Millwall 1 West Ham United 0
Sunday, 21st November 2004
by Matthew O'Greel
West Ham went down to local rivals Millwall at the New Den for the second year in succession this afternoon, thanks to Danny Dichio's second half strike.And to add insult to injury the Hammers finished the game with ten man after lone striker Marlon Harewood was sent off for a second bookable offence midway through the second period.
The Hammers went into the game with a defensive 4-5-1 formation for the first time this season as Alan Pardew looked to plug the gaps in his defence, hugely weakened by the loss of Calum Davenport earlier in the week.
And those problems were compounded as early as the 27th minute when new signing Mauricio Tarrico was replaced by Anton Ferdinand after sustaining an injury.
Pardew - obviously aware of the huge backlash that followed last years 4-1 defeat - sent his team out with a game plan of hitting the home side on the counter attack, although his team failed to make the vital breakthrough.
And the manager - whose team have not won away from Upton Park since early September - was greeted with a chorus of 'you don't know what you're doing' by the travelling faithful when he substituted the excellent Luke Chadwick in response to Harewood's dismissal.
Speaking after the game, he said:
"I am not so stupid not to realise that the fans were unhappy with my substitution. But I will always be strong enough to make the decision that I think is right.
"Our fans want promotion at all costs; There is not much room for sympathy. We are desperately trying to get up, we have had a tough week and we are still missing some key players."
No doubt Pardew will come under more fire during the next few days from fans hugely underwhelmed by the recent performances of his team, who remain in sixth place in the Championship despite yet another demoralising away defeat.
(Player ratings by The Bob)
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Player RatingsStephen Bywater
Not given much to do in the first half. Improvements in his kicking and punching but still fails to be the commanding presence that's needed to reassure the ever changing back four. Nothing he could have done for the goal but once again, I say it's time to give Walker a go in the Championship.
Booed by the Millwall fans every time he touched the ball. Didn't do much right or wrong before going off injured.
Pushed forward towards the end but produced nothing spectacular in defence or attack. Certainly not someone I'd be rushing out to buy (free transfer or no free transfer) when his loan expires.
Lucky to stay on the pitch after his little altercation with the ref. Dealt with most things thrown his way and showed a bit of fight and passion which was lacking from some.
Brought in on loan this week for his heading prowess and to stop the threat of Dichio. Whoops. Superb goal line clearance from Dobie's header though and looked assuring in defence if his distribution was a bit poor.
Seems to have lost his early season form but I suppose that can be said for most of the team. Almost forced Lawrence into an OG near the end but that was about as good as it got in an otherwise anonymous performance. Failed to help out Anton when was pushed out to the uncomfortable position of right-midfield.
Our best player on the pitch. I had thought he was a lightweight who was easily shoved off the ball for most of the season; not sure if he had 3 or 4 Weetabix this morning but he showed character, tackled ferociously, took people on and used the ball well. What he has to do to play 90 minutes in a game is anyone's guess.
Played very deep for most of the game and did what he was probably told to do. Unfortunately we need someone in the middle of the park who can unlock defences and drive us forward; Fletcher is not the answer to this problem.
"Lightweight who doesn't turn up the big games" I said a long time ago. I'm saying the same here. Visibly bottled a few challenges in the first half - unlike his teammate on the right side of midfield.
Too often looked for a spectacular crossfield ball instead of keeping it simple. Out-muscled on a few occasions and is nothing like the tough tackling Lomas of 3/4 years ago. Still, at least he can throw the ball quite far eh?
Came into the game at the start of the second half with a surging run and drive across the box which was almost converted by (someone who I forget). Desperately unlucky to be sent off from where I was standing.
(Replaced Taricco, 27) Crucified by Ifill when he came on. Unable to handle the Millwall man running at him at pace and was skinned on several occasions. He might not be his fault as a: he is a centre back being played out of positio,n and b: NRC gave him no protection.
(Replaced Chadwick, 66) Poor old Bobby. The hapless Zamora offered absolutely nothing up front on a day where he could have gone from zero to hero. A key moment in the second half summed it up when he had the chance to shoot but laid off a misplaced pass to NRC. Pardew's departure will hopefully signal the end of Zamo's days in a claret and blue shirt.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Stephen Bywater, Mauricio Taricco, Chris Powell, Tomas Repka, Darren Powell, Nigel Reo-Coker, Luke Chadwick, Carl Fletcher, Matthew Etherington, Steve Lomas, Marlon Harewood.
Booked: Nigel Reo-Coker 21 Tomas Repka 51 Marlon Harewood 57 .
Sent Off: Marlon Harewood 63 .
Millwall: Stack, Muscat, Simpson, Ward, Lawrence, Phillips, Tessem, Wise, Livermore, Hayles, Dobie.
Subs not used: Marshall, Robinson.
Goals: Dichio (78).
Booked: Wise (21), Muscat (58), Ifill (90).
Sent off: None.
Man of the Match: Luke Chadwick.