GARETH Bale scored yet another brilliant last-gasp winner to move Tottenham up to third after a cracking London derby at Upton Park.
Jussi Jaaskelainen rolled back the years to keep the Hammers in the game, but there was nothing the 37-yearold could do to stop Bale’s blistering 25-yard shot flying in to the top corner with just ten seconds remaining.
Bale put Tottenham ahead in the first half, but Andy Carroll scored a penalty after being brought down in the box by former Hammers midfielder Scott Parker, who was booed throughout.
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Joe Cole thought he had grabbed the Hammers a morale-boosting win with a goal against the club he almost joined last season, but substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised and Bale provided the killer blow in the final minute.
West Ham dominated for large parts of what was a pumped-up derby, but as has been the case in so many games of late, there was always the chance that Bale could pull off another bit of magic to settle the game.
The victory proved extra sweet for Villas-Boas as his team have dislodged his former employers Chelsea from third place.
West Ham used the 20th anniversary of Bobby Moore’s death as an inspiration to start the game well.
Led out by three of Moore’s grandchildren, the Hammers started in combative mode.
Bale, like Parker, was subjected to jeers from the home fans, but he had stunned the West Ham faithful with the opener after 12 minutes.
Operating up front alongside Adebayor, he gained a yard on James Collins and another two defenders before firing across Jaaskelainen.
Soon after Spurs were pulled level thanks to Carroll’s second goal of 2013.
Parker put in an ill-advised two-footed challenge on Carroll in the box and Howard Webb pointed to the spot.
The former Newcastle striker smashed the ball past Lloris and waved two fingers towards the away support, who had previously goaded him by claiming he was only capable of scoring once a year.
West Ham still had the majority of possession and they made it count before the hour.
Cole timed his run to perfection, gaining two yards on Steven Caulker before slotting past Lloris.
When the Hammers failed to deal with Bale’s free-kick, a melee ensued in the box, but Sigurdsson held his nerve to poke past Jaaskelainen from close range.
Jaaskelainen pulled off another two top-class saves to deny Adebayor and Sigurdsson as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, before Bale won it.