West Ham United 3-0 Middlesbrough
Saturday, 15th September 2007
by Gordon Thrower
I had been looking forward to this one. Partly because the performance at Reading had been good enough to instil a sense of guarded optimism in even the most cynical of us, partly because I had watched Bellamy’s stunning performance for Wales in midweek, but mainly because I’d had a bloody awful time of it during the week as a result of the rather nasty stomach bug that’s been doing the rounds in the office over the past few days.
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Player RatingsRobert Green
Punched one that I thought he ought to have held in the second half but kept us in front with some important saves. England?EUR(TM)s loss is our gain.
If you spend 36 hours on a plane in midweek you are going to be struggling come Saturday. Which presumably is why they make the pilots take a few hours off from time to time.
Another who had an interesting flight home midweek ?EUR" though it didn?EUR(TM)t take 36 hours. Occasionally slow to push up thus rendering the offside trap useless.
Generally sound although he was another one who was guilty of offside antics from time to time.
Clearly not quite at ease in the absence of Ferdinand with whom he has been developing a decent partnership.
Much-maligned in certain quarters for me he was the pick of the midfield today. Got his foot in and, as the game progressed, his distribution was excellent ?EUR" particularly out to the left.
Clearly he feels the effects of two games in a week but he ran his socks off and got through a lot of work without quite stamping his authority on the game as we know he can.
Is beginning to make those late runs from the deep that have been his trade mark in the past ?EUR" fine finish for the goal.
Starved of service in the first half he came into the match a lot more in the second period culminating in his role in the third goal.
Clearly suffering from the combined effects of a groin strain, a midweek international and the joys of new parenthood, the one decent run he made did for him after 25 minutes.
Not quite back to his best but a good game nevertheless and a vast improvement on his run out at Reading. A fully fit Ashton with a fully fit Bellamy will be worth watching.
(replaced Bellamy, 26) Nothing went right for him in the first half but he was bizarrely effective in the second, playing a major part in all three goals. Sadly, when given a gilt edged chance to make it four he failed to capitalize.
Luis Boa Morte
(replaced Bowyer, 81) Some good link-up play on the left in the short period he was on.
(replaced Ashton, 81) Like Boa-Morte, he was involved in the move that laid on a sitter for Cole late on.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Robert Green, Lucas Neill, George McCartney, James Collins, Matthew Upson, Hayden Mullins, Mark Noble, Lee Bowyer, Matthew Etherington, Craig Bellamy, Dean Ashton.
Goals: Lee Bowyer 46 Luke Young (og) 49 Dean Ashton 62 .
Booked: George McCartney 50 Freddie Ljungberg 85 .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Young, Wheater, Taylor, Woodgate, Boateng, Rochemback, Arca, Downing, Aliadiere, Mido.
Subs not used: Jones, Lee.
Booked: Tuncay (68).
Sent off: None.
Man of the Match: Hayden Mullins.