Wednesday, March 15, 2006

West Ham 2 Bolton 1

West Ham started the game well, retaining possession and looking the better side. The early pressure paid off after nine minutes when Harewood crossed low from the right wing and Nicky Hunt, under no pressure, kicked the ball against Jaaskelainen and saw it rebound into his own goal.

After the goal Bolton began to exert more pressure. West Ham seemed to concede space in midfield and on the half-hour Reo-Coker lost the ball on the half way line. The ball was quickly passed forward to Kevin Davies who was in yards of space just outside the box. His shot was almost straight at Hislop but the keeper was wrong footed and the ball swerved just out of his reach to make it one each.

West Ham's best move of the half came just before half time when Benayoun played a one-two with Reo-Coker and shot from about five yards straight at the keeper.

Bolton started the second half brighter, West Ham, playing deep and conceding possession every time they got the ball. After 50 minutes Bolton coasted down the right wing and Gardner shot into the side of the net.

After 57 minutes West Ham came alive. In quick succession they carved out a couple of chances, which were snuffed out by the Bolton defence but seemed to give the Hammers some confidence. On 68 minutes, after good work by Harewood on the right wing again, the keeper spilled the ball to Etherington, two yards out, who couldn't dig the ball out of his feet in time to score a relatively easy goal. The ball was eventually deflected wide for a corner.

On 74 minutes Etherington crossed from the left wing but Benayoun's header went wide. A minute later Nolan in space just inside the West Ham box fired a shot just over the bar. On 82 minutes Etherington won a free kick just outside the box on the left wing. His free kick was headed by Harewood into the keeper's hands. A minute later from another free kick from the left Mullins glanced a header wide from six yards. Bolton then broke forward and Pederson just headed over from a couple of yards. Davies a minute later just got onto a dipping ball, but stretching just shot over.

Extra Time

Bolton started the brighter. After 3 minutes Pedersen headed over from one yard with only Hislop to beat. However on 5 minutes Etherington drifted in from the right wing in his own half, beat a player, knocked a lovely curving ball out to Benayoun on the right wing. Benayoun knocked an excellent cross into the box and Harewood on the front post knocked the ball past the keeper.

Pardew then substituted Reo-Coker, replacing him with Dailly. West Ham dropped deep. Om 11 minutes Davies shot over from just inside the box. On 15 minutes Davies shot hard from three yards. The ball hit Ferdinand and then a Bolton player before being cleared.

Second Half

Sheringham and Zamora came on for Ashton and Etherington. Harewood moved out to the right wing and Benayoun played on the left. On 21 minutes Scaloni had a long range shot saved by the keeper. On 24 minutes Nolan shot straight at Hislop from 25 yards. On 25 minutes Jaaskelainen rushed out of his area, mishit his clearance, Sheringham tried a long shot from about 40 yards, the ball was deflected by a Bolton player and Zamora failed to head in from a couple of yards out. However Zamora did well in the remaining minutes to hold the ball up when he received it and West Ham held out to win.

Two games to Cardiff!

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