West Ham United 3 Nottingham Forest 2
Sunday, 26th December 2004
by Graeme Howlett
West Ham continued their good run of home form with a 3-2 win over basement boys Nottingham Forest at the Boleyn today.The Hammers - who have now won 9 of their 13 home games this season, taking 29 of a possible 39 points in the process - took all three points thanks to goals from Matthew Etherington and a brace from Teddy Sheringham - although the performance was far from convincing.
West Ham - cruising at 2-0 - had inexplicably let the visitors back into the game, conceding two soft goals within the space of 5 barmy second-half minutes.
But veteran striker Teddy Sheringham kept his head to score the winning goal with just minutes of normal time remaining.
The win takes the Hammers into fifth spot in the Championship, nine points behind leaders Ipswich who were comprehensively beaten at Millwall, who themselves rise to sixth.
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Player RatingsStephen Bywater
A bad day at the office for Bywater. Not for the first time this season was he beaten by a deep cross - this time for Forest's first goal, which looped over his head. Even worse was his distribution, which was simply atrocious. Still Jimmy Walker's chances of finally getting a run in goal still seem remote however, according to comments Alan Pardew made post-match.
Complacency, laziness, unprofessionalism - call it what you will but Anton didn't appear to be at the races for large chunks of today's game. He was eventually hauled off after standing with arm raised waiting for a non-existent offside call which never arrived, and led to Forest's equaliser.
Not the best performance from our second most recent signing. Too often he allowed his man to come inside in order to deliver a cross, no doubt on instructions to keep his man from running the flank. Redeemed himself somewhat by delivering the inch-perfect cross that led to the third and decisive goal.
Solid pretty much throughout, although he looked a lot more under pressure once Forest had drawn level. One or two trademark Repka challenges kept the bloodthirsty crowd happy, plus a thumbs up was signalled to the lower West side at one point during the second half. This apparent joy soon turned to frustration once Forest capitalised on defensive lapses however, and the scowls returned. Sensibly ditched his mittens in time for the second half. The big old wuss.
Good to see him back, and he was probably the pick of the defenders today. Forest made a huge mistake in allowing him to remain unmarked for the corner which led to West Ham's second goal; Malky's powerful header - which looked as if it might had gone in anyway - was eventually thumped home by Teddy Sheringham. In fact looking at our team today, were I an opposing manager I think I'd have told everyone to mark Mackay for he was the only aerial threat at set pieces.
Barracked by many today, although you can sympathise with some of the criticisms levelled at Lomas. For a player who had earned his trade in the top flight for a number of seasons this kind of performance just isn't acceptable. Whilst beholding the first touch of - well, someone not very nice - he also distributes the ball almost with a touch of disdain, with his passes rarely finding team mates. Although he wouldn't have started today had Carl Fletcher not suffered a pre-match injury.
Chadders is one of those players who you desperately want to do well. We all know he can play - he's proved that with bigger clubs than West Ham - and his work rate is spot on. But you're left with a feeling that his confidence is (also) somewhat lacking, as - for example - mazy runs often fail to provide the killer end result. Although in my book he's one of the few we could rely on in the (unlikely?) event of promotion.
Largely anonymous today, and far from the player he was earlier in the season. Maybe his spell on the bench has knocked his confidence a little; if so, he needs to rediscover it quickly. Still a vital cog in the Hammers machine however, and his brute force was used effectively at times.
Another good start, although he fell way off the pace as the game wore on. He will never score a luckier goal than today - but, as the saying goes, you've got to be there to score them.
Encouraging stuff from Harewood. Okay, not everything he tried came off - and it should be borne in mind that he was enjoying a right old ding-dong with former associate Dawson - but his work rate couldn't be faulted, and with a bit more luck he could have gone home with a couple of goals. Some sublime trickery near the end in front of the Bobby Moore Stand almost led to a fourth goal for the Hammers.
A pretty mediocre performance despite adding another two to his goal tally. The first he almost contrived to belt over the bar despite being no more than four yards from goal, and the second - a clear header - looked like it came off his chest. But they all count, and Teddy's goals were the difference today.
(Replaced Ferdinand, 71) Poor Hayden had been thrown from pillar to post since joining the Hammers - yet never appears to complain. This time he was thrust in at full-back in response to Anton Ferdinand being unceremoniously hauled from the field following the error which led to Forest's equaliser.
(Replaced Chadwick, 77) A debut for the former Yeovil player - and it could have been a dream one if he hadn't had spurned the glorious opportunity which was offered to him just moments after his late arrival. However he did more than enough thereafter to show he can bring something to the party.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Stephen Bywater, Anton Ferdinand, Chris Powell, Tomas Repka, Malky Mackay, Steve Lomas, Luke Chadwick, Nigel Reo-Coker, Matthew Etherington, Marlon Harewood, Teddy Sheringham.
Goals: Matthew Etherington 17 Teddy Sheringham 39 Teddy Sheringham 82 .
Booked: Steve Lomas 90 .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Nottingham Forest: Gerrard, Morgan, Rogers, Dawson, Thompson, Impey, Bopp, Derry, Robertson, Harris, Johnson.
Subs not used: Doyle, Doig, Perch.
Goals: Johnson (65, 68).
Booked: Robertson (74), Dawson (80).
Sent off: None.
Man of the Match: Malky Mackay.