Bristol Rovers 1 West Ham United 2
Tuesday, 28th August 2007
by Graeme Howlett
Two goals from Craig Bellamy ensured the Hammers avoided a potential banana skin aginst League One outfit Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Ground tonight.Bellamy's brace - his first competitive goals for the club - gave United a 2-0 lead at the break before Rovers pulled one back midway through the second period giving the Hammers - no strangers to cup upsets - a nervous final few minutes.
The ??7.5m signing opened the scoring on 31 minutes when he found the net from 25 yards with a fine solo effort.
His second came on the stroke of half-time; a long ball from Lucas Neill sent Bellamy through on goal and the Welsh striker finished cooly into the bottom right corner.
The Hammers had controlled the game for much of the first half, as they did in the second until Andrew Williams reduced the deficit to one on 72 minutes.
Anton Ferdinand was guilty of falling asleep - not for the first time this season - allowing Williams to round him, leaving the Rovers man with a simple finish.
Sadly a good Hammers performance was marred by a serious injury to new signing Kieron Dyer, who is likely to be out until the New Year - at the earliest - after breaking a leg in what appeared to be an innocuous first half challenge.
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Player RatingsRichard Wright
Little chance with the goal; a comfortable debut.
A solid performance from the club captain.
Defensivly sound and used the left flank to good effect.
Another good performance although his lack of concentration, which led to Rovers' goal, could have ultimately cost us dear.
Assured performance from Gabbs, making his first start of the season.
A typical Mullins effort; passed the ball wall and made several vital interceptions.
Started brightly again; the injury - which will keep him out for months - is an absolute sickener.
Bright and committed, and possibly our best all-round performer on the night.
Luis Boa Morte
Once again he failed to offer anything in the final third of the field.
Took his goals - his first for the club - well, and is beginning to look the part.
Another disappointing night for Bobby who looks like he needs competition for his place.
(replaced Dyer, 13) Another committed performance from the youngster whose stock is increasing week by week.
(replaced McCartney, 62) Another decent run-out for the Ginger pele who must be close to a first team call-up.
(replaced Bellamy, 76) Looks like a player who knows he has no future at the club.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Richard Wright, Lucas Neill, George McCartney, Anton Ferdinand, Danny Gabbidon, Hayden Mullins, Kieron Dyer, Lee Bowyer, Luis Boa Morte, Craig Bellamy, Bobby Zamora.
Goals: Craig Bellamy 31 Craig Bellamy 45 .
Booked: None booked. .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Bristol Rovers: Phillips, Anthony, Elliott, Carruthers, Jacobsen, Lescott, Pipe, Campbell, Disley, Lambert, Walker.
Subs not used: Rigg, Hinton.
Goals: Williams (72).
Booked: Walker (70).
Sent off: None.
Man of the Match: Craig Bellamy.