Tottenham Hotspur caretaker boss Tim Sherwood saw how brutal life in the managerial hotseat can be at first hand tonight, conceding two late goals as West Ham United stunned their London rivals to win a pulsating League Cup quarter-final.
Spurs switched to 4-4-2 in a noticable change under Sherwood's stewardship for the first time, with the always-controversial Emmanuel Adebayor back to partner Jermain Defoe in attack.
The hosts looked fluent early on and attacked with pace and purpose down both flanks, with Defoe and Andros Townsend both firing wide in the early exchanges.
West Ham were largely confined to their own half for the first 20 minutes but slowly grew in stature, albeit reduced to long balls in search of lone striker Carlton Cole.
The most notable opening of the first half nearly came courtesy of unfortunate West Ham full-back Joey O'Brien, who headed just beyond his own goal in an effort to clear.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce had plenty of anger to vent towards the fourth official before the break, but his side showed a welcome stubborn streak as Spurs lost their way in possession a touch prior to the interval to increase the palpable tension at the lane.
Adebayor had continued to drop deep in search of a link between midfield and attack, but his efforts were thwarted as West Ham began to grow in confidence at the start of the second half.
Just as West Ham began to send men forward they were caught cold attacking their own corner kick on 66 minutes, as Townsend fed Defoe to race clear down the touchline.
His lofted cross towards the far post was perfectly weighted for Adebayor, who smashed under the bar to vindicate his surprise selection.
The Togo striker was largely left to warm the bench or train with the reserves under Andre Villas-Boas, but completed the latest leg of his rollercoaster ride in English football by coming off to a warm round of applause on 78 minutes.
West Ham were not beaten though and quickly levelled once Adebayor and Townsend had been brought off in enforced changes, with Matt Jarvis meeting a flick from Matt Taylor before hammering a ferocious drive into the corner from a tight angle.
Spurs suddenly looked a team drained of confidence and those nerves proved telling with just five minutes remaining, as substitute Modibo Maiga climbed highest in a packed penalty area to send Mohamed Diame's inviting cross inches inside Hugo Lloris' near post for what proved to be the winner.
Pandemonium ensued in the away end as West Ham fans celebrated their second win at White Hart Lane this season, leaving Sherwood to hear a strong chorus of "you're getting sacked in the morning," as frantic efforts in five added minutes failed to produce a last-gasp equaliser.
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