Filed: Tuesday, 27th March 2012
By: Staff Writer
West Ham are right back in the hunt for automatic promotion after a quick-fire double from Ricardo Vaz Te and Gary O'Neil secured all three points against Peterborough tonight.
Despite riding their luck at times in the first half the Hammers moved to within a point of second-placed Reading - who visit the Boleyn this weekend - with a thoroughly deserved win at London Road.
And much of the credit for that must go to manager Sam Allardyce, who got his tactics absolutely right on the night despite being taunted by a section of the travelling support during the first half.
Having survived a couple of major scares in the opening 45 minutes the Hammers - who were once again booed off by some at half time - looked a different side after the break and could have won by an ever greater margin had they made the most of their numerous opportunities.
As it was they had to settle for a 2-0 win - West Ham's first victory since winning by the same scoreline at Cardiff last month - and a record-equalling ELEVENTH away win of the campaign.
Peterborough - whose manager Darren Ferguson and captain Grant McCann insisted ahead of the game that they would push West Ham all the way - twice went close to breaking the deadlock in a first half from which West Ham produced virtually nothing.
Paul Taylor was unlucky not to score from a 10th minute chance that drew a fantastic save from Rob Green, tipping Taylor's shot onto his crossbar - whilst James Tomkins was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to clear a George Boyd effort off the line in first half injury time.
But the second half was a different story entirely as the Hammers enjoyed near total domination.
Allardyce, having seen his team just about maintain a clean sheet until the break introduced the more attacking Julian Faubert for the second period - and the Frenchman played an influential role in West Ham's more attacking outlook.
It took just seven minutes for the Hammers to reap the reward for their inventive approach as Ricardo Vaz Te offered a glimpse of exactly what the Hammers have been missing during his recent enforced absence.
Matt Taylor's deep cross was perfect for the Portuguese winger who nodded home the opening goal with a thumping header to the delight of the 5,000-strong travelling contingent, who almost equalled the home fans in number.
As was the case at Burnley last weekend, it was two goals within a short period of time that turned the game on its head - although the second tonight came from the most unlikely of sources.
Gary O'Neil, whose recent inclusion in first team affairs had been questioned in some quarters picked up the ball some 35 yards from goal before driving forward and unleashing an unstoppable drive into goalkeeper Paul Jones' left-hand corner to put the game beyond a shell-shocked Peterborough side.
Kevin Nolan could have added a third for West Ham just a few minutes later when his cheeky effort completely bamboozled 'keeper Jones before cannoning off the crossbar - whilst Carlton Cole, desperately in need of a goal spurned a couple of decent opportunities towards the end to make the winning margin even more emphatic.
But Sam Allardyce will no doubt be absolutely delighted with the two-goal margin and three points that set his side up nicely for what promises to be a real humdinger against the Royals at the Boleyn Ground this Saturday afternoon.
Peterborough 0 West Ham Utd 2: match facts
West Ham Utd: Green, O'Brien (Faubert 46), Tomkins, Faye (Collins 46), McCartney, Noble, Nolan, O'Neil (Maynard 88), Vaz Te, Taylor, Cole.
Subs not used: Baldock, Carew.
Goals: Vaz Te (51), O'Neil (57).
Shots on/off target: 10/8 (18).
Peterborough Utd: Jones, Zakuani (Little 62), Tomlin (Sinclair 62), Boyd, McCann, Rowe, Bennett, Brisley, Frecklington (Kearns 88), Taylor, Alcock.
Subs not used: Lewis, Ball.
Booked: Sinclair (71).
Shots on/off target: 7/5 (12).
Possession: Peterborough Utd 34%; West Ham Utd 66%.
Referee: Christopher Sarginson.
Assistants: Matt Foley and Danny Gratton.
Fourth Official: John Farries.
Did You Know? West Ham have now played Peterborough four times in competitive fixtures - and won every match.
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09:53AM 28th Mar 2012
''I think some supporters have to be careful what they wish for, remember the stick Curbishley got? He left when we were fourth in the Premiership, everyone thought that Zola would be the next 'special one' and recent history has been appalling. This season hasn't been half as painful as it migh have been, look at Charlton, Leeds, Norwich and this seasons rivals Southampton in recent times. We might well have dropped another tier before regrouping.
We're third with a good chance of automatic promotion, booing isn't helping anyone. If you don't like the football, don't pay your money, you have a choice, if you do turn up then do what supporters, especially the majority of West Ham fans always have done... SUPPORT!''
by g portugal
09:41AM 28th Mar 2012
''We're getting results,but only just. And we continue to start all our matches poorly, whether home or away. Bottom line is that with squad at his disposal, Allardyce has no excuse to not get automatic promotion. The fact that he's struggling is a very poor reflection on him,despite fact that we're in touch with top spots.''
by Ryan Scales
09:42PM 27th Mar 2012
''We were poor first half, much better second. Let's carry it on.''
09:34PM 27th Mar 2012
''Having read the half time report and now this, maybe a little more faith in the manager might be appropriate, or was it two different people reporting on each half? Yes, he makes some plenty of questionable decisions, particularly at home, but he knows how to set up a team to get results on the road. Bring on Reading.''