 53
West Ham United: Ludek Miklosko, Mark Bowen, Tim Breacker, Julian Dicks, Rio Ferdinand, Steve Potts, Ian Bishop, Michael Hughes, John Moncur, John Hartson, Paul Kitson (Iain Dowie 79)
Tottenham Hotspur: Ian Walker, Dean Austin, Colin Calderwood, Sol Campbell, Stephen Carr, Clive Wilson, David Howells (Ronny Rosenthal 84), Darren Anderton, Andy Sinton (Allan Nielsen 79), Steffen Iversen, Teddy Sheringham
Referee: Gary Willard, Attendance: 23,998
Things were looking desperate for West Ham United in February 1997. Four successive defeats in the Premier League had them in the bottom three and needing a vital victory in a London Derby against mid-table Tottenham Hotspur.
Manager Harry Redknapp had recently dipped into the transfer market, paying out a combined £7 million to acquire the services of John Hartson and Paul Kitson from Arsenal and Newcastle United respectively. The new strikeforce would have an important role in the destiny of this match, played in windy and wet conditions.
Tottenham were having an average season but played their role in this fantastic encounter. They took the lead after just seven minutes. Young right-back Stephen Carr drove a cross into the penalty area from the right wing and on his return from injury; Teddy Sheringham placed his long-range header beyond a stranded Ludek Miklosko to put the visitors ahead.
West Ham drew themselves level on 20 minutes. Captain Julian Dicks was left unmarked from a Michael Hughes corner and he equalised, placing his header into the bottom right-hand corner of Ian Walker’s goal. The Hammers now had momentum and moments later, Walker made a good save to keep out Hughes. The Northern Ireland international was having a fine match and from the resulting corner, his delivery once again caused havoc with the weather conditions. Kitson made the most of the ball hanging in the air to score his first goal for his new club.
The spectacular goal feast continued. Sheringham and Steffen Iversen combined and Darren Anderton was played through by the Norwegian. His delicate lob from 20-yards out over Miklosko made it 2-2 with just 29 minutes played. Then, like Kitson, Hartson scored on his debut too. Eight minutes before half-time, Dicks’ excellent free-kick delivery found Hartson and the Welshman outmuscled Sol Campbell in the aerial challenge and his header found the target.
3-2 at half-time, Tottenham quickly restored parity. Eight minutes into the second half, Sheringham laid the ball back to David Howells and he scored a rare goal with his shot creeping inside Miklosko’s far post. It was a poignant moment for the midfielder, who was playing despite the tragic death of his father earlier in the day.
The decisive goal came 18 minutes from full-time. Howells challenge on Hartson was deemed as a foul in the penalty area and Gary Willard pointed to the spot. Dicks was one of the best spot-kick takers in the Premier League, smashing his penalty into the net with power and passion and West Ham led for the third time in the contest.
This time, it was to be a decisive advantage and a vital win as they eventually ended up two points clear of the relegation zone at the end of the season.