Hammers Promotion Dented By Reading

West Ham’s promotion campaign took a nasty turn for the worse as the irons got “hammered” 2-4 by Reading at Upton Park this afternoon.

West Ham started off fine and went one nil up. Big Sam was happy and the fans were loving it. As the game went on though, it turned into a complete disaster for the claret and blues. The Royals thus take a nice 4 point lead over West Ham as the two battle it out for the second automatic promotion spot. Talk about squeaky bum from Sir Alex and Mancini as the two Manc clubs battle it out (Man City drew with Sunderland 3-3 btw), this is far worse. I can’t take it any more lads!

We’ve drawn the last five game and slipped out of the comfort zone and so it was nice to see Carlton Cole stick one in just before half time! Maybe we can add that this was probably the Irons’ best performance this season! What went wrong, then?

Totally against the run of play, Kaspars Gorkss equalised from a corner in the 44th minute and then, in first-half stoppage time, Noel Hunt fired Reading into an unlikely lead.

The second half got under way and Reading man Ian Harte added a third from a penalty kick and, although Irons’ Ricardo Vaz Te pulled a goal back, any hopes of a comeback or another “draw” were completely wiped out by a disputed fourth goal from Mikele Leigertwood just six minutes from time. By this time many Hammer fans just couldn’t bare to watch and started filing out.

League leaders Saints, who are sitting two points ahead of Reading in the table, have just lost 0-3 to Blackpool at Bloomfield Road, ouch!

Hammers Dominate But Come Away With Draw

I can’t believe it neither can big Sam. Yet another draw for the Irons after a dominating game by the boys in claret and blue!

Burnley were quite simply outplayed by the Hammers at Turf Moor in this npower Championship game but were not rewarded with the points. The Hammers were even 2 nil down at half time but roared back into life after the break.

Kevin Nolan and James Tomkins put the Irons back in the frame and levelled the score and after numerous chances went begging, Allardyce was left flabbergasted to see his Hammers leave Turf Moor with just a point.

I’m absolutely totally and utterly flabbergasted that we didn’t leave Burnley with a victory under our belts. From the very start, we had chance after chance after chance and then incredibly went 2-0 down. Even then, we had a couple of chances before half-time that we couldn’t put in the back of the net.

“We slipped up defensively on a couple of occasions and they’ve scored two goals completely against the run of play after playing so well.

“We changed the system a bit and went for it a little bit more. The comeback was fantastic but it wasn’t really a comeback because we were already there. We increased the amount of opportunities we could score from, but unfortunately we fell foul of not converting our opportunities into goals.

“We must have had four or five one-on-ones, we’ve hit the post and had a goal disallowed. We had 20 attempts and eleven shots on target and Burnley’s total was five shots on target in the entire 90 minutes and they’ve scored two goals.

A fifth draw in a row means that the Hammers travel to Peterborough United for their game in-hand on Tuesday knowing only a victory will keep automatic promotion in their own hands.

Having said that, Sam Allardyce has quite rightly demanded that his strikers start finding the target sooner rather than later.

Big Sam said:

The players have got to find the courage to take their chances. They have got to have the nerve, composure and professionalism to convert them into goals.
“We cannot wait any longer. We’ve got to put the ball in the net when we get the chances. Our conversion rate has to be a lot better.

Like all Hammers fans I do hope they come through at Peterborough and claim a victory – all this tense, nervy stuff is getting to me!

Yet Another Draw For The Irons

Promotion chasing West Ham United were left deluded last night as Middlesbrough’s Tony Mowbray felt his side lay bare the Hammers’ fans delusion of grandeur. The irons were held to a fourth draw in a row. The Upton Park crowd are none too pleased with their team’s performance.

Middlesbrough manage to stifle West Ham’s advances for the first sixty minutes of the match until Abdoulaye Faye broke the deadlock with a neat header into the visitor’s net. This was Faye’s first goal for the Hammers but the home side’s joy was to be short lived as Middlesbrough substitute Bart Ogbeche levelled the scores late into the match on with an awesome solo goal.

This draw has now left Allardyce’s side outside the automatic promotion places and Middlesbrough boss Mowbray pointed out that the Upton Park fans’ lofty opinion of their club maybe counting against them:

“I thought our team came and did what was expected. It was our prerogative to come here and make life difficult for them; to see if we could create some anxiety in the stadium,” Mowbray said.

“I think we did that. The crowd get frustrated, every bad pass, every interception, there’s a groan.

“I think the expectation of the fan base is they should be in the Premier League. They see it almost as an insult that they’re playing their football in the Championship.”

A few Tweets of the week seemed to sum up how Upton Park feel about the situation:

We were shocking! Big Sam is going to cost us promotion and the club with his tactics, formations and players – @joebarr1973

Five draws in a row is unacceptable. Allardyce got the substitutions completely wrong. Bringing on Carew instead of Baldock was madness – @JeganWHU

We lacked creativity, flair, width and guile. I don’t know why Sam doesn’t give Lansbury and Morrison a chance. We were really poor on Tuesday night – @KwamsMoriarty

We cannot be happy after a fourth straight draw. I am still trying to get over another shocking home performance where Maynard and Cole go of to be replaced by an out of form Collison and the snail Carew. What is Big Sam thinking? We could be out of the automatic promotion race by Saturday evening – @stevetiley47

Sack Sam now, that performance was shocking. The football is absolutely dire – @JimboNorwood

The tactical substitutions at 1-0 were huge mistakes. West Ham need offensive coaching with nice passing instead of long balls – @FrencHammer

I think Big Sam has got to teach the players one-touch football at speed, not long punt football. Bring back Zola, at least we passed the ball then – @prolaz22

West Ham are sinking into the quagmire of the play-offs. If they do they will not make it to the final – @Apisadmirer

We have to earn the right to go up and we just haven’t done that this season… Us supporters turn up and know exactly what we’re gonna get – @louisb91

We were not good enough again but I can’t understand the ‘Sack Allardyce’ movement. It is possible to play 4-5-1 well you know. Our players just are not good enough – @bab_whu

Stats:

West Ham (4-2-3-1): Green; McCartney, Faye, Collins O’Brien; Tomkins, Noble; Maynard (Collison 71); Taylor, Nolan (Baldock 87); Cole (Carew 71). Subs: Lansbury, Morrison.

Middlesbrough(4-3-3): Steele; Bennett, Bates, Hines, Hoyte; Smallwood (Martin 80), Thomson (Ogbeche 80), Bailey; Emnes (Zemmama 76), Jutkiewicz, Hammill. Subs: Arca, McMahon

Referee: S Mathieson (Cheshire)

Hammers Snatch Late Equalizer At Elland Road

The hammers snatched a deserved late equalizer at Elland Road this afternoon after going one nil down to Leeds United.

As far as possession was concerned it was more or less 50 50 and for the whole match it was anybody’s game.Both teams had everything to play for this afternoon with the hammers sitting in 3rd place behind Reading and The Saints and neil Warnock’s leeds United bringing up the rear in tenth position in the championship.

The irons now have 68 points and sit behind Reading who are on 73 points after thrashing Barnsley 0-4 away.Southampton stay top with 75 points after beating Iron’s rival Millwall 2-3 at Cold Blow Lane.

On 35 minutes leeds got a free kick just outside the Hammers’ penalty area after Matt Taylor was adjudged to have handled the ball. Leads man Snodgrass sent in a lovely curling effort that just went wide of Rob Green’s post. After the free kick Taylor continued to have words with the linesman as he felt he had been judged too harshly.

West Ham have been unbeaten in their last seven games with 3 wins and 4 draws – the draws all being a Upton Park, by the way. on 40 minutes, Adam Clayton for Leeds fashioned a chance and struck just wide of keeper Green’s post – looks like Rob had that one covered, though.

3,000 West Ham fans made the trip to Elland Road and the last five minutes of the first half saw a flurry of attacks from the irons. A very competitive first half and anybody’s game!

After the break Snodgrass found the net on 47 minutes from a throw in but the ref already blew his whistle for a scuffle he saw on the near post. Lucky escape for the Irons!

Leeds pressed on regardless and White found space to shoot which ended up wide and to the left of Rob Green’s post. With 53 minutes on the clock Connolly headed into the arms of Green. 55 minutes saw Maynard off and Carlton Cole on.

On 69 minutes Paul Connolly with a flick of the head failed to find the net and was saved by the Robster. Connolly has yet to score for leeds and that might have been his first goal.

With just 8 minutes remaining Neil Warnock was praying for a late goal to give leeds a 3 point lifeline and it came. Danny Webber’s cross found Connolly who headed against the crossbar only to fall for Luciano Becchio to shoot home and give Green no chance. leeds were ecstatic with their goal and this happens to be the fourth late goal that Leeds score against the Hammers in a row!

The Hammers then went on to equalize on 89 minutes and grab a share of the spoils, too! Danny Collins headed home from a cross from Mark Noble to level the scores at 1 apiece. The ref adds 4 minutes of extra time and it’s end to end stuff. On 93 minutes O’neil could have stolen the game for West Ham united but it wasn’t to be and ends up a draw.

Leeds United
01 Lonergan
02 Connolly
22 Lees
28 White (Webber – 76′ )
33 Robinson Booked
48 O’Dea
08 Brown Booked
15 Clayton
10 Becchio
23 Snodgrass
44 McCormack (Forssell – 76′ )
Substitutes
29 Thompson
16 Pugh
20 Nunez
18 Forssell
25 Webber

West Ham United
01 Green
03 McCartney
05 Tomkins (O’Neil – 46′ )
15 Faye
17 O’Brien
25 Collins
04 Nolan
10 Collison (Morrison – 81′ )
14 Taylor
16 Noble Booked
08 Maynard (Cole – 56′ )
Substitutes
13 Henderson
23 Morrison
32 O’Neil
07 Baldock
09 Cole

Referee: Walton
Attendance: 33,366

West Ham United 1 Doncaster Rovers 1

Ouch! Blooming Doncaster Rovers had to get in on the act, didn’t they? Hammers’ Kevin Nolan put the home side ahead early in the first half and although the irons had a lot of the game it was a confident Doncaster who stuck one in on 74 minutes in front of a packed Upton Park.

This puts a dent in the Hammers’ promotion campaign but I’m sure they will “carry on regardless”. Tuesday night’s game for Rovers against Nottingham Forest must have gave them oodles of confidence as they showed it at Upton Park in front of a crowd of 34,650. These are amazing crowds and I think it’s a glimmer of what’s to come for when the Irons get back to the Premier League.

Doncaster seemed to control most of the game but you would never have thought it the way the Hammers left their traps! It was 100 mph stuff in the first ten minutes but alas it was to be short lived by a quality Rovers performance.

Ricardo Vaz Te nearly struck for the hosts from a Kevin Nolan pass only for the ref to disallow the goal for a foul on Rovers’ Pascal Chimbonda. Carlton Cole then struck the crossbar with a lovely curling shot from the edge of the box.

All this piled on pressure from the Hammers paid off as on 9 minutes. Rovers’ keeper Carl Ikeme parried James Tomkins’ header from Vaz Te’s cross and Kevin Nolan was around to bundle the ball home from close range.

This now looked like a West Ham win all the way but as it turned out this was the Hammers best spell of the game and it had just passed!

Doncaster’s best chance of the half came five minutes from half time when Giles Barnes got up well and turned Diouf’s inviting cross just over the crossbar.

After the break it was pretty much the same story and West Ham took ten minutes to even register a chance when Carlton Cole turned a header over the bar from close range. Rovers continued to pile on the pressure and it was beginning to show on West Ham.

But as just when it looked as though lady luck would evade Doncaster Rovers, they stole the equaliser with 74 minutes on the clock.

Diouf’s low cross scuffed off Gillett’s boot as he tried to turn it in but it bounced away from Green allowing Coppinger to scramble it home.

Rovers deserved a goal and they nearly got number two into the bargain if it weren’t for keeper Rob Green doing a great job and producing an awesome save.

In the late stages of the game, the Hammers did manage to put some pressure on Rovers but without really testing Ikeme.

The Iron’s best chance came when a corner fell to Jack Collison who found himself in acres of space just ten yards out but struck wide. That was it from Upton Park. What do you think, are we going up to the Premiership on this performance or what?

West Ham: Robert Green, George McCartney, Kevin Nolan (Danny Collins, 80), James Tomkins, Jack Collison, Ricardo Vaz Te (Sam Baldock, 23), Matt Taylor, Abdoulaye Faye, Mark Noble, Henri Lansbury (Gary O’Neil, 57), Carlton Cole

Substitutes not used: Nicky Maynard, Ravel Morrison.

Doncaster Rovers: Carl Ikeme, Pascal Chimbonda, Shelton Martis (Sam Hird, 75), Habib Beye, Tommy Spurr, Kyle Bennett, Giles Barnes, Simon Gillett, James Coppinger, El Hadji Diouf, Mamadou Bagayoko (John Oster, 61).

Substitutes not used: James Hayter, Fabien Robert, Herita Ilunga.

Referee: Andy D’Urso.