Coca Cola Championship
Rotherham United 2 West Ham United 2

Tuesday, 28th December 2004
by Graeme Howlett

West Ham got out of jail at Millmoor this afternoon thanks to two late penalty decisions.

The Hammers earned a point thanks to spot kicks from Teddy Sheringham and Marlon Harewood who rescued the game after West Ham were outplayed for much of the match by a team with only two league wins to their name this season.

Lowly Rotherham - with just one win all season before last week's surprising victory at Leicester - can count themselves unlucky not to have secured all three points after a dominating first half performance that earned them a two goal half-time advantage.

Goals from Martin Butler (13 minutes) and Martin McIntosh (37 minutes) had the Hammers on the rack, and Alan Pardew possibly facing the chop as West Ham's miserable away form looked set to continue.

Indeed, the home crowd were enjoying proceedings so much that at one point a round of 'ole's' broke out as the Hammers were left chasing shadows whilst the home side - still bottom of the league despite today's draw - made a mockery of their (and West Ham's) respective league positions.

The Hammers went into the break wounded, but not defeated - as the second half was to prove. With Steve Lomas forced off through injury, the ever-improving Luke Chadwick was introduced to the fray, whilst Gavin Williams moved into the centre as the Hammers adjusted shape.

But before it got better for the Hammers, it could have got much worse - although good fortune more than anything else ensured the deficit remained at two as the home side continued to press their advantage. And one particular call from referee Iain Williamson who failed to see anything wrong in a challenge inside the area that later had Rotherham boss Ronnie Moore fuming.

Williamson was however to point at the spot twice in quick succession - with both decisions going West Ham's way. However his decision to simply caution Rotherham keeper Mike Pollitt after hauling down Marlon Harewood in the 71st minute was rather dubious, bearing in mind that the keeper was the last line of defence with Harewood through on goal.

Undaunted by the commotion, Teddy Sheringham stepped up to give the Hammers a lifeline.

That hope turned to joy just five minutes later when the goalscorer himself was tripped in the area by Rotherham goalscorer McIntosh, and a second penalty duly awarded. Despite much protestation from the Rotherham players - and a delay of some minutes - Marlon Harewood fired home West Ham's equaliser and rescued a game which, just 30 minutes earlier, had seemed all but lost.

As the Hammers piled on the pressure in the final few minutes an unlikely victory began to look as if it may be on the cards. And had Marlon Harewood finished better when clean through on goal in the final minute of normal time West Ham could have been celebrating their second 3-2 comeback win of the season. But it wasn't to be, and a game best described as one for the neutral came to an unlikely end.

Once again talk will centre on Alan Pardew's position, thought to be under threat following recent stories. Ironically perhaps Glenn Roeder lost his job following the 1-0 defeat at Millmoor last season.

Whether or not the point from today's game is enough to ensure Alan Pardew avoids the same fate remains to be seen.

Player ratings by Jason Good (aka jay66uk)

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Player Ratings

Stephen Bywater
A solid game. Rotherham's goals were scored at the far end and it looked like we were completely overwhelmed rather than Steve making mistakes. Some very good saves in both halves, and some good direction of the wall for the second half free kicks just outside the box. Kicking woeful with a couple of second half exceptions. Needs to talk more to the defence.

Hayden Mullins
In at right-back today. Did nothing massively wrong, but again unwilling to take on attackers. We only got the ball away on the right when we had three of ours up against two opponents.

Chris Powell
Worked hard and was obviously motivating others. If there is a future then it is going to be built around Powell and Repka (on one of his good days).

Tomas Repka
In at centre-back; nearly scored in the first half and was probably our best deliverer of the match. Worked for 90 minutes and was let down by those around him. This was definitely one of his good days.

Malky Mackay
Looked lost for too much of the game and wasn't willing enough to take on attackers. Had no real idea who was around him and kept blindly kicking away to the other side. Got some quite vehement abuse from people near me telling him to get off the pitch.

Steve Lomas
Looked tired, lost, uninterested, unable to pass, ran sideways most of the time. Allegedly our best player in Pardew's eyes. Opticians?

Gavin Williams
Very erratic. A lot of effort, but got not very far. Too many high passes, not enough tackling, not enough vision.

Nigel Reo-Coker
Not as good as I have seen him of late, but he worked hard. Shared the same lack of ability to pass the ball that the others had today. Rumours have him off to Celtic in the New Year; I hope they are wrong.

Matthew Etherington
A mixed performance. He kept disappearing into the middle of the pitch rather than staying out on the wing, and we lost the width we needed to get a cross in. An "on and off" performance.

Marlon Harewood
Played poorly again. Kept standing offside in the first half - was more interested in harassing their keeper than thinking about how he could best use his energy. No chance of him scoring - nearest in the first half he let run off past the post.

Teddy Sheringham
Gets an extra point for the penalty. Was beaten in the air almost every time. Did not have the passing flair or the vision I have seen him bring to a game. Looked tired and not completely involved or interested.


Luke Chadwick
(Replaced Lomas, 30) Great to see Lukey come on so early - he made a huge difference for a short while. Too caught up in the high ball game.

Bobby Zamora
(Replaced Sheringham, 80) Didn't really get a chance to do much. I wish it had been Rebrov, but I'm biased.

Robert Burch
Did not play.

Sergei Rebrov
Did not play.

Bobby Zamora
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Stephen Bywater, Hayden Mullins, Chris Powell, Tomas Repka, Malky Mackay, Steve Lomas, Gavin Williams, Nigel Reo-Coker, Matthew Etherington, Marlon Harewood, Teddy Sheringham.

Goals: Teddy Sheringham 71 Marlon Harewood 76  0              .

Booked: Nigel Reo-Coker 52 Luke Chadwick 85 Gavin Williams 88      .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Rotherham United: Pollitt, Scott, Swailes, Hurst, McIntosh, Monkhouse, McLaren, Barker, Campbell-Ryce, Junior, Butler.

Subs not used: Montgomery, Minto, Vernazza.

Goals: Butler (13), McIntosh (37).

Booked: Swales (17), Butler (60), Pollitt (70), McIntosh (75).

Sent off: None.

Referee: I.Williamson.

Attendance: 7,769.

Man of the Match: Tomas Repka.