Saturday, 17th September 2005
The Hammers secured all three points with two goals within the space of five early second-half minutes in what was a thrilling London derby, played out in front of a packed Craven Cottage.
Last Monday's hat-trick hero Marlon Harewood opened the scoring just one minute into the second half with a great individual strike. A flick-on from Bobby Zamora found Harewood on the edge of the box; the number 10 flicked the ball over his marker before dinking a delightful chip over the advancing Tony Warner.
For keeper Warner there was worse to come just five minutes later, and once again his tormentor proved to be West Ham's number 10. Harewood, receiving the ball to his feet 10 yards from goal spun his marker before hitting the left-hand post with a low drive.
As the ball rebounded off the post it hit the diving Warner on the back and, somewhat fortuitously for the Hammers, bounced back into the goal. But try as he might, it is unlikely that Harewood will be allowed to claim his fifth goal in a week!
Fulham gave themselves hope 25 minutes from time when Paul Konchesky gave Luis Boa-Morte too much space on the right-hand corner of the penalty area; the Fulham striker curled a beauty into Roy Carroll's far post, reducing the deficit to one.
But a second goal proved beyond the home side despite a late onslaught, and the Hammers climb to fourth in the Premiership table as a result.
Two good saves by Roy Carroll in the first 45 had ensured West Ham went in level at the break. The Irish keeper made great stops from Claus Jensen (after just 90 seconds) and Brian McBride (29 mins) to ensure a clean sheet for the first period, in a free-flowing game which produced chances for both teams.
At the other end the Hammers had a Marlon Harewood 'goal' (rightly) ruled out for offside after 25 minutes whilst Bobby Zamora also went close, forcing a good save from Warner with a rasping low drive from the edge of the box.
But Nigel Reo-Coker spurned West Ham's best chance of the half on 31 minutes when he nodded wide of an open goal after Marlon Harewood had initially hit the crossbar from a Yossi Benayoun throw.
The Hammers captain - the pick of the bunch for Pardew's side - picked up a yellow card in the first-half for a late challenge on Fulham's Diop. Carlos Bocanegra also picked up a caution after hacking down Marlon Harewood as the Hammers striker burst down the right-hand flank a minute before the break.
Overall Alan Pardew will be well pleased with the performance of his side in a game in which they more than held their own against a side tipped to be relegation rivals.
But at this rate West Ham won't be anywhere near the bottom of the table come next May. Meanwhile, Alan Pardew's stock continues to rise.
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Made two great saves that kept the score level in the opening 45. Could do nothing about the goal.
Acquitted himself well against the pace of Boa-Morte. Solid and eager to get forward whenever possible.
Got caught out by Boa-Morte for the goal, allowing his man too much space on his favoured foot. But that aside, this was another excellent performance.
Solid and determined against some big opponents. Did the simple things, and was rarely beaten in the air.
Calm and assured, this Premiership lark is proving to be a breeze for the former Cardiff centre-half.
Anothre good game for Mullins, who to many has proved the surprise package this season. He also foundtime to show off his array of passes, pinging 50 yards balls to the front men a la Beckham against Northern Ireland in that ill-fated match last week.
Strong an an ox, twice as committed and never afraid to put his foot in where it hurts. Despite being knocked all over the place in the first half by some feisty Fulham challenges he refused to give any quarter, and was supreme throughout. The only black mark against his name being the missed open goal in the first-half.
Played a good role as a link up man and supported the attacks well. Always looks to do something special, and definitely the sort of player West Ham have been crying out for since that last great showman left East London for Rome.
A fantastic first 45, Etherington gave Volz a torrid time on the left-hand side. But he faded after the break and picked his forays forward somewhat more carefully. Getting up to full fitness but not quite there yet.
He does it again. When he left the pitch in the 86th minute a crescendo of noise chanting 'there's only one Marlon Harewood' filled the stadium, which tells all about his performance today. The goal was stunning, he had one ruled out, made the second and hit the bar. You can't ask for much more from your number one striker than that.
Brought in in order to give young Edward a brerak, Bobby found the going hard at times and took a while to adjust to the pace of the game. But he still proved a useful outlet playing the lone striker role for the first hour or so. Needs a game or two.
(Replaced Zamora, 64) Newton was introduced as the Hammers switched to five across the middle in order to defend their two goal lead. That lasted for all of 90 seconds(!) but Newts performed ably nonetheless.
(Replaced Benayoun, 74) Alan Pardew would no doubt have preferred to rest Sheringham for the entire day but had his hand forced slightly when Fulham pulled a goal back. Sheringham's introduction gave the Hammers a cool head in what could have been troubled times.
(Replaced Harewood, 87) Came on, darted around for the remaining seven minutes, and went home. Barely had a touch but kept the Fulham back four on thier toes for the remaining moments.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Man of the Match: Nigel Reo-Coker.
West Ham United
Roy Carroll, Tomas Repka, Paul Konchesky, Anton Ferdinand, Danny Gabbidon, Hayden Mullins, Nigel Reo-Coker, Yossi Benayoun, Matthew Etherington, Marlon Harewood, Bobby Zamora.
Goals: Marlon Harewood 46 Tony Warner og 51 .
Booked: Nigel Reo-Coker 41 .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Warner, Volz, N.Jensen, Bocanegra, Knight, Diop, Malbranque, C.Jensen, Boa Morte, McBride, Radzinski.
Substitutes: Collins (Radzinski 66), Christanval (Knight 79).
Subs not used: Batista, Elrich, Helguson.
Goals: Boa-Morte (65).
Booked: Bocanegra (44).
Sent Off: None sent off..