Saturday, January 12, 2008

West Ham 2 Fulham 1

Faubert and Boa Morte started the game on the bench. Neil was not named in the squad.

Fulham started by far the stronger team and their early push was soon rewarded. In the seventh minute a Simon Davies free-kick from 25 yards evaded everyone and ended up in the back of the net to give Fulham an early lead.

It took West Ham a while to get back into the game but after about fifteen minutes they started to exert some sustained pressure. In the 28th minute Ljungberg escaped Konchesky on the right wing, crossed into the box and Dean Ashton's header from 6 yards beat Niemi to make it 1-1.

From then on it was nearly all West Ham. In the 34th minute Dean Ashton shot left-footed from the centre of the penalty area twelve yards out and Niemi parried the ball onto the post. Then in the 40th minute Ashton's 18 yard left-footed drive from the right side of the penalty area was tipped over by Niemi. Carlton Cole had an effort saved by Niemi from 6 yards in the 43rd minute when he should have probably scored.

For Fulham in the 36th minute Aaron Hughes had time and space from a corner to shoot left-footed from the left side of the penalty area 6 yards out but missed wide left of the post. But West Ham ended the half by far the stronger team.

West Ham started the second half like they finished the first and created some early pressure. In the 49th minute Ljungberg found Ashton in the box but his attempt to chip Niemi never threatened Niemi. In the 54th minute Etherington passed the ball into the path of an onrushing Noble, but his shot hit Stefanovic and sailed behind for a corner. In the 58th minute Noble got into the penalty area and again hit Stefanovic with his shot, this time the ball cannoned into Niemi's hands.

West Ham continued to dominate and in the 61st minute had two chances to take the lead. Cole's header from Noble's corner was hacked off the line by Konchesky and Upson's effort from another cross drifted just wide. Three minutes later Cole almost escaped Stefanovic to be clear through on goal but the defender just got his toe to the ball.

In the 65th minute Boa Morte replaced Cole.

In the 69th Mark Noble did well to keep the ball in play and then sent a low cross into the box where Ferdinand (up for an earlier corner) drilled a right-footed shot into the bottom-left of the goal from the centre of the penalty area 12 yards out to make it 2-1 to West Ham.

Two minutes later Ashton had the chance to make the game safe but his shot from 6 yards just missed the goal wide right.

Fulham then began to show a little fight. In the 75th minute a low cross from the right evaded Green but with the goal gaping Upson managed to get to the ball first and put the ball behind for a corner. From the corner Noble cleared the ball off the goal line, then a minute later Chris Baird headed a free-kick over from three yards.

In the 82nd minute Bowyer replaced Etherington. In the 89th minute Faubert was brought on for Ljungberg.

With the last kick of the game Bullard shot from the edge of the box but his effort was deflected just wide. Despite their late flurry Fulham were unable to equalise and West Ham earned a deserved win. Come on you Irons!

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