Filed: Saturday, 17th December 2011
By: Staff Writer
It was a day to remember for Papa Bouba Diop and Danny Potts as West Ham edged past Barnsley at the BG this afternoon.
Diop's sixth minute strike - his first goal for West Ham - was enough to earn three precious points for Sam Allardyce's side as they returned to winning ways following two consecutive defeats.
Sharing Diop's joy was young full-back Danny Potts, who replaced Abdoulaye Faye (who was injured during the warm-up) for his first team debut. Potts - the son of former Hammer Steve - was impressive at left-back in a re-shuffled back four that saw George McCartney switch to centre half and Julien Faubert recalled at right back.
The goal that won the game came straight from the training ground; Mark Noble's floated corner was met by Diop who firmly planted it into the back of Luke Steele's net.
Although West Ham continued to threaten their opponents they failed to add to Diop's early strike - although quite why Freddie Piquionne wasn't awarded a penalty by referee Scott Mathieson for what appeared to be a fairly blatant foul 19 minutes in was a mystery to the vast majority inside the Boleyn Ground.
Sadly the focus was to fall on Mathieson several times during the game; after he ignored yet another apparently clear foul on Freddie Sears as the substitute burst through on goal midway through the second half the Boleyn faithful responded with the loudest rendition of "the referee's a w*nker" for many a season.
Sam Allardyce was so incensed by the decision that he berated the fourth official to such a degree that he was sent to the stands by Mathieson - a beautiful irony given that Allardyce had opened his programme notes with a reference to the double sending-off at Reading on which he stated, "we simply cannot afford to lose our discipline like we did last weekend'.
Barnsley, for a side that went into the game with four wins from their last five outings were surprisingly ineffective given that West Ham were missing some eight first team players. However Rob Green still had to perform heroics to deny Edwards when his header from Vaz Te's free kick seemed destined for the net after just two minutes of the second half.
The win lifts West Ham to 43 points - level with Southampton at the top of the Championship but with an inferior goal difference (the Saints - who play at rivals Portsmouth tomorrow - have +21, West Ham +17).
* Click here to read our full, in depth match report.
West Ham Utd 1 Barnsley 0: match facts
West Ham United: Green, Faubert (Lansbury 68), Tomkins, McCartney, Potts, Diop, Noble, Nolan, Piquionne, Cole, Carew (Sears 56).
Subs not used: Stech, Driver, Montenegro.
Goals: Diop (6).
Shots on/off target: 7/6.
Booked: McCartney (60).
Barnsley: Steele, McEveley, McNulty, Wiseman, Addison, Edwards, Perkins, Butterfield, Vaz Te (O'Brien 67), Davies, Ranger (Haynes 67).
Subs not used: Preece, Hassell, Foster.
Shots on/off target: 4/7.
Booked: Davies (87).
Referee: Scott Mathieson (4).
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02:35AM 18th Dec 2011
''Sears dived! He was through on goal and he bottled it.''