Sunday, April 16, 2006


Hammers Hold on to Narrow Victory!

So my first visit to Upton Park in 2 years saw the claret n blue army pick up a valuable 3 points in a fast fading league season.

Pre Match

On arrival at Upton Park tube station the day was starting to look like things could not be better until we arrived at the pie n mash shop to be greeted with a queue the size of centrelink on benefits day pouring from the door. With barely an hour til kick off it looked like the long awaited pre match ritual of pie n mash would have to wait another 2 years to be fulfilled - bad start! However a quick visit to the Duke of Edinburgh soon restored parity to the day - nothing like a pint of stella to re-allign the planets.

Kick off

Once we scoured the dizzy heights of the Dr Martins West Stand Upper Tier and made our way to our seats, we were greeted by a fantastic view. We were pleasantly surprised as we did not need our binoculars afterall and we could see every corner of the pitch from our Row X seats. An electric atmosphere from the hammers fans reflected the terrific season we've had in our return to the Premiership and it took us a good 10 minutes to even realise there were Man City fans in the ground.

If our players had been shellshocked from the result against Chelsea last week, you wouldn't notice it as we came out of the blocks at a ferocious pace trying and mostly succeeding to keep City on the back foot. A lively first half performance from Bobby Zamora saw him foiled on several occasions by the smartness of the City back line. But Bobby soon got the better of the City rearguard as he turned just inside the opposing half and made a pacy run down the left before cooly threading through the city defence to an unmarked Shaun Newton who with his marker was left for dead back on the half way line, slotted home what would prove to be the deciding goal.

City responded well and almost found themselves level as a sublime chip from Trevor Sinclair was plumeting towards the West Ham goal it was bizarely followed in to the net by an offside Micah Richards who was deamed to have interfered with play and the goal was promptly dissallowed.

If the Hammers had been slick in the first half then the second half threatened to deteriorate in a similar manner which shocked us all last week at Chelsea. City started the half like a team with the belief to claw something from a game which was far from being settled. Trevor Sinclair looked desperate to get a result against his former employers as he terrorised Paul Konchesky down the right flank. But it was through the middle that the ex Hammers favourite almost caused us embarrassment as he was allowed to cut straight through the pitch from his own half to eventually create a one on situation in which Jimmy Walker brilliantly saved low to his left.

It seemd enevitable that City would eventually break the deadlock and Darius Vassell soon put the ball into the net to the delight of the travelling City fans including two northern monkeys in front of me who had managed to blag tickets in the home end. But they were to be denied by a hairline offside decision which was greated by chants from the home ground of "Sit down, Shut up, Sit down, Shut up" :-)

Despite the home defence's best efforts to gift City a point, West Ham managed to hold on to their slender victory.

Team Ratings

Jimmy Walker 8 - some great saves to deny City when too often the defence left him exposed.

Paul Konchesky 6 - All too often caught out too far up the field leaving space for Sinclair to exploit.

Danny Gabbidon 6 - Too short! In the second half was very nearly embarressed by a ball he allowed to bounce over his head to give City a goal scoring opportunity. Cleaned up quite well in the first half but scrapy in the 2nd.

James Collins 7 - Looked our best defender on the day although was made to work hard as all too often cleaned up Scaloni's mess down the right.

Lionel Scaloni 4 - Out paced, out thought and totally out of his depth. Embarrasing. On this performance bring Dailly back in.

Shaun Newton 7 - Promising runs down the right and scored his first goal for West Ham. Good performance from 10k.

Nigel Reo-Coker 6 - One of the more lacklustre performances from Nigel. Pardew has commented that this lad needs to learn to perform against the lesser sides as well as the big guns - I think he's right.

Hayden Mullins 7 - Tidied up very nicely and kept some calm in midfield. Great link up play. Even showed a nice turn of skill.

Yossi Benayoun 8 - Worked very hard, creative but too often it came to nothing - very little to produce for without the presence of Harewood.

Bobby Zamora 8 - Again worked very hard, showed glimpses of skill and pace but too often made the wrong decision and was out thought by City's defence. However played a very clever ball through to Newton for the goal.

Dean Ashton (or was it Johnny Hartson??) 5 - Out of sorts. Looked like a championship player today.


Marlon Harewood 7 - added pace down the right but caught offside too often.
Carl Fletcher 7 - added steel into the midfield.
Teddy Sheringham 6 - Didn't get involved too much but an improvment on Ashton.

Man of the Match: Walker - Pushed close by Zamora for the gong but made 2 critical saves to keep the points.

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