FA Premiership
West Ham United 2-4 Portsmouth 

Saturday, 18th March 2006
by Graeme Howlett

An under-strength West Ham suffered their heaviest home defeat of the season at the hands of relegation candidates Portsmouth at The Boleyn ground this afternoon.

Alan Pardew's side, missing SIX players from the team that beat Bolton on Wednesday night went down 4-2 at home to a team who had until today failed to score away from home in the Premiership since 2nd January.

The horror show began in the 19th minute when Hammers target Tresor Lua Lua opened the scoring. That lead was doubled six minutes later through former Fulham and Tottenham midfielder Sean Davis.

Pedro Mendes made it 3-0 just three minutes ahead of the break with a screamer from outside the box to all but end the game as a contest, before Alan Pardew attempted to avoid further embarrassment (and no doubt placate furious fans who booed the team off at half-time) by introducing Marlon Harewood and Yossi Benayoun for the second half.

Teddy Sheringham gave the Hammers a brief glimmer of hope when he pulled one back on 69 minutes but former Hammer Svetoslav Todorov added insult to injury when he added a fourth from close range for the visitors eight minutes later.

With the stadium half-empty Yossi Benayoun added a second for the Hammers in injury time when he cleverly lifted the ball over Dean Kiely, but even that won't gloss over a thoroughly disappointing afternoon for the Hammers who concede four in the league for the second succesive game.

Alan Pardew had conceded ahead of the game that he would find it tough to field as strong a side as possible, but having rested Matthew Etherington, Hayden Mullins, Marlon Harewood, Yossi Benayoun and Dean Ashton in preparation for Monday night's FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester City he may well have questions asked by the likes of Birmingham and West Brom who both emplored the Hammers boss to field his best side in order to strenthen their own hopes of surviving the drop.

More worryingly however for Pardew, Anton Ferdinand left the field 20 minutes before the end clutching his thigh; we'll have news on that for you later.

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Player Ratings

Jimmy Walker
Comments to follow.

Lionel Scaloni
Comments to follow.

Paul Konchesky
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Danny Gabbidon
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James Collins
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Christian Dailly
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Nigel Reo-Coker
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Yaniv Katan
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Clive Clarke
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Teddy Sheringham
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Bobby Zamora
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Marlon Harewood
(Replaced Katan, 45) Comments to follow.

Yossi Benayoun
(Replaced Clarke, 45) Comments to follow.

Carl Fletcher
(Replaced Ferdinand, 71) Comments to follow.

Stephen Bywater
Did not play.

Dean Ashton
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Jimmy Walker, Lionel Scaloni, Paul Konchesky, Danny Gabbidon, James Collins, Christian Dailly, Nigel Reo-Coker, Yaniv Katan, Clive Clarke, Teddy Sheringham, Bobby Zamora.

Goals: Teddy Sheringham 69 Yossi Benayoun 90                .

Booked: Marlon Harewood 45          .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Portsmouth: Kiely, Priske, Primus, O'Brien, Taylor, D'Alessandro, Pedro Mendes, Davis, O'Neil, Mwaruwari, LuaLua.

Subs not used: Ashdown, Pamarot, Routledge, Karadas.

Goals: Lua Lua (19), Davis (25), Mendes (42), Todorov (77).

Booked: Mendes.

Sent off: None.

Referee: A.Wiley.

Attendance: 34,837.

Man of the Match: tbc.