Coca Cola Championship
West Ham United 2 QPR 1

Saturday, 6th November 2004
by [HH]

The day started horribly. I had to be up at 9:30am as the whole family wanted to attend todays London derby, I wouldn't have minded awakening at that time, although it's nobodies fault but my own that I was up until 5:45am playing Football Manager 2005.

Driving to Twickenham train station, I found it laughable that the Spurs fans infested Talk Sport's phone-in. One which tickled my humour - "It paints me to say, but Spurs are no longer a big club." My friendly foe, should you be reading this, we worked that out thirty years ago.

Having taken my brother to the club shop, and almost knocking Rio B over as I turned around outside the shop, Tomas Repka arrived. My brother excited went and stood by the railings in which I followed, only to discover a black Lamborghini with Tomas Repka and his missus had rolled up. It took him three or four attempts to bay park which I found amusing, then out he stepped of his Knight Rider-esque model. No David Hasslehoff mullet though, but a shaven head. We determined Repka with hair was disciplined, and Repka with a skinhead was a target for referees.

The match - Line-up

Pardew said midweek that he was going to make some changes. Before the game, I thought this meant possibly the introduction of Rebrov, and the removal of Mullins and Brevett.

28,650 West Ham fans turned up along with Rangers travelling support of 2,715 to give Upton Park it's highest attendance of the season as 31,365 fans turned out to see the introduction of Powell and Hutchinson to a West Ham team who were torn apart midweek by those who I believe should stick to bog snorkelling. The aforementioned replaced Brevett and Zamora respectively.

After last months heated encounter, West Ham were not going to roll over on their own territory, and it was clear from the start as Lomas who I thought was outstanding today in the first half, however drifted away in the second.

And they're off!

QPR started the brighter of the two teams, and West Ham were under early pressure. I sighed as it looked like QPR had come for all three points if their attacking mentality early on was anything to go. It amounted to very little.

West Ham were then caught out with a crossfield ball which found Jamie Cureton. The counter attack was on, and Cureton released the ball to Furlong with Fletcher gaining ground on Cureton. The ball found Furlong's feet, who subtly controlled the ball and tried to hit one from 25 yards, only for Bywater to be equal to the shot and save comfortably. For a moment, it looked like they could have done some damage.

It was then West Ham got hold of the game by the scruff of the neck, and Chadwick who looked very confident today was surging forward with some driving runs, however he came inside an awful lot, and it almost paid off as Harewood got into the box, beat Danny Shittu with his strength, and shot at goal. I jumped to my feet thinking it was going in, however the parried save found Carl Fletcher outside the box, who hit a shot which was travelling in, only to see it saved from a defender heading clear. I think nowadays people claim it's off the line in the wake of a goalkeepers absence between the sticks, but it looked from where I was sat (Top corner of the BMU, Priory Road side) that the shot was headed away from six yards out.

Harewood was put through, with only one defender to beat, and Chadwick on his right outside, instead of using the option available on his right, he shot high and wide which left Chad PItt evidently bemused by his reaction.


Gareth Ainsworth was introduced into action replacing Tony Thorpe who was on the receiving end of a nasty sliding tackle from behind which saw Repka pick up his first league booking of the year if I am not mistaken. The shaven head syndrome kicking in for Tomas Repka, who received a few individual chants with 'Super Tom'. I always believed a sliding tackle from behind resulting in a foul was a straight red card offence as introduced in World Cup 1998. No doubt Gnome will know.

The foul and substitution followed many of QPR's previously seen antics. On free-kicks they would pick up the ball as if they were going to delay even further in an attempt to dislodge our defences concentration before slamming the ball to the floor and having the free kick whipped in. Pantomime season is just around the corner and today was a preview of a London theatrical display. Enter left stage QPR's physio, enter right stage the suffering hypochondriac. Needless to say, after we took the lead later on, their players became a lot more immune to challenges.

QPR weren't out of the game though, and the most vile detestable midfielder on the hallowed turf of Upton Park since Judas' return on October 2nd shot over. The person I refer to being Mr Mark Bircham. He should sack his hair stylist too as it looks truly awful, although those who saw me in the Wakefield following the match could equally advise me to find a barbers.

Hutchinson then had the next chance. Lomas was bossing the midfield, and his passing was second to none. He played some great accurate crossfield balls which surprised me. He played a fine chip into Hutchinson who cut into the box dummied a shot in which he lost deceived his blocker with, and looked to hit a shot identical to that of Marlon King's winner against us. The ball missed the target, wide of the far post. However it was a very fine move which received the biggest standing ovation of the match thus far.

A Sh*ttu tackle results in a penalty

Luke Chadwick exploded into the box and was brought down under a challenge from Danny Shittu. After several penalty shouts previous to this incident, the referee pointed to the spot.

That little myopic pondlife of a midfielder then attempted to disrupt as much as he could. Bircham charged Chadwick, he followed this up with kicking the ball away from the spot. Unbelievably he had not been booked, yet had a great attempt at frustrating Harewood. It must have been 3 minutes or so before the kick was taken, and Harewood stepped up with the QPR fans behind the goals, as the West Ham faithful were in front of Lampard, in a near-similar scenario to that of Stamford bridge. The only mod to that incident was that the spiteful Frank Lampard Junior, so-called international 'superstar' completely bottled the penalty. Harewood remained composed throughout, and hit a lovely penalty which had to be accurate as Chris Day had guessed the right way. I leapt as the ball rippled the net, and I managed to bang my elbow on the perspex of the BMU, which has left me with a bruise.

Hutchinson was the next Iron on the receiving end of the officials wrath as he picked up a yellow card for fouling Simek. Something which he protested, and a booking which Lomas went apesh*t over waving his arms around.

Today's referee seemingly had awarded his spot kick quota for the day as he refused Harewood a penalty leading up to half-time. From 140 yards away, I can't call, but Harewood was livid, so the shout must have been very genuine.

Don't concede before half time, West Ham

A sentence constantly voiced in the form of a chant by mini-HH. Three minutes were added on to the first period, and West Ham saw them out.

The half-time period consisted of my brother and I discussing how a second was desperately needed as no team is ever safe with only a one goal lead. I was going to begin talking to him about possible changes until all the pretty filly's in the centre circle took their West Ham shirts off. This prompted a discussion on which Hammerette was his favourite. The innocent little 12 year old looked up to me and said, "I'd bugger them all, Gaz."

Second half

The second half began with no changes to either side, and immediately you could see that Lomas was nowhere near as eager in as he had began the game with. Despite the one goal lead, their is no room for slack, and it's not an excuse to become complacent as teams coming from behind tend to have the psychological advantage.

QPR at times were allowed a lot of space, and were knocking it about. West Ham seemed to be playing rather compact when not in possession, and this invited a lot of crossfield balls from Rangers whcih stretched us at times.

The Harewood show

With the chance to extend our lead to a two goal cushion, an Etherington corner ricocheted between heads in the box, and from 12 yards out, a leaning back, off balanced Harerwood volleyed just over the angle. Not long had passed between this time of the game and Harewood's second penalty shout. The way he went about it left me annoyed. I've been fouled plenty of times in football, but never have I gone down like that. To me, it appeared he dived with a jump into the air as if he had been checked and obstructed. I'm not a fan of diving, and criticise the likes of Pires, Rooney, Carr and such, and I don't wish to see West Ham resorting to it. I'll come back to this later.

McLeod strikes back

A name which reminds me of our recently departed to the land of ban poster, Sean.

I could see it coming a mile off, a long throw into the box, followed by a near post flick on by Shittu, and McLeod arrives at the back post completely unmarked to smack into the back of the net leaving Bywater with no chance. I was very disappointed as I felt some wasteful chances may result in us dropping yet more points.

It looked like we were going to settle for a point in a game that I thought we could have and should have won. While everybody was calling QPR w*nkers and gesturing, I was making myself sound ten years older

The Pardew-Out brigade suddenly came out in full force, and Pardew responded to the equaliser with the introduction of Zamora. Chadwick was the man he replaced, and Harewood switched to the right-wing to accommodate for the Z-man.

Three points or nothing

West Ham reacted positively to the equaliser, none more so than Chris Powell who surprised me with his attacking play today. 34, and he skinned a few of their players with the Harewood esque trick of knocking it round him, and sprinting around the opposite side to him.

He came up with what would have been a fine effort had it hit the back of the net. From thirty yards out, he dummied and sold the QPR which amused me, and despite players in front of him, Powell went for glory himself, and it was a valiant attempt from the left back as the shot flew a few yards to the left of Day's post. Such attacking play and eagerness suggested Pardew would not be happy with the draw, and Powell set the tone.

West Ham on the counter found Carl Fletcher (Perhaps it was Etherington) who then got himself into a decent position as he passed into the box for Zamora who turned and saw Harewood in the box, however the pass lacked pace, and a defender intercepted the move which frustrated a lot of fans as had it reached Harewood, it would have been a certain goal.

Chris Powell was the third and final Hammer to pick up a booking as he clipped the back of a runner who cut across Powell's path who was retreating. There was not much he could have done to prevent the foul.

QPR seemed happy with a point as it meant they had taken four points out of six off of us, and we had only taken the one. However it wasn't to be as sloppy defending on QPR's behalf saw a cross failed to be cleared, Harewood called which resulted in a stepover from Hutchinson I think it may have been, and Harewood struck it superbly. Being in the top corner, you can't tell if the ball flew into the top corner, although I guess it was around that height as I leapt up and threw my arms around the lady beside me in delight. She wasn't as delighted as I was to have scored that goal as she gave me a Reo-Coker-esque look when our Paddy gave him a cuddle.

Ferdinand then came on. Hutchinson was the man replaced, and as much as I do not like his attitude, the guy was brilliant today, and I've been plugging away for a fortnight or so now at living in hope that Pardew will start him. His one touch football, and his footballing brain showed the influence which lead us to wins over Derby, Sunderland, and Watford last year. Today he was inspiring, and definitely made his presence felt as Harewood worked well playing off of him.

Harewood was trying to run the ball down in the corner, and came across to the left to help out, and when he won a free-kick with a couple of minutes of injury time remaining, it was his perfect chance. Zamora passed it to Harewood who looked to try and kick it off of Bircham for a corner but f*cked it completely and kicked it off himself.

It finished 2-1 to the Hammers after a well earnt victory.

QPR were very dirty about it all, and there were plenty of scuffles. Mostly involving Bircham, and Harewood eventually copped the needle, raised his hands, and pushed him. Had Bircham gone down, I think Harewood may have been missing the Brighton, Millwall, and Watford game for violent behaviour.

Ironically, Ian Holloway is claiming that Chadwick dived for the penalty, and Zamora dived for a free-kick. He said: Quote:

"I don't believe Dan touched the player at all, I think he was looking for the penalty, but that is the modern game.

"The players are adamant that it was not a penalty, and I don't think football should be like that.

"There was another incident in the second half, when Bobby Zamora dived to get West Ham a free-kick. That was a real splash."

I agree with his sentiments. I don't like cheating, whether it be Arsenal, Millwall, Man Utd, or West Ham. I will not condone diving or conning a referee. I remember being quite angry with Harewood during the Wolves match for doing something similar.

Coming from QPR, who provoke, time waste, antagonise, and get very physical. Not that I am bemoaning this, as it's expected. It's the modern game after all. Is that not right Mr Holloway?

Onwards and upwards

We've responded well today following losing to Cardiff 4-1, who are now unbeaten in nine games, so it may come across as slightly naive that we were expected to pick up three points on Wednesday, and amazingly Plymouth defeated Wigan 2-0 which is a major shake up, and their real test begins now as they face a tricky away tie against QPR next Saturday at Loftus Road - an excellent match in the making.

West Ham on the other hand have Brighton, Watford, Millwall, Sunderland and Leeds. A tough four of five there which will give us a little more perspective on how we will be shaping up - whether we continue to chase 2nd, or play-offs. Despite today's victory, I think the play-off's is the most realistic expectation of the two options.

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Player Ratings

Stephen Bywater
Made a terrific save in the first half, although it was going wide, and he added a little more drama to the save that what was needed. He was helpless for their goal. His kicking is getting better, and by the time he is peaking around 28, should have it perfected.

Hayden Mullins
He went on a run up the right-wing at 1-0 in the second period and lost the ball 10 yards into QPR's half after a terrible touch whilst dribbling. QPR then countered. Luckily Repka was at hand to hold up play whilst Mullins restored himself to right-back. He kept to his defensive duties though, although didn't seem 'compatible' with Chadders.

Chris Powell
Sebastien Powell / Chris Schemmel, whatever you want to call him, he looked very good going forward and impressed me as I had never seen such a side to his game before. However at times on counter attacks, his overlapping runs and assisting Etherington exposed the defence.

Tomas Repka
Was very solid today, and I layed a brick when he went through the player from behind. I swore it was red. He done very well to remain composed and conceded very little fouls following his booking. However when we were 1-0 up, he lumped it upfield one too many times for my liking as we should be looking to keep possession in such positions.

Calum Davenport
Had 90% of aerial threats covered, however on attacking set plays he is simply not aggressive enough and usually gets mauled in the box. He had a solid game at the back.

Steve Lomas
Played brilliantly in the first half. I can't recall seeing a game where he went in hard, won the ball, wasn't penalised, and then dispatched a superb pass. He did this perfectly in the first 45, but wandered in the second half, and it let QPR back in to an extent.

Luke Chadwick
He was like a wave on an ocean today. I'm not being philosophical either. He looked good driving at defenders, he looked confident, however the cross never came as it either went back to Mullins, or Chadders came inside. He done well today, and QPR targeted him which must have only spared him on.

Carl Fletcher
Got stuck in, and played a fair few dangerous balls into the box from set pieces. He got back and defended well at times, however crept in and out of the second half after a solid first half.

Matthew Etherington
His delivery let him down at times. From corners and from crosses in free-play. He worked hard though, although his defensive duties from throw-ins I questioned more than once. Something doesn't seem right, and I am worried. Whether he be short of fitness, or whether he is carrying a knock I don't know. It's not the Etherington I saw last season.

Don Hutchison
Simply brilliant. As aforementioned, one touch passing, little flicks, using his height well, and linking up well with Harewood. It's a shame Don wasn't used earlier as Sheringham is due back soon. Many people slate him as he doesn't 'justify' his price tag nor wages - not his fault. Mismanagement on behalf of Roeder and Brown, although they do not have a sixth sense of foresight to anticipate Hutch's long lay off. He could be a big player for us this season, and today caused QPR a lot of trouble.

Marlon Harewood
Chased balls all day long, and blocked a keepers clearance which went down well. I criticised him earlier on in the season. I felt it was just. I don't hate our players, and if I feel one needs criticising, I shall do so. If I feel he needs praising, then I will do. His penalty took a lot of concentration and bottle. He kept his focus, and netted that. Had he missed, I could be sitting here bemoaning a loss. His second goal was well struck. However, I think Harewood at times can be wasteful. He's not selfish at all, and it is a nice rarity to see such teamwork in a player who wants to score goals. With a few more games, his form can only continue to get better.


Bobby Zamora
(Replaced Chadwick, 75) Worked hard when he came on, and done his job.

Anton Ferdinand
(Replaced Hutchison, 87) Stuck on the right of midfield for the final few moments.

Jimmy Walker
Did not play.

Rufus Brevett
Did not play.

Sergei Rebrov
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Stephen Bywater, Hayden Mullins, Chris Powell, Tomas Repka, Calum Davenport, Steve Lomas, Luke Chadwick, Carl Fletcher, Matthew Etherington, Don Hutchison, Marlon Harewood.

Goals: Marlon Harewood 36 Marlon Harewood 84                .

Booked: Tomas Repka 26 Don Hutchison 38 Chris Powell 76      .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

QPR: Day, Rose, Santos, Shittu, Thorpe, Cureton, Bircham, Cook, Simec, Gallen, Furlong.

Subs not used: Bean, Branco.

Goals: McLeod (72).

Booked: Simec (39).

Sent off: None.

Referee: M.Atkinson.

Attendance: 31,365.

Man of the Match: Don Hutchison.