Piquionne's header secured West Ham's first win of the Premier League season
By Chris Whyatt
West Ham moved off the bottom of the table with a display full of promise as they beat London rivals Tottenham for the first time since May 2006.
Playing with real verve at a buoyant Upton Park, the Hammers won a riveting match thanks to Frederic Piquionne's powerful 29th-minute header.
Spurs were largely out of sorts, but Tom Huddlestone missed a good chance to equalise after rounding Robert Green.
The hosts dug deep late on to clinch a first league win of the season.
Victory for a West Ham side which was threatened by relegation during the 2009-10 campaign also marks the first occasion that Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has been beaten by his former club since he left Upton Park in 2001.
Redknapp may well be concerned that his talented squad are already stretched from the extra demands of Champions League football this season, but he knows the north Londoners will not have too many days like this.
The real test was for the Hammers, who went into the match with only two points from their opening five games.
Given that, their supporters could be forgiven for worrying that their club might be facing a grim fight for survival - but those fears were washed away in a bewitching opening 15 minutes in which the visitors struggled to get out of their half as West Ham piled on the pressure.
It was more like a basketball match - Spurs manager Harry Redknapp
Redknapp's new centre-back pairing of Sebastian Bassong and Vedran Corluka was exposed within the first two minutes, Piquionne easily flicking the ball on for strike partner Victor Obinna to break free and scuff a shot wide.
And that forward pairing of Piquionne and Obinna quickly set about repaying the faith of Hammers manager Avram Grant, after he stuck with them following promising signs of chemistry in the midweek Carling Cup win over Sunderland.
A Piquionne shot was deflected just inches wide by Bassong's block before he dropped his shoulder cleverly to work space and force the over-worked Spurs goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini into a smart stop.
Nigerian international Obinna was ready to pounce on both occasions.
Brimming with confidence, the sound of "Ole!" even rang out around a sun-drenched Upton Park as West Ham comfortably stroked the ball around.
But Jermaine Jenas did wriggle free to fire off a powerful long range shot for Spurs, although the home side's keeper Green was equal to it.
Sometimes England goalkeeper Green then stretched every sinew to save a stinging shot from Rafael Van der Vaart, who was trying to nudge Spurs back into the game with his inventive left foot.
But when the visitors forced their first spell of pressure, hard-working West Ham won the ball back from a corner to break rapidly down the pitch with forgotten man Kieron Dyer cunningly forcing a corner.
Mark Noble duly curled the dead ball over expertly for Piquionne to overpower a featherweight aerial challenge from Corluka - and some competition from his own team-mates - and steer a bullet header high past Cudicini's flailing arm.
The 29th minute goal was well deserved, but Spurs soon showed their undoubted threat when England man Aaron Lennon made a brilliant jinking run down the right wing.
When he had raced to the very brink of the touchline Lennon cut the ball back for Luka Modric, who - showing perfect technique - leaned into a perfect volley only for Green to tip it brilliantly onto the bar.
Misfortune then once again struck injury-plagued Dyer, who was looking sharp and influential but had to be replaced by Pablo Barrera just before the end of a truly entertaining first half.
Though West Ham remained more dominant, just, Spurs should have hit an equaliser 10 minutes into the second period.
Onside when he might have looked off, Huddlestone was put clean through by marauding right-back Alan Hutton.
But, lacking the necessary poise, he made a real hash of a simple opportunity to score by shooting too early when he had rounded Green cleanly.
Undeterred by that defensive lapse, the Hammers pressed back with Obinna - on a year-long loan from Inter Milan - soon forcing a smart save from Cudicini after holding off Hutton's muscular challenge.
With Carlton Cole on for Piquionne, the home side were given an extra boost of energy and again Cudicini produced a high-quality stop.
Quickly adjusting his body in mid-air, the Italian tipped Noble's vicious shot over the bar to keep his side in a game that was becoming more open and scrappy.
'Terrific' West Ham progressing - Grant
A rash of Spurs substitutions saw Redknapp replace Lennon with Robbie Keane, Van der Vaart taken off for Giovani dos Santos and Peter Crouch replaced by Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Keane - not a natural finisher in the mould of the injured Jermaine Defoe, who Tottenham appear to be missing - had the best chance as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, but he curled a weak attempt into Green's grateful arms after Modric put him in.
Spurs continued to knock at the door, but without real conviction.
West Ham ensured it stayed shut while also pressing for a second, and they are sure to take heart from a performance full of spirit.
Spurs - for whom centre-back William Gallas tore a groin muscle in training on Friday - must pick themselves up for the Champions League visit of Dutch side FC Twente on Wednesday.
West Ham manager Avram Grant: "We played very good, against a very good team. The atmosphere was great.
"The most important thing is to continue progressing. Robert Green was great today, but so was Carlo Cudicini.
"Like Spurs, we always want to win and play good football. During the season we will have good times and also not have good times. If you want to see the real West Ham, you we will to wait. We will get better and better."
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp: "They started strong and their front two were a real handful. They worked their socks off. It was a great team effort from West Ham and it could have gone either way. It was an exciting game, end to end stuff.
"It was more of a basketball match. They attacked, we attacked.
"If Tom Huddlestone had scored when he was clean through in the second half it would have been different. They would have been on the floor and we would have been in the ascendancy."
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