Monday, 6th November 2000
Neither side managed to get out of third gear in a drab encounter which showed just why both sides are currently sitting in the lower reaches of the Premiership.
The Hammers started without Joey Cole, who is still suffering from the ankle injury he received against Newcastle last week. Steve Lomas slotted into right-back, and even more mysteriously Trevor Sinclair was employed on the left side of midfield. Harry Redknapp's tactical choices were again left open to question.
It's hard to write a report on this game, because it was so hugely disappointing. Some may point to the appalling conditions as an excuse, but in truth that only exposed the shortcomings of two very poor teams, who tonight showed us just why they're struggling at the foot of the table.
Overall a draw was probably a fair result; the Hammers had the better chances - mostly courtesy of long-range efforts, which although not ultimately bearing fruit were refreshing to see nonetheless.
Derby were absolutely awful. If they're in the Premiership next season I'll be surprised. They were absolutely devoid of any invention; even Kinkladze didn't get a look in.
The Hammers were only marginally better. Suker and Kanoute had a nightmare up front, and Frank Lampard was again largely anonymous, despite producing one of the best shots of the night which tested keeper Poom from all of 25 yards in the first half.
Carrick and Kanoute also brought out the best in Poom, although it was a header from Rio Ferdinand which produced the best save of the night. Rio climbed high to latch on to a deep cross which Poom, at full stretch, tipped round the post.
Shaka Hislop on the other hand had barely a save to make, such was the ineffectiveness of the Derby attack. The two Pearce's were solid as usual, but Rio made the occasional silly mistake which can only do harm to his England ambitions.
Paolo Di Canio had a late penalty appeal dismissed by the excellent Paul Durkin; probably rightly so too after looking at it again with the benefit of slow-motion replay. It seemed that trying to stay on his feet would have been the better option for Di Canio, but he went down under the (admittedly) clumsy challenge from the Derby defender instead.
So Harry Redknapp will probably be happy with the point, but you can't help thinking that we should have beaten this lot. In our current predicament the win would have made a big difference, but you got the feeling that a draw was the real aim.
West Ham United: Hislop, Lomas, I.Pearce, S.Pearce, Ferdinand, Sinclair, Lampard, Carrick, Suker, Kanoute, Di Canio
Subs: Bywater, Potts, Keller, Moncur (Kanoute 75), Diawara (Suker 64)
Derby County: Poom, Schnoor, Elliott, Riggott, Burley, Johnson, Powell, Martin, Delap, Christie, Kinkladze
Subs: Higginbotham, Grant, Valakari (Powell 46), Morris (Martin 86), Burton (Christie 80)
Booked: Kanoute, Martin
Sent Off: None
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