Hammers To Meet Blackpool In Wembley Showdown

Hammers get to play Blackpool in a 90m showdown at Wembley for premiership glory after the seaside town boys managed to pip Birmingham at the post and win 3-2 on aggregate. The thriller of a match ended in a 2-2 draw after Birmingham made a courageous comeback from 2 nil down.

The Blackpool boys were well up for it in the first half and pretty much played Birmingham off the park. It did look at one stage that it was going to be a cakewalk for Blackpool until the brummies stepped up to the plate and snatched one back.Then it was 2 apiece and Birmingham just needed a goal to take it to the wire. It didn’t happen though and although it was a brave fightback, Blackpool get to meet the Hammers at Wembley on May 19th for Premiership glory. I think Chris Hughton’s team reacted far too late in the game and left it to the last minute to do anything about it.

Chris Hughton had this to say afterwards:

“Their goals killed us and gave them a lift.”

Remarkably this will be the third successive playoff for goal scorer Stephen Dobbie. The Scot has been in triumphant playoffs with both Swansea and Blackpool and is hungry for a third against the irons!

Dobbie, who is on loan at the moment from his old club Swansea had this to say about Blackpool’s win last night:

“There is something special about Blackpool. It’s why I came back. The future is bright.”

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway is out for revenge, too. He’ll remember that the Hammers have stuck eight goals past his seasiders this year and he’s out to make amends! He also has in his sights a repeat of the 2010 season when Blackpool got promoted and would like to get back to top flight football after being relegated last season.

Holloway had this to say after the match:

I’ll be trying to work out how to beat a team who finished 11 points ahead of us and won 8-1 over two games.

“I am so proud of my boys. Going back to Wembley is magnificent. We’re through to the biggest game on Earth!”

So, with that out of the way, who do we fancy to go up next year? The Hammers of course! I don’t think the Blackpool boys will be that difficult to overcome, especially as they will have in the back of their minds the eight goals we’ve put past them, too 😉

Having said that, it’s a Wembley playoff final and sometimes you have to accept that it’s anyone’s game. For example, who would have thought that Chelsea could clobber the best team in the world and dump them out of a fourth successive Champions League final? Nobody, right?

Well, this a similar game and I think the Hammers are favourites given their record against Ian Holloway’s outfit this year alone. But, on the other hand we shouldn’t be misled into thinking that Blackpool will roll over and let Vaz Té and company walk all over them, although that would be rather nice, wouldn’t it?

The Hammers are going to have to prepare “big time” for this game if Allardyce is to get premiership action again. What a way to end a long hard season, eh? COYI!!

West Ham To Face Tangerines At Wembley

After the 2-2 draw with Birmingham last night, Blackpool have made it to the play-off final at Wembley on May 19th.

Personally I would have preferred Blackpool over Birmingham as we have a very good record against them recently, with two emphatic victories in the league over them this season.

Leading 1-0 from Friday night’s first leg, the Tangerines looked to have ended the tie with two goals just a few minutes either side of half-time from Stephen Dobbie and Matt Phillips. Both goals were relatively scruffy but there were no complaints from Blackpool.

However it looked like Birmingham had not read the script and responded with two goals of their own, one from Zigic and another from Curtis Davies who looked to atone for his own goal in the first leg.

Blackpool hung on though and won the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

So off to Wembley now where they face the mighty Hammers! I am pleased with this outcome as Birmingham have been a bit of a bogey team, however our form of late has been excellent and the team really look to be gelling at the right time!

What do you think?

West Ham Going To Wem-Ber-Ley

West Ham booked their place in the Championship Play-off final at Wembley on May 19th after a 5-0 aggregate thrashing of Cardiff City.

After Malky Mackay’s recent comments about 2-0 being a very dangerous score line for West Ham, it turned out to be the platform for a great victory with The Hammers running out 3-0 winners in front of a packed house at The Boleyn, which was watched by former stars Trevor Brooking, Martin Peters, Tony Gale, Tony Cottee and celebrity fan Russell Brand to name but a few.

West Ham haven’t been to Wembley for 31 years so it could have been a nervy affair , but after a bright start from Cardiff and a possible penalty turned down it was The Hammers who took the lead in the 15th minute, Kevin Nolan heading in from a yard out after another wonderful corner from our set piece expert Matt Taylor.

After that it was one way traffic with Cardiff resigned to defeat being 3-0 down and needing to score 3 goals against an inform West Ham team. Just a few minutes after the first goal we nearly scored again, with two-goal hero from the first leg Jack Collison sending in a lovely cross which Gary O’Neil connected a volley with which hit the bar.

O’Neil then hit a beautiful curling shot from outside the box after a cutback from Vaz Te, which forced a fantastic save from Cardiff keeper Marshall who pulled off some great saves over the two legs.

Just before the break though West Ham double their lead in style from the in-form Ricardo Vaz Te who was played into the box and hit an unstoppable powerful strike across the keeper into the roof of the net. It was celebration time for The Irons!

Second half the game lost a bit of it’s energy and fluidity, not surprising as the tie was well and truly over, however Nicky Maynard managed to have the final say with a beautiful strike into the top corner after being played into the box by Henri Lansbury.

Only down side to a perfect day was Jack Collison injuring his shoulder, which I believe popped out and then popped back in again after a challenge near Cardiff’s corner flag. Let’s hope he is OK for the final as he has been in great touch for us recently.

The crowd thoroughly enjoyed this game, including me, and the bellows of “We’re going to Wembley” are still ringing in my ears this morning!

COYI!!!!

Wembley Glory In Sight As Hammers Beat Cardiff

An awesome performance by West Ham today at Upton Park that left Cardiff beaten 5-0 on aggregate has put the Hammers within a whisker of Premiership glory.

At Cardiff they were beaten 2-0 and today the boys just finished them off in style with goals coming from Ricardo Vaz Té, skipper Kevin Nolan and Nicky Maynard. Jack Collison’s brace set this game up in Cardiff and West Ham have not disappointed their fans who are itching for Premier League action next season.

And skipper Nolan’s header after just 15 minutes virtually said goodbye to Cardiff’s hopes of ever being in this tie. Then Portuguese wonder kid Vaz Té doubled the Hammers advantage just before the break with some decent finishing inside the box. West Ham were on a roll and nothing was going to stop them now! The bubbles were freely flowing and Cardiff could sense it!

Just before the final whistle Nicky Maynard, not to be outdone by his fellow Hammers, fired a beauty into the top corner of the hapless Cardiff keeper.

The Hammers are now awaiting their rivals with Birmingham hosting Blackpool on Wednesday. Blackpool have a one goal advantage after a Birmingham own goal in the first leg of the tie.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce had this say after the game:

“We’ve produced two outstanding performances. “We’ve got a massive opportunity now. Hopefully we can hold it together and produce a performance like we did today at Wembley.”

Jack Collison had to come off after dislocating his shoulder in the clash. His shoulder was “popped” back in but was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. We have no news at the moment on his condition but it doesn’t look like at this stage that he’ll miss the final.

Great work by the boys, you’ve had us on the edge of our seats at times throughout the season but this tie with Cardiff has shown us all that we deserve to be back in the Premier League. What do you think?

Collison Double Downs Cardiff

Jack Collison upset his fellow countrymen last night with both goals in the two nil win for West Ham.

Collison was all smiles last night after giving The Hammers a great away result, thus putting Sam Allardyce’s men in a superb position for the second leg at 4pm on Monday 7th at The Boleyn.

The first of his goals came in the 8th minute when Ricardo Vaz Te cut back from a ball over the top of the defence, Collison’s strike was saved but the midfielder followed up and headed in from close range. He added his second shortly before half time with a sweet strike from outside the box following a corner, it took a deflection from a Cardiff players head but we don’t care about that!

Speaking to WHUFC.com:

“The first one I think I did my hardest to miss it, to be honest! It was a great ball from Vaz [Ricardo Vaz Te] and he put it on a plate for me. I’ve hit the keeper and luckily it has bounced out for me and I’ve managed to knock it in.

“The second one, it has bounced out to me and Matty [Taylor] was in my ear telling me to shoot so I thought ‘Why not?’ and I caught it quite sweet. It took a little deflection but I think it was going in anyway!

“They all count and it’s great to get the goals, but like I said it was a real team performance.”

So we are in the driving seat ahead of the second leg but we know all about counting chickens before they hatch, however our home form has picked up of late so unless we self destruct we should have enough about us to finish the job and have a nice day out at Wembley! COYI!

 

Jack Collison Double Is Just The Ticket

A brace by Hammer Jack Collison at Cardiff last night gave the irons hope in the first leg of their playoff with the Welsh team.

Even Sam Allardyce had to admit that “it was a great night” as his boys firmly planted one foot on the Wembley turf on their road to redemption and back to the Prem.

Cardiff now have to come down to our “manor” in East London and bring it if they want any glory. It’s going to be a tough game at Upton Park for the boyos in blue and the hammers are ready to take them on.The match will be on Bank Holiday Monday so expect a large and lively crowd for that one.

Of course, anything can happen in these games as we have seen all throughout this season. I think the Hammers can hold their heads cool and keep their nerves – I can’t see it being too big a problem to put away another few goals at the Park.

Big Sam said:

“This has been a great night for us but it’s only 90 minutes gone of a two-legged game and anything can happen.”

“We nullified their threat and restricted them to minimal chances on their own ground. Tactically, we did everything right.

“There’s no pressure on Cardiff, they can come and try to claw something but this result gives us a great platform”.

I have to agree with the boss on nullifying Cardiff as the boys did a good job and to be fair Cardiff looked pretty dangerous at times throughout the game and even tested Rob Green in the first 10 minutes or so of the first half.

Ok, so it might not be a cakewalk but we are two goals up thanks to Jack Collison and Cardiff will have to attack if they want to spoil the party.

This is just what West ham needed, too. A clean sheet and a couple of goals – you can’t ask for anymore, can you?

Cardiff boss Malky Mackay said this about his team:

“We’re disappointed with their first goal and our defending”.

Make no mistake though Cardiff will come down here on Monday thinking they are two down and it’s only half time. The boys need to be on the ball and a goal or two will seal the deal I think.

The funny thing is that Collison is a Wales midfielder, so that must have gone down like a hole in the head for the boyos down at Cardiff 🙂 Cardiff have been trying to get into the Premier League for three seasons now and Collison’s double might make the Welsh side wait another year – we will see!

Cardiff v West Ham Preview

Tonight West Ham travel to Cardiff for the first leg of our promotion place play-off.

There is no injury news for Cardiff so they look to be able to select their starting eleven from a fully fit squad. Four unspecified players took knocks against Crystal Palace on the final day of the season, but are all expected to be back in contention for a place against The Hammers.

Cardiff have been beaten only once in their last 13 matches, and are looking to reach Wembley for a second time this season, having lost on penalties to Liverpool in the Carling Cup final.

The Welsh side are also looking to end their play-off nightmare having been beaten by Reading in last years semi-final and the year before lost to Blackpool in the final.

Good news for West Ham though is that we have a fully fit squad to choose from. Nolan, O’Neil and Tompkins all took knocks against Hull on Saturday, but have all been passed fit for our most important game of the season to date.

Big Sam substituted both Ricardo Vaz Te – who was looking tired to me – and Carlton Cole early into the second half in our game against Hull with one eye being on the play-off’s.

So the nerve jangling play-off’s begin tonight and even though we didn’t go up automatically, it would still be nice to win at Wembley in front of  a 90,000 strong crowd. COYI!