Filed: Saturday, 8th January 2011
By: Staff Writer
West Ham have enjoyed near total domination in this afternoon's FA Cup third round tie - but have only one goal to show for it.
Avram Grant signalled the changes with a number of first team regulars relegated to the bench for today's Boleyn clash with Championship side Barnsley. In came the likes of Winston Reid, Jon Spector and Frank Nouble with Matthew Upson, Scott Parker and Frederic Piquionne just three of the EIGHT players dropped from Tuesday night's starting XI at Newcastle.
However the move proved to be a shrewd one as Grant's newly-shaped, hungry side showed their intention from the off, creating a number of chances. Still, the Hammers had to wait until the 29th minute before taking the lead when Jonathan Spector - hero of the recent Carling Cup quarter final win over Manchester United - reacted first to a deflection from a Mark Noble shot and drilled the ball into the bottom corner.
West Ham have racked up some ten shots on target in the opening 45 minutes but barring Spector's effort have failed to improve on their slender lead. Zavon Hines and Pablo Barrera were most guilty of squandering gilt-edged opprtunities to score; Hines when he failed to find the net from two yards - twice in the space of a few seconds - thanks to a couple of amazing saves from Luke Steele, and the little Mexican - still without a goal in English football - who nodded wide when faced with an open goal.
At the other end the Yorkshire outfit have created just one effort on target, which emanated from an horrendous error by James Tomkins - again. Tomkins allowed Barnsley midfielder Goran Lovre in on goal when he failed to control a ball aimed towards the left channel. Having rebounded off his hip, the ball fell in Lovre's path - but the Croatian could only firely tamely at Green, much to Tomkins' relief.
We'll have more for you at the final whistle...
West Ham Utd: Green, Faubert, Boa Morte, Tomkins, Reid, Spector, Noble, Barrera, Faubert, Nouble, Obinna.
Subs: Boffin, Spence, Upson, Parker, Edgar, Sears, Piquionne.
Goals: Spector (29).
Barnsley: Steele, Hassell, Shackell, Foster, Hill, Trippler, Doyle, Arismendi, Hammill, Lovre, O'Connor.
Subs: Preece, O'Brien, Neumann, Butterfield, Colace, Gray, Bennett.
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01:23AM 9th Jan 2011
''Am I the only person who gets more and more impressed with Tomkins every game he plays? His reading of opposition attacks, his talking to the line and his distribution is getting better and better all the time. I honestly think we are seeing a truly great player blossom.
Long may it continue because I think he is potentially the best centre-half we have had in 30 years.''