Saturday, December 29, 2007

West Ham 2 Man Utd 1

Matthew Upson
West Ham started the game well with some early pressure and a shot from Lucas Neil inside the first minute missing by a matter of yards. In the eighth minute West Ham should have taken the lead when Mullins was put through. His shot from the right of the six yard box hit the post and bounced out to Noble. Noble had a more or less open goal in front of him but his five yard shot flew over the bar.

Having missed a sitter it was almost inevitable that Man Utd would score from about their only shot of the half. In the 14th minute Giggs crossed into the box from the left and Ronaldo headed home from 6 yards to give Man Utd the lead.

West Ham finished the half the stronger of the two sides and managed to carve out a few opportunities to level the game. Solano came close when he spotted Kuszczak off his line, but his 25 yard shot was just tipped over the bar by a back-pedalling keeper. In the 41st minute a Noble cross was headed over by Cole from 6 yards.

West Ham started the second half the better team and had a chance early on with a Solano free-kick in the 47th minute. Solano from 25 yards put the ball wide of the left hand post but in the process seemed to pull a muscle.

Solano had to be replaced with Pantsil. Eight minutes later West Ham's luck deteriorated even further when Curbishley was forced to bring on Ferdinand for Parker.

Having lost probably their best two players at the start of the second half it looked like a win would be beyond West Ham. The win looked impossible in the 66th minute when Spector handled the ball in his own area and the referee gave Man Utd a penalty. Ronaldo smashed the penalty low to the left of the goal and missed by a whisker.

From then on it was all West Ham. In the 77th minute West Ham won two corners in succession. Noble took the second from the right wing and Ferdinand rose and headed the ball down and past the diving Kuszczak from four yards. In the 82nd minute Noble crossed a free kick from wide on the right wing into the box. An onrushing Upson jumped the highest and headed the ball home from 7 yards.

Man Utd finally came alive for the last few minutes but never truly troubled Green.



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