FA Premiership
Birmingham City 1-2 West Ham United 

Monday, 5th December 2005
by Graeme Howlett

A goal of the season contender from Bobby Zamora set the Hammers on their way to a 2-1 win at Birmingham tonight.

In a tight game at St.Andrews tonight, the Hammers just did enough to come through against an out-of-form Birmingham side.

Goals from Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood earned all three points for the Hammers - despite Alan Pardew's side having fallen behind to an 11th minute Emile Heskey strike.

But two goals inside the final ten minutes of the first half turned the game on its head. The freshly-recalled Zamora's equaliser - which arrived on 36 minutes - was quite simply stunning; receiving the ball on the right side of the penalty box he flicked it over his head, left another defender on his backside by dropping his shoulder before cooly sliding the ball between the keeper's legs.

Less than five minutes later Marlon Harewood sent the Hammers into the lead with a fierce strike from close range. Matthew Etherington burst down the left side of the penalty area before pulling the ball back. A missed clearance saw the ball eventually fall to Harewood who struck high into the net from the narrowest of angles.

Birmingham - as expected in the circumstances - created the better chances after the break but only Emile Heskey could find his way through the Hammers rearguard, although it was with his hand and rightly ruled out by referee Martin Atkinson. Heskey was perhaps a touch fortunate to escape with just a yellow card for such a blatant attempt at cheating, the likes of which would make Diego Maradona proud.

The win ensures the Hammers remain in 9th place in the Premiership and leaves Birmingham deep in trouble at the foot of the table - much to the delight of the travelling Hammers faithful of some 1,600 who chanted 'you're getting sacked in the morning' to Birmingham manager Steve Bruce.

(Player ratings by Graeme Godfrey)

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Player Ratings

Roy Carroll
Comments to follow.

Tomas Repka
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Paul Konchesky
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Danny Gabbidon
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Anton Ferdinand
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Hayden Mullins
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Mark Noble
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Yossi Benayoun
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Matthew Etherington
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Bobby Zamora
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Marlon Harewood
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David Bellion
(Replaced Zamora, 69) Comments to follow.

Christian Dailly
(Replaced Benayoun, 90) Comments to follow.

Shaun Newton
(Replaced Zamora, 76) Comments to follow.

Shaka Hislop
Did not play.

Clive Clarke
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Roy Carroll, Tomas Repka, Paul Konchesky, Danny Gabbidon, Anton Ferdinand, Hayden Mullins, Mark Noble, Yossi Benayoun, Matthew Etherington, Bobby Zamora, Marlon Harewood.

Goals: Bobby Zamora 36 Marlon Harewood 46                .

Booked: Mark Noble 5 Paul Konchesky 44 Tomas Repka 30      .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Birmingham City: Vaesen, Melchiot, Cunningham, Martin Taylor, Upson, Izzet, Johnson, Gray, Pennant, Dunn, Heskey.

Subs not used: Maik Taylor, Jarosik..

Goals: Heskey (11).

Booked: Heskey (90).

Sent off: None.

Referee: M.Atkinson.

Attendance: 24,010.

Man of the Match: Roy Carroll.