Coca Cola Championship
QPR 1 West Ham United 0

Saturday, 16th October 2004
by Sean Newman

One word ... awful.

That is the only word that I can think of to describe both some members of the team and the manager Alan Pardew.

The day started at 12.30 at Stratford where I met Joe and Harry and we trekked the 19 stops to White City. On the train I was informed of the missing Fletcher, Sheringham, Mackay and most importantly, Calum Davenport.

The games that I have been to this season have indicated to me that if we do not keep Davenport for the remainder of this season, then I can see West Ham United having a fight on their hands - and not for promotion.

Davenport has been the rock of our defence this year and I knew that without him and the reliable Mackay, there would be trouble ahead.

The train was full of West Ham fans, and a few QPR fans. As we alighted we walked for about 10 minutes to Loftus Road. The 3,100 eager West Ham fans were based in the Upper and Lower Sections of the School End.

As Harry informed me that they were on a six-game winning run, I didn’t feel overly confident.

As I arrived at Loftus Road at about 1.30 I was feeling very conscientious, the same feeling in fact that I had in Cardiff! When the announcer read the teams there were no real surprises. We had Mullins at right-back with Repka at centre-half, and Reo and Lomas in the middle.

We started poorly with Bircham (another Savage) testing Bywater. Marlon had a shot just wide and then Reo-Coker had arguable our best chance of the game when he scuffed an opening wide.

Mullins and Chadwick were being tormented by their left side and it was inevitable, that when the goal arrived, it would come from there. Cook had the ball, Mullins fell over, Matthew Rose latched on to the ball and neatly dispatched the ball past Bywater into the far corner. I have never liked Hayden Mullins since Cardiff and today was to be no exception.

Then came a big penalty appeal. We were awarded a free-kick and Rebrov whipped it into the back post where Zamora headed it back to goal. This was until a QPR hand blatantly punched the ball away - but the referee waved away our protests. The first half carried on in the same manner, the ball getting lumped upfield to Zamora and Harewood and then the excellent Santos and Shittu clearing it.

The first half was disappointing because we had no real hold on the game against a QPR side brimming with confidence. Out of the 11 players, only Rebrov and Reo-Coker had done themselves proud.

Things had to change.

I was stunned that Zamora and Mullins reappeared for the second half. For a man of Zamora’s stance and height, he really should be winning headers but he is just not good enough. Lomas also was not having a great game.

The referee was having a shocker. If a foul was committed it would seem that he was waiting for the approval of the QPR fans before giving it.

Our first shot on target came from a Rebrov free-kick, after Rebrov himself had been on the end of an atrocious tackle by Bircham (in which Bywater came all the way down the pitch to slate Bircham's haircut). But QPR were a constant threat, and they were opening us out all over the pitch.

We seriously need Davenport, Mackay, Fletcher and Sheringham back for Tuesday night. The game petered out afterwards with little niggles; Hutchison came on for Zamora which was good to see but he had no options as the rest of the players were clueless.

The last minute saw our best chance of the game. A long ball (finally) escaped the attentions of Shittu and Santos and arrived at the feet pf Harewood - who neatly placed it into the Upper Tier of the School End.

Well before the end of the game I was already considering Stoke City, who visit Upton Park on Tuesday night. If we play like we did today then we will get beaten and our hopes of facing Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea at Upton Park next season will have well and truly evaporated in front of own eyes.

As the referee ended the game, 3,100 Hammers left Loftus Road disgusted and wondering whether the players and the manager are right for this football club.

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Player Ratings

Stephen Bywater
Didn?EUR(TM)t have a lot to do apart from pick the ball out of his net, but with Mullins in front of you, what do you expect ...


Hayden Mullins
No Comment.


Chris Powell
Quite good, kept a cool head as others around him were cracking up but needs to sort out his passing.


Tomas Repka
I?EUR(TM)ve been amazed with the difference in Tom this year. Maybe he is playing for a new contract. Good today.


Anton Ferdinand
Okay, but a few of his mistakes may have been punished by more clinical teams.


Steve Lomas
The injuries have ruined this player, he can?EUR(TM)t pass and can?EUR(TM)t run. Not good enough.


Nigel Reo-Coker
Once again Nigel was the engine of our midfield. He was the only man in there who cared about the badge. Shame the other players aren?EUR(TM)t as commited.


Luke Chadwick
Not bad. I was a bit surprised that he was subbed instead of Lomas or Mullins, but he needs to attack full-backs more.


Sergei Rebrov
His best game in a West Ham shirt to date. Held the ball up and distributed it well. Hopefully we are starting to see the real Sergei Rebrov at long last.


Bobby Zamora
Poor. He cannot hold the ball up and does not jump for a header. He needs to buck up his ideas.


Marlon Harewood
Had one good effort in the first half but he was kept quiet by the excellent Shittu and Santos.



Substitutes

Chris Cohen
(Replaced Chadwick, 66) Didn?EUR(TM)t make an impact.


Don Hutchison
(Replaced Etherington, 45) Didn?EUR(TM)t have a lot of time and was not supported by his fellow midfielders. It was good to see him back in action however.


Jimmy Walker
Did not play.


Rufus Brevett
Did not play.


Trent McClenahan
Did not play.



Match Facts

West Ham United: Stephen Bywater, Hayden Mullins, Chris Powell, Tomas Repka, Anton Ferdinand, Steve Lomas, Nigel Reo-Coker, Luke Chadwick, Sergei Rebrov, Bobby Zamora, Marlon Harewood.

Goals: None.

Booked: Sergei Rebrov 68 Tomas Repka 80        .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

QPR: Day, Bignot, Shittu, Rose, Santos, Cook, Rowlands, Bircham, Gallen, Cureton, Furlong.

Subs not used: Edghill, Bean.

Goals: Rose (21).

Booked: Rowlands (52), Bircham (63).

Sent off: None.

Referee: P.Taylor.

Attendance: 18,363.

Man of the Match: Nigel Reo-Coker.