Wolves 4 West Ham United 2
Saturday, 15th January 2005
by Sean Newman
The back five cost West Ham dear as we dropped three vital points at Molineux yesterday.The day started at 9.45 as we set off from Brentwood for the 3 hour journey up North. As per yet, I have never seen West Ham win away from home, and I must admit I was not brimming with confidence on this occasion either. As I read the team news, I realised that Fletch, NRC, Ethers and Daily were still out for reasons varying from injury, suspension or maybe laziness. The team still threw up a surprise as Zamora was included upfront, instead of the new man Williams. So the team was as follows: Walker, Powell, Repka, Mackay, Ferdinand, Chadwick, Noble, Mullins, Rebrov, Harewood and Zamora. It was a 4-5-1 formation with Harewood and Chadwick getting forward as often as possible to support Zamora. Before the game, I was anxious that Zamora would not be strong enough to deal with the Wolves centre backs.
As the game started, the first highlight was the verbal abuse of Judas a.k.a Paul Ince. I must admit that he looked up for this game, probably being because this would be his last game against his old foes. The early stages were very tense. Rebrov had a couple of free-kicks that were dealt with easily by the defence. There were early signs that the referee (C. Penton) was not blowing bubbles, as he ridiculously blew up when Noble looked to be clear down the left. Then came the goal, and defence calamity number one. A long, hopeful ball came into the area towards Carl Cort. Anton jumped stupidly early (rather resembling of a seal) and missed the ball. Then, Cort flicked the ball over Mackay for Miller to toe poke the ball past the helpless Walker. Then came the tune that follows the ripple of the net, and the orange and black fans had a sing song.
Their party was well and truly popped after only 5 minutes. A great through ball from Rebrov to Zamora, led to Zamora coolly despatching the ball past Murray. Zamora didn’t seem to celebrate as usual (I don’t know why I said that because he never scores). Maybe it was a silent protest similar to Harewood’s at Norwich in order to prove a point to the somewhat fickle fans. The rest of the half involved both teams cancelling each other out. The referee was still attempting to be the 12th man for Wolves, by pulling the game back when letting the game flow would have been much more advantageous.
At half-time, we were treated to a Meat Loaf impression from a Star in Your Eyes contestant. I was very surprised at the quality of the singer and it set me up for a very entertaining second half.
The Second half began, and we almost immediately were celebrating. An awful back pass, was met quickest by Zamora but Murray was out to prevent the rejuvenated striker from making it 2-1. I have always said to the Critical fans near me that Zamora is a confidence player, and he obviously had buckets of confidence at Brighton. I feel that with a run in the team we really could see the best of Bobby Zamora. Then with their first chance of the second half, Wolves were leading. The majestic Seol received the ball on the left. He was given too much time by Repka and the other defensive clowns, and his cross was met by the back post shot of Miller. Walker was definitely at fault for the goal, having let the goal through his hands. At this point, the Wolves fans behind Jimmy’s goal started ironically singing “There’s only one Jimmy Walker”.
Once again, though West Ham showed the resilience that has been missing for quite some time. Even quicker than the first equaliser, it was 2-2. Rebrov made a great pass to Harewood, who used his strength to hold off Naylor and he had a cross-shot that was met by Zamora who made it all square. The next ten-fifteen minutes was pivotal. We should have transferred our total dominance and chances, to seal the game. A wonderful free flowing move, that would have impressed the boys at Stamford Bridge, led to Chadwick forcing a good save from Murray. From the resulting corner, Ferdinand looked to have given the Hammers the lead but his glancing header, glided over the bar.
Then came the massive sucker punch. The ball came to Mackay by the corner flag, and he tried a one-two with the awful Powell, which was over-hit. The ball cam eto Cort who passed the ball back to (who-else) but Paul Ince to plant the ball home. I feel that he should have at least been booked for his elaborate, exaggerated celebration but it wouldn’t have removed that smug look on his face. That goal really knocked the stuffing out of us, and I could not see anyway back into the game. The fourth quicklyb followed. Seol had the ball and his cross was met by the imposing figure of Cort, and despite the attentions of four clueless West Ham defenders, he easily placed the ball the ball home.
The game fizzled out and Cort missed a good chance to make it 5-2. So as the final whistle rang around Molineux, and the fans started leaving, West Ham fans were left to reflect on another poor performance and the guessing games started again about which team would turn out against Derby. Pardew needs to sort out the Consistency of West Ham to get back into the Playoffs.
Overall, it was a good performance with some very good performers (Noble, Rebrov, Zamora), but the back four/five needs to be sorted out. Forget the Greek striker, forget Yorke, lets sort out the back four and lets go upwards and onwards.
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Player RatingsJimmy Walker
Looked Nervous in his first league start, and may have opened the door for Bywater. Difficult decision for Pardew ahead.
Bad mistake for the first goal but apart from that looked quite comfortable.
Worst game I have seen from the ex Charlton defender. Needs to improve otherwise Brevett is waiting.
The best of the defenders ?EUR" no great achievement though.
Poor, and didn?EUR(TM)t match up to the Norwich game. His and Powell?EUR(TM)s fault for the third goal.
Solid, did nothing wrong, but nothing major to point out.
Great game for the youngster, always liking to put his foot in against Ince. Could be a crowd favourite if he continues to put performances in like that.
Very good game, looking more and more like the man we know. Looks to prefer the left and Ethers may struggle to get back in.
Great game for Serge as he was instrumental in every attack that came. Also surprisingly good in the air.
Tireless, gave their right back several of problems. Good game.
Good confidence booster for Bobby. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a goal-scoring run. Well we can hope.
(Replaced Noble, 79) Came on too late to have an effect.
(Replaced Chadwick, 87) Came on too late to make an impact.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Jimmy Walker, Anton Ferdinand, Chris Powell, Tomas Repka, Malky Mackay, Hayden Mullins, Mark Noble, Luke Chadwick, Sergei Rebrov, Marlon Harewood, Bobby Zamora.
Goals: Bobby Zamora 36 Bobby Zamora 57 .
Booked: None booked. .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Wolves: Murray, Naylor, Lescott, Craddock, Clyde, Kennedy, Olofinjana, Seol, Ince, Cort, Miller.
Subs not used: Oakes, Newton, Cooper, Clarke.
Goals: Miller (29, 54), Ince (72), Cort (75).
Booked: Olofinjana (34), Ince (90).
Sent off: None.
Man of the Match: Sergei Rebrov.