West Ham United 3 Birmingham City 3: Match Report

Ricardo Vaz Té’s late penalty saved West Ham’s bacon yesterday as the match ended 3 apiece against Birmingham City.

The first half of the match was something out of a horror story and threatened to damage West Ham’s promotion chances. Snatching just a point was not what the Hammers really wanted but they showed incredible spirit to come back from 3-1 down at the break.

The Hammers knew that Saints had won their game and were now 7 points adrift. With the pressure now on West ham could not afford to waste this opportunity of a game in hand. Sadly though, this is what they did and gifted Birmingham their goals to make it 1-3 at half time.

The lads from Birmingham punished the Irons for some sloppy football especially from the midfield where the ball was given away far too many times.Birmingham scored twice, both from the home side’s errors that saw them give the ball away in the midfield. Ricardo Vaz Té showed courage and scored almost straight after to make it 1-2 but then Birmingham got a corner and some defensive errors cost West Ham a third. The Hammers were booed off the park at half time.Big Sam Allardyce could only shake his head at such a poor performance from his lads.

After the break, Carlton Cole scored to make it 2 apiece and gave an invigorated West Ham some hope. West Ham had a lot of possession early on in the second half but it wasn’t used wisely as the best chances fell to their opponents with Rob Green keeping the Hammers’ hopes alive with a reflex save from Chris Burke. Curtis Davies also headed wide from a Jordan Mutch corner.

Allardyce was livid as two possible spot kicks were not given. Gary O’Neil went to ground in the penalty area after a challenge by Ramage but no penalty was given.Then West Ham’s players were angry as another penalty appeal went begging after Carlton Cole went down while tussling with Steven Caldwell in the penalty area.

West ham’s comeback was finally complete when Burke handled Henri Lansbury’s shot in the box, allowing Ricardo Vaz Té to rescue a point from the penalty spot for the Hammers that he confidently knocked in.

Match details

West Ham (4-4-2): Green; A Faye, Tomkins, Reid, McCartney (Collins 34); O’Neil, Noble (Baldock 82), Nolan; Vaz Te, Cole, Maynard (Lansbury 45).

Subs: Taylor, Demel.

Booked: Nolan, Lansbury.

Birmingham (4-5-1): Myhill; Ramage, Davies, Caldwell, Murphy; Burke, Fahey, N’Daw (Zigic 67), Mutch, Elliott; King (Townsend 85).

Subs: Doyle (gk), Huseklepp, Redmond.

Booked: N’Daw, Zigic, Burke.

Referee: Jonathan Moss.

Hammers Demolish Barnsley 4 – 0

It was a nice sight yesterday watching the Hammers demolish Barnsley 4 nil away.

This result gives the Hammers some hope as it means they have both Southampton and Reading within touching distance. If this was ever a time for the “squeaky bum” syndrome, then this is it as the top two can feel the heat of the irons breathing down their necks.It was a great match and I must admit that Barnsley had a nightmare in defence which started with a goal mouth scramble and a toe poke in for the hammers’ captain to make it one nil.

With Reading beating Leeds United earlier on, the Hammers started the game 7 points behind and needed to produce the goods if they were ever to steal a promotion place. But once captain Nolan tapped the ball in from a Nicky Maynard corner they never looked back.

23 minutes into the game and it was Maynard who got onto the scoresheet after a nice piece of play with his captain. then it was Mark Noble’s turn just 12 minutes after to crash home a third for the Hammers. Noble curled the ball in from a tight angle to find the net and also helped the visitors to a new club record of 12 away wins in a season. Nice one Noble!

We found a cutting edge and it was a fantastic, professional performance,” said the West Ham manager, Sam Allardyce.

“We’ve broken the club record for away wins in a season, which is a great achievement. It’s very pleasing because it’s always difficult to play away from home. It’s just a pity we haven’t won more games at home.”

With the second half under way Ricardo Vaz Tê added a fourth goal for the Hammers against his old side from close range. We hope with this performance, last months five straight draws in a row is a thing of the past as the Upton Park boys have seen Reading, who are the new leaders, cruise past the them.

Barnsley looked shell shocked after the game who still have a 9 point cushion to fall back on at the bottom of the league table.

“The pressure was on us after Reading won earlier in the day,” Allardyce said. “Winning was the only thing for us and we did that. We did that with style and showed we could handle the pressure situation.

“We now face Birmingham City on Monday and that will be a tough test for us. We need to try and grasp another three points and see where we go from there.”

Allardyce can spend Saturday enjoying his win but as he said, “there’s a tough game on Monday against Birmingham”. If the hammers can grab some points there then there’s hope. Surely the hammers, after beating Barnsley on their own turf at Oakwell will be well up for the game at Birmingham. Do not disappoint us lads, we are counting on you 🙂

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!

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.