Sunday, May 11, 2008

West Ham 2 Villa 2

Ferdinand was back from injury to partner Tomkins at the back with Neil returning to right back. Solano started on the right wing and Boa Morte on the left.

In glorious sunshine the game started at a fair crack. The first chance of the game came to Zamora on 60 seconds. However Zamara could only head Solano's cross wide and high of the Villa goal. Two minutes later, at the other end of the pitch, Ashley Young fired in a right-footed shot from the right side of the penalty area 12 yards out and the ball hit the far post.

In the seventh minute West Ham won a free-kick just outside the Villa area when Ferdinand was brought down by Bouma. Solano curled the free-kick into the net for a goal for West Ham. Carson should have done better in goal.

After the West Ham goal Villa started to pile on some pressure and in the next few minutes both Parker and Neil were booked for rash challenges. It took Villa only five minutes to get the equaliser. Ashley Young's earlier effort that hit the bar should have warned West Ham, but no - they let him have another go from roughly the same spot and this time his effort hit the back of the net. Young was played in by a little midfielder whose name eludes me.

In the 15th minute Boa Morte was clean through on goal but the referee decided to stop the game because Tomkins was down injured. In the 23rd minute Carew just failed to connect properly with a Petrov through ball, a decent connection and Villa would have taken the lead. In the 23rd minute Young's picked out Agbonlahor with a through-ball, but he lashed his shot well wide.

In the 35th minute Zamora shot right-footed from the right side of the penalty area, 18 yards out, but his shot was blocked by Bouma. In the 37th minute Mark Noble shot right-footed from 20 yards but missed right of the goal. In the 43rd minute Carew got his head to a Young cross but sent his near-post effort wide. A minute later Zamora shot from 18 yards and missed left.

In injury time at the end of the first half Zamora's shot left-footed from just outside the box. His shot beat Carson in goal but just flew wide.

After the break Pantsil came on instead of McCartney (hamstring). Within 40 seconds of the restart Boa Morte forced a save from Carson after a run at the Villa defence and a 20 yard effort. In the 49th minute
Carew shot right-footed from the left side of the penalty area from 12 yards and Green saved. Then in the 52nd minute Carew had a header cleared off the line by Noble.

In the 56th minute Reo-Coker (I remember his name now) shot from twelve yards, his shot was parried by Green. Barry pounced on the rebound and scored from 12 yards.

Two minutes after the Villa goal Solano took another great free-kick. This time Carson managed to tip the ball around the post. From the resulting corner Ashton got his head to the ball only to see Mellberg block his shot on the line. Two minutes after that and Zamora headed a Boa Morte cross against the post from 12 yards.

West Ham continued to pile on the pressure. In the 62nd minute Parker shot over the bar from 20 yards. In the 65th minute Mark Noble forced a save from Carson with an 18 yard effort.

At this point elsewhere Sp#rs decided to roll over and die - and Liverpool scored two goals in five minutes to secure tenth place for West Ham.

In the 73rd minute Cole came on for Zamora. However an exciting game up until this point then seemed to peter out. In the 80th minute Sears came on for Solano. In the 81st minute Ashton shot from 12 yards but missed right.

With two minutes left of the ninety minutes and the game seemingly over - enter Deano. Dean Ashton drilled a right-footed shot first time into the bottom right of the goal from 20 yards to earn West Ham their final point of the season.

A reasonable result to end a reasonable season.

Man United win the title. Reading, Birmingham and Derby are relegated.


At 5:55 PM, Anonymous Ian the Hammer said...

Quite happy with the season overall. I don't know if it was because they beat us 6-0, we have been tonked many timess, by many teams, but I was very happy to see Reading go down. If I remember correctly, they seamed to gloat more than most.

At 7:30 PM, Anonymous portugal said...

I think "reaonable result to end a reasonable season", as you describe is pretty accurate. I think it showed character that we kept fighting til the final whistle to get the equalizer. Although we created many chances,including in the second half,it didn t seem like the equalizer was going to come. So when I did , I was very surprised,although in fairness ,I think we deserved it. There were periods in this match in which I think we played some of our best attacking football of the season. Even though we didn t score from it, the build-up to Zamora s near miss just before the break was outstanding.

There were a couple of intersting aspects to the game to me. One was the quality of Solano s free kick for the goal, which to me is evidence of why we should keep him. He has the ability,even at 33, to come up with some very key goals . The other thing was how well Boa Morte performed - easily his best day of the season,and on several occassions ,stopped NRC right in his tracks. It s hard to know what to make of it ,given the comments from the player recently. Was this him putting himself in the shop window, or was this him trying to end the season on a good note ,and perhaps give the fans a reason to get off his back ,and view him with an open mind next season? But the way he performed today showed what he is still capable of.

To have held onto tenth place ,and to have at least gotten a point whilst doing so,when it wasn t likely that we were going to get that point, will hopefully lift the team s morale a bit. I think it s important to enter the close season on a positive note from a confidence point of view ,and I think the result we got today, and the style of football we played today,achieved that .

As for Ian s comment,I tend to agree. I found that in recent years Reading fans seemed to dwell excessively on the fact that we took Pardew from them. There have been many times,both in and outside of the Premiership ,when we have been somewhat embarrassed by Reading,so I m glad to be shot of them. Having said that , I have no beef with Coppell himself, he generally is polite ,and not a whinger. I m also glad to see Fulham stay up, and am not reallu surprised that they pulled off, as I think that McBride and Bullard are 2 of the most under-appreciated players in the league,and that despite the former s age. Fulham to me, at least tru to get the ball down and pass it ,and play proper football, in contrast to a club like Bolton. I don t have much sympathy for Birmingham,tho I wud rather they have stayed up than Bolton. When we were relegated in 2003, Birmingham fans were particularly obnoxious to us on the day,so in a sense I view this as payback.

Finally ,I m happy Chelsea did not win the title, as I don t think the way they play is worthy of a title-holder. And their fans are a disgrace for harassing their manager,despite the fact that he has got them into a Champion s League final. It says quite a bit to me that ,in the end, Man U didn t need to rely on goal difference. They produced the goods on a horrible pitch at Wigan ,and Chelsea didn t.

At 8:01 PM, Anonymous Lew said...

It was a good way to end the season, entertaining game and we played some decent football at times against a very good side. Bring on next season, good to finish in the top ten.

And nice to see Nobby score on what will be his farewell appearance in English football I feel. As much as we love him I really think he's on his way. A good servant to the Premiership and some good contributions this season. Thanks Solano.

I was quite sad to see Reading go to be honest. I don't mind them, I don't mind Fulham either though and I suppose one had to go today, that's just the way it goes. Thinking about what supporters of the three clubs at the bottom today must have been going through makes me glad to see West Ham not in that position, or indeed anywhere near that position, again this season. We may complain at mid table finishes and it may be less exciting, but christ, is there anything worse than going through that?!


At 2:08 AM, Anonymous Chris // NYC Hammers said...

For the people commenting on Reading going down, we should be thrilled! You know why? FIFA '08 decided that West Ham's two major rivals in season mode are the Spuds and Reading. I didn't know the fued over Pardew was so huge.

I think 10th place was about expectation for us this season. Competing for a Euro spot would have been a huge success, but I think anything even hinting towards the relegation zone would have been disaster. I think ending the season with a draw was suitable because I feel like this season was one long draw anyways.

I'll second Portugal's comments on LBM, who looked much better even though he still can't put touch on a through ball.

My bold prediction for the day: Scott Parker will be Captain next season.

He definitely looks the part on the pitch, and considering he's been the best linkup between the back and front it just makes sense. Thoughts, anyone?

At 7:10 AM, Anonymous portugal said...

It s hard to disagree with Parker being captain. The guy gives 110 per cent every time ,is highly skilled, and has good discipline on the pitch. In terms of leading by example ,I don t think there is a better candidate,although Upson also strikes me as a reasonable choice.


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