Monday, November 21, 2005


Never say die!

Anton Ferdinand is the hero at the Boleyn after scoring an equaliser on the final whistle against Tottenham Hotspur overnight.

Mark Noble made his first Premiership start in the absence of injured Nigel Reo-Coker and will have done no harm to his future aspirations after a good display against Edgar Davids. However, Tottenham pretty much ran the show for large periods of the game, Noble and Mullins unable to stamp their authority in the centre of the park despite all their industry. The well-organised Spurs midfield passed the ball very well and it was difficult for West Ham to get into the game.

On 16 minutes Tottenham made use of a disruption on the sidelines involving Paul Konchesky, and caught West Ham's two centre backs out of position with a lofted long pass to striker Mido. Shaka Hislop was caught in two minds whether to come out or stay on his line, and Mido made the veteran pay for his indecision by lifting a sweet header over the stranded Irons keeper.

Earlier, Mullins saw a nice left-foot strike flash just wide of the post and Yossi Benayoun saw his own shot curve past the same post, but Tottenham had the early chances with Keane, Davids, and Jenas all threatening the West Ham goal at times.

Davids soon got a yellow card after an aggravating tackle on Sheringham, and the elder statesman's petulant response earned him a yellow of his own. Teddy really needs to learn to keep himself in check.

Mark Noble later had the ball in the net but was correctly adjudged to be offside.

Soon after half-time Shaka Hislop was back to his world-class best (and I can say that now that he'll be in the World Cup), blocking Keane in the area.

At the other end Paul Robinson made a stunnning save on 68 minutes, miraculously getting a hand to Teddy Sheringham's powerful shot to tip it over the bar.

West Ham grew into the game as the clock ticked on, and made their tenacity count with their last touch of the game: Anton Ferdinand nodding in from a corner. It wasn't hard to see coming and the celebrations were quite something to behold.

Player ratings:

Hislop 6: Pretty solid, out of position for the goal but he wasn't well protected for it. Other than that a fine display.
Konchesky 7: Good reliable work from Konchy. Got forward in good positions and defended well too. Kept his head when he could have lost it.
Ferdinand 7: Blocked most of Tottenham's attacks except the one leading to the goal. Otherwise a fine display and got a goal back.
Gabbidon 6: Same as Anton except for the goal!
Repka 6: Sometimes dubious defending, but did put one or two good balls forward.
Etherington 7: Didn't start well but, surprisingly for Matty, took the game by the scruff of the neck and did some good work down the wing. It was great to see him bowl over a Tottenham player for a 50/50 ball - more of the same please Ethers!
Mullins 6: Could not control the midfield, but worked hard and did not give the ball away.
Noble 6: Same as Mullins but also went on a good run and had a goal disallowed for offside.
Benayoun 5: Didn't get involved and strayed out of position too often.
Sheringham 6: Quiet for long periods but put in some good passes. His petulance is getting out of hand.
Harewood 6: No service, but also didn't go looking for the ball often enough. Was just getting into the game when he got subbed.

Newton (on for Repka) 6: Did OK, scared everyone with a suicidal pass to the opposition in front of the area.
Zamora (on for Harewood) 6: Tried but really just continued where Harewood left off. Looks good when he heads down the wing - possibly could play there in future.
Bellion (on for Etherington) 6: Not much impact.

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