Millwall Sick As Parrots

Millwall are sick as parrots after being defeated by the Hammers on Saturday. And after the hammer’s captain Kevin Nolan being sent off after just nine minutes after a rather crude tackle on Jack Smith, Millwall must be even sicker.

They basically had the hammers at their mercy with West Ham down to ten men. But it wasn’t to be, was it? Millwall desperately needed the points and West Ham needed them too for an extra cushion at the top of the table.

People thought that Millwall would have stepped up to the plate and brought the game to the irons but West Ham managed to stretch the dockers wide and bring the game to them via the flanks.

It may be true that the winning goal that sealed the deal for the irons should have been disallowed for a foul on Millwall’s keeper Forde, but hey, i’m not complaining and that’s football, isn’t it? You win some and you lose some!

Sam Allardyce, who claimed Nolan’s dismissal was harsh, said: “I think this may be a defining moment. It was a result we deserved and we managed the disappointment of Kevin going off the field. “I am upset because it could have spoiled the game. It’s not the worst tackle in the game and if they are going to keep doing that, we will see 10 versus 11 and nobody wants that.

 

All we can say is that a great game was had by all and there was no bloodshed either, not even off the pitch.

Check out the video below showing the Hammer’s reaction to the second goal.

West Ham 3 Derby County 1

Today West Ham won again, but it was another game where a strong second-half showing was needed, as the Hammers made it five wins from six to cut the gap on leaders Southampton to just two points.

Carlton Cole, one of two changes in the starting eleven, headed in superbly after a right-wing cross from Joey O’Brien, the other alteration from the week before.

Kevin Nolan then lashed in a stunning volley for his first goal in the claret and blue at Upton Park. Mark Noble’s penalty made the game safe, meaning the only low note was a hamstring injury for Sam Baldock. On the plus side, Matt Taylor returned off the bench for a late cameo after his calf injury.

Match Report from WHUFC.com:

For Big Sam, there was much to savour about his team’s 3-1 success which made it 16 points out of a possible 18. “We have become the second-half team,” he said. “At the start of the season we were the first-half team, scoring within 15 minutes of nearly every game.

“I have to say it was tough going today in the first half. It was probably down to the system we played, the 4-4-2. We weren’t controlling midfield enough and we weren’t really at the races compared to our normal form.

“The second half performance was more like we know we can be. We saw the best of our players, better movement, better options and more fluent football.

“It is always difficult to recover when you go down one nil. We have done that twice on the trot now, not that I want to carry on like that mind. It was a great win in the end, a great second-half performance and off we go to Middlesbrough on Tuesday.”

Baldock’s loss was also keenly felt, with the striker having been the most potent threat in the opening stages. “Sam got in a couple of times,” said the manager. “His injury was another reason for our first-half performance.

“One we weren’t playing very well and two, Sam had been our strongest player for sneaking behind their back four. We had him in a couple of times in the first 15 minutes but Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan couldn’t get a grip of the game.

“So we put Jack Collison into midfield, changed to a 4-3-3 and those three talented players got us control of the match. It worked an absolute treat and they never got out of their half in the second half.”

With Julien Faubert turning in a man of the match display., the manager was asked to describe the transformation in the Frenchman’s form. “It is about the atmosphere we have, and the culture we are building at the training ground. It is about being comfortable with each other and looking forward to training. Working hard and enjoying all the benefits together by producing results.

“Julien has felt comfortable in the environment for the first time. I appreciate his ability and of course someone like Julien, we had to get the best out of if we could because it was big money when he came here. Now we are seeing the benefit of him playing consistently and consistently well.

“He was well deserving of the man of the match award and long may it continue. The bottom line is he is working hard. He is creating so many opportunities to receive the ball and hurt the opposition, that is the real benefit for Julien.”

The manager also reserved special praise for Freddie Piquionne, with another star turn off the bench after his goal at the Ricoh Arena last week. He was fouled in the area for the penalty, after tremendous build-up play by Faubert and then Collison to set him free

“For the second time, Freddie Piquionne has come on and done a really good job. The only disappointing thing is he should have scored again. He needs to crown a good performance off with a goal.

“He had two headers and one he ran into with his touch. We know he is getting the chances which is the pleasing thing.”

The manager was delighted with Nolan’s “absolutely brilliant” goal, and he was keen to remind that the skipper was not signed for his creative play, good as it can be, but as a match-winner and goalscorer from midfield who operates in the final third and in and around the penalty area.

“It was the goal of the game, and his first one here which is really pleasing. The fans saw his outstanding quality. To get one at home, I hope he can kick on from there.”

It remains to be seen what changes the manager may make at the Riverside on Tuesday, with Carlton Cole suffering from cramp in the closing stages and as Baldock is set to be out for a period of time. The likes of Papa Bouba Diop and Freddie Sears will be desperate to make the 16 as will Guy Demel, who was an unused substitute.

“It is just a disappointing loss with Sam. That is why you have to go with four strikers. At least we have Freddie, John Carew and Carlton Cole still to choose from. Bearing in mind where we came from today, I thought it was an outstanding recovery and an outstanding performance in the second half.”

So good news with The Hammers maintaining their fine form, Southampton we’re coming to get you!

Coventry 1 – 2 West Ham

West Ham came from 1 – 0 down against Coventry to win 2 – 1 and secure 3 points and a great comeback.

The Hammers had around 6,500 fans cheering them on at the Ricoh Arena, so the outstanding away day support continues.

“It is a satisfying afternoon,” Sam Allardyce said. “It is a great result to come back having gone a goal down at half-time. It is the first time we have shown this type of character.

“We were disappointed in our performance in the first half but we did something about it. Me by changing the system [from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2] and the players by performing better. They exerted pressure on Coventry which ended up paying off for us.”

That makes it four wins and a draw from the last five matches for Big Sams team, that’s promotion form right there I hope.

Hammers Win At Hull

West Ham won  at Hull today 2-0 to keep up the good recent form and in particular the excellent away form.

Carlton Cole we the man behind both goals, nodding on for Bladock to bury a chance from close range, and then slipping Jack Collison through to dispatch his shot past the keeper.

“It is a difficult place to come and play,” the manager said, acknowledging that Hull had not lost at home since August and that he was so limited in options that promising 17-year-old defender Danny Potts – son of Steve – was on the bench.

“We know how good Hull are and we set out to see what they had to offer. We defended very well in the first half but apart from Julien Faubert’s three crosses down the side, which were very good and we didn’t get on the end of, I think we could have done a bit more in possession.

“We changed it around in the second half by bringing Carlton Cole on and dropping Kevin Nolan deeper into midfield. We wanted to get control and we said let’s go and score first, let’s go and attack Hull City from the very start.”

That second-half salvo, with the Hammers roared on by 2,500 travelling fans, was what finished off the home side’s hopes. “It allowed us to win the game. First the corner – a good ball, great header, great finish with Sam pulling off to score. The second goal was great passing and movement and resulted in a one-on-one and a very composed finish from Jack.

“We had won the game so we don’t need to go and chase it. We can sit and let the opposition have possession in front of us and see the game out. We broke when we got the opportunity.

“We didn’t do that as well as I would have liked but it was a fantastic result and a great performance in terms of how we changed tactically throughout the game. We were ruthlessly clinical when it came to our good period. We nailed Hull and come away with a well-earned 2-0 victory.”

Good to see another very professional away performance, it’s certainly something I am not used to seeing from The Hammers, before if we went past Watford it was like we were jinxed not to get any points. This season has allowed us to rebuild with a new manager, new players and new outlook!

Hammers On A High After Beating Brighton

Nolan Celebrates Netting WinnerWest Ham are on a high after beating Brighton 1 – 0 at their new stadium. Brighton had been in imperious form in their new digs so it was an excellent result to turn them over although it was a very hard fought victory.

Sam Allardyce paid tribute to the defensive resilience of his West Ham United after a dogged display was enough to earn all three points.

Kevin Nolan’s solitary strike on 17 minutes settled the contest. West Ham though were missing the creativity of David Bentley, Matt Taylor and Henri Lansbury to injury and had to give away much in terms of possession. The likes of the recalled Mark Noble and Jack Collison to work overtime in midfield.

“It was an outstanding victory for us at a very difficult place to play,” Big Sam said. “They have a great crowd and atmosphere, so it is a great three points from us. Automatic promotion is generally determined on how many one-nil wins you can get and it is the same when you are trying to get in the higher end of the Premier League.

“You want to be fluent, score and be open like we have been in the previous games of course – we have scored four goals in four different games remember – but today we were a solid, hard-working unit of lads determined to try and bounce back from the disappointment at Southampton.”

Another good result, especially as we were missing some good players due to injury for this game. This is a game we would definitely have lost under previous managers in my opinion.

On another note it’s nice to see Nolan getting on the score sheet, he scored plenty for Newcastle in their promotion winning season so let’s hope he can do the same for us.