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.

Irons Sail On At Cardiff

The Irons sailed on to a nice win on Sunday against Cardiff City and boost their chances of returning to top flight football in the process.

The Hammers closed the gap to just one point on Sunday after coasting to a win over Cardiff City. The hammers won a convincing 2-0 and now sit just one point behind leaders Southampton.

The irons started out four points behind Southampton and just a point in front of Reading, who are third in the table, in the race for promotion to the Prem.

The Hammers left Cardiff with their heads held high with a comfortable win over a team that put the willies up Liverpool in the League Cup final last week.

Kevin Nolan, who has just come back from a three match ban slipped the ball coolly past Cardiff keeper David Marshall to give the visitors the lead just two minutes before the break.

The Boyos had problems in producing the gutsy display that gave them a draw against Liverpool, only to be defeated on penalties. Marshall also had to save from Nicky Maynard to keep the sore from soaring, too.

Peter Whittingham managed to hit the inside of a post from a free kick and that effort gave the Bluebirds some hope but in the end it never came.

In the end it was Allardyce’s team, who still have a game in hand over The Saints who took the 3 points in the 77th minute when irons defender George McCartney beat David Marshall from a tight angle to seal the deal.

Palace Frustrates The Irons

Crystal Palace not only frustrated promotion prospects West Ham with a goalless draw but the Upton Park crowd also voiced their opinions at each half of the game after a mediocre performance from their side.

According to West Ham’s manager, Sam Allardyce, his stars were upset about being booed off the field after their poor display against Crystal Palace which ended in a 0-0 draw.

Although the Hammers managed to keep all 11 players on the pitch against Palace 🙂 , they just could not find a way past their guard as Palace were so resolute. Keeper, Green kept the hammers in the game and then some poor finishing after the break put the tin lid on a rather poor afternoon for the home side.

Allardyce said:

“As a manager you have to take it but one or two of the players in the dressing room were a little disappointed to get booed because we are at the top of the league”. “You build up the expectation as we have done recently having done so well, and we didn’t deliver today. But the fans have to stay with us and have to be patient, and then we’ll all benefit in the end.”

The only person who felt like he’d won something was Palace manager Dougie Freedman, who said:

“I’m pleased we could come to a big club like West Ham and force them to change shape and personnel,” he said. “West Ham will always cause you problems but we stuck to our game plan and I felt a draw was pretty much a fair result.”

The hammers next match is on 4th March against Cardiff City at the Cardiff City Stadium and kick-off is at 12:45. Cardiff will be smarting from their loss against Liverpool in the Carling Cup on penalties and will be “up for it”, make no mistake lads!

Hooiveld Nabs Late Equalizer To Save Saints

It looked like the match was in the bag but Jos Hooiveld’s late equaliser earned a point for Southampton as the Championship’s top two clubs had to share the points at Upton Park.

Mark Noble stepped up for the irons and put them in front from the penalty spot before the break after being fouled by Southampton’s Billy Sharp.

The Southampton frontman was also involved in an incident that saw Matt Taylor sent off just before West Ham’s goal.

Saint’s striker Sharp was later denied by keeper Rob Green but equalised when Hooiveld tapped in from close range.

The result saw leaders West Ham united maintain their one-point advantage over Southampton, but both clubs missed out on a golden opportunity to inflict a significant blow on their nearest rival in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League – a place where the Hammers are destined to go back to 🙂

FA Charges Morrison Over Twitter Comments

New signing Morrison has been formally charged by the FA over his remarks on Twitter.

Ravel Morrison, the 19 year old who was signed just before the transfer deadline from Manchester United is said to have made the comments on popular social networking site Twitter in response to some remarks.

Just last week the FA wrote to Morrison asking for his comments and observations on the matter. The FA have now formally charged the player. A statement on the FA website read: “West Ham United’s Ravel Morrison has been charged under FA Rule E3 for use of abusive and/or insulting words including a reference to a person’s sexual orientation.”

This incident is not the best start to Morrison’s West Ham career and as we mentioned in previous posts, he was also involved in other controversies whilst at Manchester United. Despite rating the youngster highly and saying that he was one of the finest prospects to come out of the club in recent years, United allowed Morrison to leave.

Ravel Morrison, who has yet to play a game for the irons, has until 4 p.m this Friday to respond to the FA’s charges.