AMSTERDAM -- West Ham United cup specialist Jonathan Spector was at it again on Tuesday night, setting up the late winner as the 10-man hosts scored a 2-1 first leg victory against Carling Cup semifinal foe Birmingham City.
The US international was very active in midfield for 90 minutes, dialing long distance to test Brums keeper Ben Foster early and seeing a shot denied in the scramble that produced Mark Noble's 13th-minute opener.
After Liam Ridgewell equalized for the visitors near the hour, Spector fed Carlton Cole to put the Hammers back up with 12 minutes left. The substitute striker largely fanned on his shot, but Foster earned the night's goat tag by somehow managing to let it through.
Spector and the Irons will travel to St. Andrew's on Jan. 26 to decide the tie.