Coca Cola Championship
Ipswich Town 0 West Ham United 2

Saturday, 1st January 2005
by Richard Osborne

Not many in the crowd turned up holding any confidence in our team yesterday - whilst some expected it to be Alan Pardew's last game in charge and the turning of a new leaf for 2005.

Watching the players warm up, our absentees confirmed that opinion. No Teddy, no Lomas [thankfully]. After the warming up session, the final nail in the coffin was driven in by the announcement that Chadders had been dropped from the bench.

We started with a new line-up in midfield and the partnering of Harewood and Zamora up front. The dire defence of recent games was installed at the back
with the notable dropping of young Anton. This appeared harsh to me, yes he was responsible for the two goals at the recent home game, but he has to
learn; it was a lapse of concentration, to which most youth players suffer.

From the off there was only one side in it; especially in the first half. Harewood chased everything as did Bobby. Harewood's class shone through as his first touch and slightly better awareness did not let him down. He was rewarded within seconds of the kick-off when their keeper gifted Marlon a tap in as he dallied with the ball just outside his area.

Zamora's physical presence was his only attribute unfortunately. He was getting frustrated in the second half and got booked as a result; sorry Bobby but you are simply not good enough for us.

Our midfield ran the show. Williams and Reo switched from centre to flanks, both contributing nothing but 100%. Reo wearing both the captain's and a
red/orange Sergy affair on the other arm showed why he will be picking up the HOTY award if he (a) stays and (b) does not get injured. Williams was first to every ball and if he wasn't he made sure he was close, winning second. When he got the ball he turned and ran at the opposition often beating one or two before laying off a pass or having a pop himself. Ethers actually turned up for the day and DreamTeam showed Lomas how he used to play. Fletch won everything in the air and sprayed around the accurate passes for fun.

The back four were stunning. The two centre backs - Malky and Repka - snuffed out Bent and Kuqi. That is normally an impossible task, but they did it. Their
attacks down the right were stopped by Ethers, but Powell mopped up any dregs. So they were forced into attacking down the left via the ex-Hammer Currie. Hayden played out of his socks and kept Currie in his pocket [await the puns] the entire game. Currie managed one ball in of note in the entire game and that was for a freekick from their left hand side which was collected by Bywater in the first half.

The game screamed out for Sergy to replace Z-man. AP did not satisfy us until the 70th minute which was pushing our luck somewhat. Characteristically Sergy came on got straight into the action, picking up the ball and providing Connelly type impetus with dogged determination, class passing and sheer threat. Indeed it was from a stinging Sergy thunderbolt that was parried into Ether's path for the second and wrapping up of the day.

One of my Tractor Boy friends was in both deep depression about his side's lack of performance and in awe of our performance. It said it all really. We no longer need Lomas, Fletch is the holding midfielder and Williams was excellent providing Chadders a real problem with getting his place back.

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Player Ratings

Stephen Bywater
Not much to do, but does need distribution lessons which now seem to extend to throwing lessons too.

Hayden Mullins
Kept Currie in his pocket the whole game. Forced into receiving a yellow when he slipped up once in his busy game.

Chris Powell
Class in a glass that he is.

Tomas Repka
The Terminator is back, just ask Kuqi.

Malky Mackay
Mr Bent might not have a new friend.

Carl Fletcher
Dreamy work from Dream Team.

Gavin Williams
Could have buried a couple of chances. Has a dynamo that Chadders will be jealous of.

Nigel Reo-Coker
A captain's performance.

Matthew Etherington
Is on his way back. Looks like the key hole surgery has more recovery time than we thought.

Marlon Harewood
Loves these sort of games; on top form today.

Bobby Zamora
Only physical presence kept him on the field. No touch, hunger, pace, shooting, heading, awareness, any decent offers yet?


Sergei Rebrov
(Replaced Zamora, 72) What we needed up front.

Anton Ferdinand
(Replaced Reo-Coker, 85) Shored things up in the centre for the short time he had.

Trent McClenahan
(Replaced Etherington, 90) Not sure he got his boots dirty in the short time he was on.

Rob Burch
Did not play.

Andy Melville
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Stephen Bywater, Hayden Mullins, Chris Powell, Tomas Repka, Malky Mackay, Carl Fletcher, Gavin Williams, Nigel Reo-Coker, Matthew Etherington, Marlon Harewood, Bobby Zamora.

Goals: Marlon Harewood 1 Matthew Etherington 90                .

Booked: Bobby Zamora 54 Hayden Mullins 74        .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Ipswich Town: Davis, Wilnis, De Vos, Naylor, Miller, Richards, Magilton, Westlake, Currie, Bent, Kuqi.

Subs not used: Price, Counago, Horlock, Karbassiyoon.

Goals: .

Booked: Kuqi (62), De Vos (84).

Sent off: None.

Referee: P.Taylor.

Attendance: 30,003.

Man of the Match: Hayden Mullins.