Big Sam pays the penalty
Noble miss proves costly as Dier grabs late winner
WEST HAM 0
Debutant Eric Dier scored a dramatic injury-time winner to get manager Mauricio Pochettino’s era at Tottenham off to a winning start against London rivals West Ham.
Both sides finished with 10 men, but it was Spurs who came out on top as new defensive recruit Dier popped up on the edge of the Hammers’ penalty area in injury time to round Adrian and slip home a winning goal.
The visitors should have been behind at that stage but Mark Noble missed a first-half penalty for West Ham, with full-back Kyle Naughton sent off after handling in the area.
James Collins went the same way as Naughton in the second half as he picked up a second booking, with Spurs only coming to life when the teams were level at 10-a-side.
Sam Allardyce had the jinx over Spurs last season as he guided the Hammers to three wins against their London rivals – and the 59-year-old will be left bemoaning his side’s inabilty to hit the target despite periods of sustained possession earlier in the game.
Hugo Lloris made a superb save from Stewart Downing in the closing stages as both sides appeared destined to share the spoils before Dier, playing at rightback after Naughton’s dismissal, stayed onside and latched onto Harry Kane’s through-ball to steer home a winner and give Pochettino a victorious start.
During the summer, Allardyce had been tasked with bringing a more entertaining brand of football to Upton Park and, against Pochettino’s supposedly free-flowing Spurs side, his team started the brighter.
With just under half an hour on the clock, the hosts were given the perfect opportunity to open the scoring when they were awarded a penalty for handballl against Naughton.
The full-back was arguably unlucky to be sent off for the misdemeanour, but Noble could only drag the resulting spot-kick wide, with Lloris diving the wrong way.
The Hammers were the dominant force for the remainder of the half but could not find a way past Lloris, with Ricardo Vaz Te flashing an effort wide as Allardyce’s side continued to struggle in their quest to find the target.
Tottenham came close to breaking the deadlock against the run of play as Erik Lamela stole the ball off Noble and played in Aaron Lennon, who could only whip his shot over the bar. Vaz Te finally forced Lloris into a save, albeit a routine one, as he headered into the ground and straight into the hands of the France goalkeeper.
Collins picked up his second yellow card as he stopped Emmanuel Adebayor in his tracks with referee Chris Foy having a busy first day of the season.
Christian Eriksenmay have fluffed his lines from the free-kick that followed, but Spurs were soon in the ascendancy for the first time in the game.
With both sides a body light, the game opened up as the half wore on, with Noble only able to shoot straight at Lloris after Younes Kaboul had failed to bring the ball out of defence.
Allardyce brought on summer signing Enner Valencia for a 10-minute cameo with the Ecuador striker receiving a rapturous reception from the home supporters.
It was Downing, though, who came close to winning it late on forWest Ham.
The England winger exchanged neat passes with Kevin Nolan on the edge of the Spurs box before forcing his way through on goal, with Lloris doing well to close in and block Downing’s shot.
Adrian had to be lively at the opposing end to push out a long-range Nabil Bentaleb drive but the Spaniard could do nothing as Dier, a summer signing from Sporting Lisbon, kept his cool to send the travelling Spurs fans into delirium.
Chester’s header is enough to sink Hoops
HULL CITY 1
QPR’s return to the Premier League began in defeat as James Chester’s second-half header gave Hull victory on the opening day of the new season.
Rangers were handed a golden opportunity to salvage a draw in the 84th minute when referee Craig Pawson awarded the hosts a penalty, but Charlie Austin’s effort was saved by Allan McGregor.
Harry Redknapp’s side enjoyed the majority of possession throughout the game, but Rangers were ultimately made to pay the price for a lack of cutting edge in the all-important final third.
Instead, it was Chester who made the decisive contribution as he shook off Rio Ferdinand to head home a corner early in the second half and earn the Tigers their first win at Loftus Road since 1963.